Many consumers have a number of different credit cards that each carry unique features which may make them ideal for certain spending situations, and now a new type of card may help them use the right account in every situation.
A new "smart" credit card by the startup company Wallaby Financial claims to be able to help consumers maximize the efficiency of their various accounts by combining all of them onto one piece of plastic, according to a report from the tech news site Mashable. Consumers get the service by providing Wallaby with the information for their various existing accounts, and then receive their new smart card soon thereafter.
They are then free to use the Wallaby card as they would to make any other type of purchase, the report said. And, when it's swiped as usual, the software determines exactly which account associated with the card will be most beneficial, weighing the user's personal spending habits, available rewards programs it could tap and other factors that would maximize savings. The Wallaby card costs $50 per year - and that's in addition to whatever charges and fees come with the credit cards attached to it, rather than instead of those costs - but the company estimates that most users will save several times that amount by using the new card for everyday purchases. Wallaby also comes with a six-month free introductory period.
Wallaby Financial founder and chief executive officer Matthew Goldman told the site that his belief is this type of payment option will catch on with consumers in ways that other new platforms - such as mobile wallets - may not be able to, the report said. This is because it not only adds the perk of requiring consumers to carry around fewer cards, it also gives them the convenience of choosing the account that will work best for them in each unique scenario. And instead of only having one card - which experts say can lead to overspending on that account - it gives consumers the flexibility to spread their spending over several in a beneficial way.
He also notes that many consumers have expressed concerns over the safety to their accounts provided by mobile wallet systems, which are now being developed, tested and pushed out by major companies in a number of industries, the report said. Further, there will likely be little problem getting a Wallaby purchase accepted anywhere, because it works like a traditional card, and therefore does not require that merchants have any special equipment installed.
However, experts also note that in general, mobile wallet systems will likely be far more secure than traditional credit card use because of the way in which these payment platforms store and encrypt consumers' payment data. Consumer fears over account security and the lack of available smartphones capable of handling this type of transaction are often cited as the two biggest hurdles to widespread mobile wallet adoption.