Update: Thanks to Brian, a GR reader, we now know that Plastc has filed for bankrupty. Chapter 7 to be more specific, at least according to their website. And while this an assumption, based largely on the notice on their site, those that preordered and backed the product 2-3 years ago, they will not be getting a refund.
Remember Coin? Well, if you preordered one, I’m sure you do. For those of you that don’t (or didn’t), it’s in effect a programmable credit card. It holds up to 8 cards at a time, requires an iOS device and dongle to program it. You can read a bit more about it here.
And now there is a competitor on the horizon. In fact, they’re launching preorders today and asking for $155 of your hard earned cash. So is it worth it? Until I test one, or get a direct hands on, it’s hard for me to say. But I can tell you what features the Plastc Card has to offer.
Much like Coin, the Plastc Card can store credit, bank and loyalty cards. However, unlike Coin, the Plastc Card can store up to 20 cards at a time. Moreover, it doesn’t require a dongle to program the card, just a simple Bluetooth connection. With that is an accompanying app that requires a 4 digit pin and your face to access the wallet app as well as program the Plastc Card with a new credit, bank or loyalty card.
For added security, and info, there is a relatively large touchscreen e-ink display that can show your signature, face, and with some issuing banks the balance of the card. That latter feature is pretty handy if you want to see what you have left in the proverbial hopper. Unlike the Coin card, which has a relatively small e-ink display (and isn’t touchscreen), Plastc’s version is large enough to show a barcode, making it ideal for loyalty cards that don’t use a magnetic strip.
And for those in the European market, the Plastc Card ships with the regions “chip and pin” technology, which has been widely adopter over seas, and will soon start to be a requirement here in the US, or so I’ve been told. Lastly, Plastc is also NFC/RFID enabled, which might mean you can ditch that annoying key fob to enter your building, though good luck getting head of security to allow it.
And speaking of security, it would seem that the Plastc Card is packed with it. Bluetooth not only serves as a way of programming the card, but can also deactivate the card when it falls out of proximity to your iOS or Android handset (yes, it works with both OSes). If that happens, a message appears on the screen that the card is locked and should be returned to its owner. Once it is, the Plastc Card will work as it did before. According to Plastc the magnetic strip, as well as it’s other points of communication, won’t be programmed with your data until a card has been selected. If you do leave the Plastc Card some where, and it’s not returned, it will auto self-destruct (all data will be wiped).
Now, you’re probably wondering about battery and the size of the card. Plastc says the card will last up to 30 days on a single charge. Fortunately, there is a light sensor, which will kill the display when not in use. And they’re also including a wireless charging slab, making it as easy as placing your wallet down. However, I should point out that Plastc hasn’t adopted a wireless charging standard, though they plan to announce one in 30-60 days. As for its size; it’s the same dimensions as a standard credit card.
So, coming back to Coin. Yes, the Plastc Card is $55 more expensive (Coin was $50 to preorder, but that is no more). But it does store more cards, has a larger (and touchscreen) e-ink display that is sure to benefit some loyalty card nuts, a wireless charger (more like contactless), NFC/RFID connectivity, and the soon to be standard Chip and Pin technology.