Plastc – The New Credit Card Replacement
Late last year a new product called Coin was announced and went immediately viral. There was a lot of buzz and everyone was talking about it. The product which was available to preorder for $50, promises to replace all of your credit cards by storing the information digitally. A kind of all in one credit card if you will. It was supposed to launch in August, however it has been postponed until next year.
To me, Coin seems like a product before its time since it lacks any of the latest payment technologies – mainly NFC & chip & pin. Plastc is a new competitor which has been recently announced. At $155 it is more expensive than Coin, but it has all of the features the other card is lacking.
It Is All in the Features
Like Coin, Plastc replaces all of your cards, but it goes so much further. In addition to having a much larger and more useful display, Plastc has chip & pin functionality, NFC & barcodes. The addition of NFC means that Plastc will be compatible with systems like Apple Pay & Google Wallet. It also holds up to 20 cards while Coin only stores 8.
Both of the cards seem to have similar security features like passwords and proximity sensors. If the card isn’t within a certain distance from a synced smartphone, it won’t work. Plastc also has a remote wipe function if you happen to lose it.
Plastc also will have the availability to receive software updates. In theory this means that it should be able to keep up with the latest developments in the credit card space, since new firmware can be uploaded. In reality, we will see just how often that actually happens.
Will it Work?
As someone who has a lot of credit cards, I think this is definitely the temporary direction that things will go. Eventually credit cards will be replaced completely, but the full implementation of that technology is a ways off. In the same way that Blu-rays continue to exist, so will physical credit cards. When Coin was announced, I wasn’t really excited since it was limited only to a magnetic stripe and 8 cards. Plastc has all of the features needed to ensure it will be a device that lasts at least a few years.
For $155 there is no doubt that Plastc is an investment. I do think that we will see prices drop dramatically as the technology improves. My only issue with Plastc is that it still isn’t going to launch until Q3 2015, meaning it may be delayed much in the same was as Coin. Perhaps they too are biting off more than they can chew or this is just another proof of concept product.
It also remains to be seen if a small company such as Coin or Plastc will be able to bring a product like this to market without significant backers. The credit card issuers and payment processors must be on board with the product. Even companies like Google have had issues getting everyone to agree in the past.
I want to end by saying I think Plastc is a cool looking product. Since it is about a year from launch, I have no intention of giving them my money, however I do hope it suceeds. As someone who has used products like Softcard and Google Wallet, I still prefer using a physical card. I do think this technology will be successful if they can maneuver the security issues and get banks on board to back them.
What do you think? Are you going to preorder one? Let me know!