Taking a step back from the wireless digital wallet solutions by Apple and Google, startup Qvivr has launched ‘Swyp’, a smart digital wallet that can hold upto 25 cards ranging from credit cards, debit cards, loyalty cards, gift cards to frequent flyer cards; essentially any magnetic stripe based card.
Developed by a team led by Ashutosh Dhodapkar, founder and CEO of Qvivr, Swype was conceived in 2013 and is now available for pre- orders. It is the latest digital wallet to hit the market.
They predict that with legacy card readers still being used by merchants, the market isn’t ready to do all wireless. According to Qvivr, the average American man has 16 cards in his wallet, of which 1.7 are credit cards, and 2 are debit cards, while the average American woman carries 18 cards. There were a total of 334 million credit cards and 283 million debit cards in use in the United States in 2012, according to the Financial Services Policy Committee.
In contrast to mobile wallets which work only with NFC enabled terminals, which are few and far between. SWYP is designed to work everywhere your plastic works – that’s more than 15 million terminals in the US alone. SWYP is designed to work at any Point Of Sale (POS) where you can swipe your regular plastic card i.e more than 10 million locations in the US alone. Additionally, Swype functions internationally in any location that accepts magnetic stripe based cards issued in the U.S.
Swyp is a revolutionary paper-thin (0.8mm thick) PCB board that is populated with the tiniest components available. The card can switch between several cards at the press of a tactile navigation button. The display is optimized to show relevant information including account number, expiry date, etc for the user, and the prediction algorithms determine when the user needs it. The card is powered by rechargeable batteries expected to last for about 2 years.
SWYP is an independently secure device that can be used without a phone. However, the phone does enhance the user experience by wirelessly providing your secure PIN to the card, the manufacturers say. The phone (an iOS or Android platform) is also needed to setup and manage the SWYP card. SWYP uses bank grade encryption to secure personal financial data. Like conventional cards, it also has the account holder’s name and signature. The card has another security feature in case of theft or loss. It locks itself into a PIN secure mode beyond a 6 feet range from the integrated smart phone and on entry of multiple incorrect pin attempts will erase the card data.
While the developers argue that Coin and Plstc, which have previously tried to integrate credit cards into a physical device don’t match the durability and security that Swype offers, others like Reticle Research principal analyst Ross Rubin think that with retailers likely to switch to NFC point of sale systems, the cards would become obsolete. Rubin also told venturebeat “The challenge is asking people to pay $100 or $150, for essentially replicating much of the functionality that they have today in their wallets.” There might also be an upside. He suggests that with the small window of opportunity devices like swipe have “they can acquire a customer base, maybe they can do something with it when mobile payments really take off.”
A limited number of SWYPs are currently available for a special pre-order price of $49 and they are expecting to ship to customers in Fall 2015.
(image credit: Sean MacEntee)