Cards of various kinds quickly pile up in our wallets these days, making them thick and uncomfortable to carry around.
Fuze Card provides a possible solution to this problem, so we’ve looked at how it works, its pros and cons and whether it’s worth the money it costs.
What is Fuze Card?
Fuze Card is a programmable smart card meaning it’s more a device than an actual card. Think of it as a bit like a smartphone or an ebook reader, but for banking.
It allows you to store up to 30 different cards in it, so that you can leave them at home and only take Fuze Card with you for your everyday shopping.
In 2017, Fuze Card raised over $2.5 million (almost £2 million) through crowdfunding – it then began selling the cards later that year.
How does Fuze Card work?
Once you’ve purchased Fuze Card and had it delivered to you, you’re ready to set it up. Together with the card, you also get a charger and a card reader.
Fuze Card’s battery is rechargeable, so you have to charge it just like with every other electronic device. The developers say that, if you use it on average 4-5 times a day, the battery should last around one month.
In order to add your cards to your Fuze Card, you need to download the Fuze app on your smartphone. You then have three ways of adding a new card:
- Card reader. The card reader provided by Fuze is a little device that connects to the headphone jack of your smartphone. You can swipe the magnetic stripe of the card through it and thus register it on the app and on Fuze Card. This is your only option for adding proper payment cards, such as debit and credit cards.
- Barcode. When it comes to membership cards, you can also use the camera on your smartphone to capture the card’s barcode.
- Manually. Again, this is just for membership cards – you can manually copy in the card details if you’re struggling with the magnetic stripe.
Once you’ve added all your cards to Fuze Card, the hard part is pretty much over. You can then take Fuze Card with you, pick the card you need each time thanks to the small buttons and the display on the surface of Fuze, and then use it just like any other card.
However, there is a big BUT you need to take into account. As of February 2019, Fuze hasn’t released the chip version of the card – it says it’s planned for March 2019. So, for now, you can only buy the magnetic stripe version, which means your Fuze Card will only be accepted wherever you can swipe your payment card. If the shop you’re in only takes chip payments, you can’t use it.
Fuze Card price
As of February 2019, Fuze Card costs $125 (around £95), to which you need to add taxes and shipping to the UK, amounting to a total $180.40 (almost £140).
Yes, it does sound very expensive. In a sense it is, but again, you have to think of it more as a device than a card.
When it comes out, the chip version will probably cost a bit more than the magnetic stripe Fuze Card, but chip payment is more widely accepted and works better – so if you’re planning on getting the EMV chip version Fuze Card, it’s probably worth the wait and the extra cash.
Is Fuze Card safe?
It’s difficult to answer. Fuze as a company doesn’t hold any of your funds, so theoretically your deposits are as safe as your bank keeps them.
However, as with any smart device, the danger that someone may hack it and steal your data does exist. In April 2018, Forbes reported a “leak” in Fuze’s technology – a researcher had found that a hacker with physical access to the device for a few minutes (for example, a waiter in a restaurant) could easily download the data stored on Fuze Card.
A new update to fix the issue has since been released, but given that the card is still at its early stages, it’s a good idea to keep an eye both on your transactions, to make sure that you quickly spot any unauthorised payments, and on Fuze Card’s updates, to see if any new version of the app is released.
The good news is, Fuze Card comes with a location tracker if you lose it, and you can erase all the data on Fuze through the app if it gets stolen.
Pros and cons of Fuze Card
- Store all your cards in one place.
- It holds membership cards as well.
- It’s as thin as a regular card.
- If you leave it somewhere, you can locate it on your phone.
- If it gets stolen, you can erase all the data remotely.
- Still at the initial stages – for now, no contactless and no chip.
- Quite expensive, at least for a card.
- Possible safety issues.
- The app doesn’t have any finance management features to track your spending.
Fuze Card is a cool device, but it isn’t easy to see what it’s got against its competitors. Curve, in particular, comes for free, supports contactless and chip payments, and also allows you to track all your spending from the app.
Smart cards have been around for a while, but they haven’t really kicked off yet, partly because they’re so much more expensive to make than a traditional card, and the benefits mostly remain to be seen. However, the rechargeable battery, the location tracker and the opportunity to add membership cards as well as payment cards can make Fuze a worthy purchase if you’re sick and tired of carrying around an overly swollen wallet.
Frequently asked questions
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