WASHINGTON, October 9, 2014 − Every once in a while a new piece of consumer technology comes along that has so much going for it and seems to have all the bases covered, that I just can’t wait to share it. Although I’m a big Apple fan, it can be nice when the name of the gadget in question doesn’t start with a lower-case “i.”
The tech device under discussion today is Plastc. It’s another glimpse into our coming post-credit card era. Allthough it arrives at a volatile and competition-heavy timer of the yea, it’s unquestionably one of the best new payment solutions out there right now.
The idea behind Plastc is simple.
Plastc allows you to store up to 20 credit cards, debit cards, loyalty cards, and even gift cards. You select your payment method using the small e-ink screen on the face of the card, and then proceed to use either the magnetic strip or the PIN and chip interface to make your payment. The device itself is the precise size and shape of a standard credit card. It will fit perfectly inside your current wallet or purse.
Much has been made of Apple’s first foray into mobile payments. Apple Pay may prove to be the solution that finally convinces people of the real potential residing in this kind of technology. Apple Pay’s most significant downside, however, is that it requires completely new point-of-sale hardware for large and small vendors alike. Sure, everyone and their grandma owns an iPhone. But merchants both large and small will need to make a not-insignificant investment to jump on Apple’s bandwagon.
This could leave a significant number of small business owners in the lurch. But even some of America’s largest retailers have decided to say no to Apple Pay, including Walmart and Best Buy.
With that in mind, it’s encouraging to see Plastc develop such a well-rounded solution. Credit cards are going to be an important part of our lives for many years to come, making Plastc the obvious choice for anyone who doesn’t believe in completely reinventing the wheel.
Oh, and it supports Apple Pay, too.
One of the earliest pioneers in the uncharted world of post-credit card technology was known as “Coin.” Introduced about a year ago, Coin, like Plastc, also boasted of allowing users to store multiple credit cards on just one piece of plastic. Unfortunately, Coin has now slipped well past its promised delivery date with no ETA in sight.
But it seems Plastc has capitalized on that same concept and has taken the time to introduce a superior product. They’re playing the long game, creating a device that revolutionizes existing payment methods while still promising to support Apple Pay, NFC and chip-and-PIN – all emerging technologies with a great deal of long-term potential.
Having said all that, one must still observe that a significant number of Americans continue to eschew credit cards entirely, including – somewhat surprisingly – millennials. Whether any of this new technology will sway the holdouts to get involved remains to be seen. But there’s no question we’re living in exciting times when it comes to new ways to perform everyday tasks.
When it ships in the third quarter of 2015, Plastc will cost $155. But if you access this link they promise you’ll be treated to $20 off your purchase. When available, each Plastc card will ship with a charger (they claim a 30-day battery life) and access to the companion smartphone app, which you’ll use to update your payment information.
Promising? Yes. Revolutionary? We’ll see next year. But I like what I’ve seen so far.