EDGE acquires Plastc in race to create the first viable smart credit card
EDGE aims to be the one card that rules them all.
Several competitors have tried and failed to create a single smart credit card that can digitally switch between all of your different accounts, eliminating the need to carry a wallet full of them. But EDGE isn’t giving up.
This week EDGE Mobile Payments, a Santa Cruz-based technology firm, acquired the assets of defunct rival smart card company Plastc in hopes of utilizing its technology to speed up the development of the EDGE Card.
The EDGE Card is now expected to ship to customers in the third quarter of 2018.
Want to use your Barclays gas rewards card at the pump, your American Express for a business luncheon and your Chase travel rewards card on vacation? A smart card like the EDGE Card can be all those in one.
Unlike some of its predecessors, the EDGE Card comes with mag stripe, EMV chip and NFC capabilities, allowing you to pay however it’s most convenient or whichever method the merchant supports. This is a key development, considering only half of all U.S. storefronts accept chip cards, Visa reported earlier this year.
You can also load all your credit, debit, loyalty and gift cards on the smart card. An e-paper color touchscreen on the card allows you to select which card to use, while the rechargeable battery will last up to two weeks.
Customers can also use their smartphones to sound an alert, warning them if the card is left behind or lost.
You get the choice of securing your smart card with biometrics like a fingerprint, digital ID or passcode.
In the years since smart cards have been trying to gain traction and iron out technical issues, mobile wallets have surged onto the scene and provided a way to pay without a card at all. Despite the competition, only about one third (36%) of retailers accept mobile payments. So while contactless NFC wallets are stealing headlines, they’re still unusable at the vast majority of retail outlets. That’s why there’s still life in the idea of smart credit cards, which can be swiped, chipped or tapped depending on the situation.
In related news, you’ll soon be able to check out without signing for your credit card much more often.