Stratos, Coin, Plastc, Swyp: Sizing Up Multi-Account Cards – NerdWallet

UPDATE April 21, 2017 : Since this article was published in November 2015, there have been boastfully changes in the marketplace for multi-account “ smart ” cards. The spread of mobile wallets such as Apple Pay and Samsung Pay sternly undercut the anticipate demand for these products, and many have been discontinued. Of the manufacturers identified in this article :

  • Stratos was acquired by the danish ship’s company CardLab ; as of April 2017, it was still supporting the servicing but was not shipping raw cards
  • Coin was acquired by Fitbit, and its service has been discontinued
  • Swyp was not producing new cards as of April 2017
  • Plastc ceased operations before it could deliver a merchandise to consumers

Below is our article from 2015 describing how these products worked. Carrying around a bulge wallet entire of cards is so 2010. Multi-account cards allow you to store information from multiple credit, debit, loyalty and endow cards on a unmarried device that looks and works much like a regular credit poster. Though the technology is however developing, the cards on the market are promising a level of public toilet impossible just a few years ago. Among their benefits :

  • security : Most devices incorporate password protection, so a steal poster is basically despicable to person without the code .
  • simplicity : Users don ’ t have to carry multiple cards to maximize rewards and cash spinal column .
  • Easier track and budget : The devices consolidate spending history across all accounts .

To pay with most of the multi-account cards on the market, users swipe a magnetic stripe through a reader. beyond that, each device comes with its own twists on functionality and style. here ’ s a roundup of some of the most popular and bright multi-account cards.

Stratos: Simple to use

stratos image via Stratos ‘ Facebook page. cost : $ 95 for a annual membership, or $ 145 for two years. Stratos is one of respective multi-account cards that charges users a annual fee, which covers an annual upgrade. Some other companies allow consumers to pay an upfront tip, then decide whether they want to buy update hardware, much like wireless phone carriers. Number of cards device can store : The Stratos app can store an unlimited phone number of cards, but users can load alone three cards onto the device at a time. Paying with a calling card not loaded onto the device requires opening the app on a mobile call and selecting a newfangled tease to add to the rotation. For most people, immediate entree to three cards is probably enough. But other devices allow users to load many more. Battery life : Stratos does not come with a charger, though the company says the battery lasts an estimated two years. When your card gets low on juice, Stratos detects the battery flat and sends you a refilling at no supernumerary charge. How it works : To begin the requital summons with Stratos, you tap the device once against a hard surface, activating the circuit board in the first position on the device. Tapping doubly triggers three blinking LED touch sensors, which you use to pick a card. once a card is selected, you can swipe Stratos like a regular menu. There is no display on Stratos that shows which light represents which card, but the options are automatically displayed on your phone. Without a call, you ’ ll have to remember where each card is slotted, which might result in using the faulty card for a purchase and missing out on rewards — or, worse, getting hit with an overdraft tip. If Stratos ’ lock serve is on, and your call international relations and security network ’ triiodothyronine nearby or the battery dies, that will render the tease inoperable. The device can be used without the lock affair on, but that poses the gamble of deceitful use should you lose it. payment compatibility : Stratos does not presently work with standard EMV-chip contact readers or NFC ( near-field communication ) readers.

Coin 2.0: Enables contactless payments

Coin 2.0 Back of Card cost : $ 99 upfront, no annual fee. The company says it will replace Coin 1.0 magstripe-only units with NFC-capable Coin 2.0 free of mission. Number of cards device can store : The Coin app can store an outright issue of cards and sync up to eight to the device. Battery liveliness : The card ’ s battery can not be recharged, but the company estimates it will last around two years, after which the device must be replaced. How it works : Coin is not bound to a mobile phone. Its minor screen door allows users to see the type of tease that ’ randomness activated, angstrom well as the last four digits of the card ’ sulfur account total and termination date. The tease will unlock if it detects a synchronize telephone nearby or if a tap code is entered using Coin ’ s only button. payment compatibility : Coin 2.0 integrates NFC technology — a feature notably missing from several other multi-account cards — which allows users to pay with EMV cards via contactless terminals such as those used with Apple Pay. however, Coin 2.0 will not work with EMV-chip contact readers that require you to insert your card. Coin ’ s magstripe transmits batting order data, but not the cardholder ’ mho name. As a result, merchant terminals that require a calling card to transmit both when swiped won ’ thyroxine be compatible with Coin.

Swyp: Holds the most cards

SWYP_card_Restaurant_mode cost : $ 99, no annual fee. Number of cards device can store : Like most other bright cards, Swyp ’ s app can store an unlimited number of cards. The Swyp device itself can hold a humongous 25 cards, more than any other multi-account tease in our roundup. Though most users will probably stretch to fill their Swyp with that many cards, it ’ mho surely well to have more options than not enough. Battery life : Swyp ’ s battery does come with a charger, though the party claims that with convention use, the card should last around a class on a one care. How it works : The device has a little display, most exchangeable to that of Coin ’ randomness. For credit cards, the sieve displays the name of the card, network, last four digits of the account number, exhalation date, and CVV. For early types of cards, such as debit or endow cards, the information shown may vary. much as with the Coin and Stratos, users toggle through their cards using haptic buttons on the wag ’ s boldness. As with other electronic wallets, adding cards involves swiping them through a reader connected to your call, and linking the card to your telephone via Bluetooth. A call doesn ’ t have to be present to use the device. payment compatibility : Swyp has a magstripe and an EMV chip, but doesn ’ metric ton total with NFC technology, though the company has plans to add it. Barcodes, such as those found on many commitment cards, can be added and used through the app.

Plastc: Payment versatility expected

cost : The Plastc device, which wo n’t be released until April, will sell for $ 180 ; that will include an 18-month subscription. Ongoing service will be available for $ 50 a year. Number of cards device can store : The Plastc Wallet app can store an outright numeral of cards. The device itself can hold an impressive 20 debit, credit, loyalty or endowment cards for entree at any time. Battery life : Plastc ’ sulfur battery is said to last an calculate 30 days, but the circuit board will come with a charger. How it works : The most celebrated difference between Plastc and its competitors is that it has a large touch screen that takes up about one-third of the device ’ s expression. The filmdom serves a number of functions : It allows you to unlock the device with a PIN, displays information — such as card balance, account issue, CVV and wag type — and even shows biometric security system images, such as a photograph of the cardholder and his or her signature. The filmdom displays barcodes besides, allowing users to scan loyalty cards. Folks already comfortable with touchscreens may find the card more intuitive to use — particularly compared with cards that require leaning heavily on the telephone for functionality, or ones that require manipulation of somewhat clunky push-buttons. Because Plastc hasn ’ triiodothyronine been released however, there ’ s no word from consumers on how smoothly it actually works.

Read more: MobileGo

requital compatibility : Plastc is the only batting order in our review that promises to incorporate magnetic stripe, NFC and chip-and-PIN in a single device. It may be among the most versatile multi-account cards when it ’ second released.

The bottom line

It ’ south crucial to compare each menu ’ s cost and features. Consider how many cards you need available to you, how involved you want your phone to be in managing your cards, and whether you prefer to pay a erstwhile fee with no upgrades or subscribe to a model with automatic rifle upgrades. One thing is for certain : Whichever card you choose, it ’ s sure to take some of the slant off your wallet .

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