There’s plastic, and then there’s Plastc — an electronic card, which its manufacturers claim can store several credit/gift/loyalty card details and assume the form of each one. The device pairs up with an app via low-energy Bluetooth, which serves as unlimited storage for all your cards (Plastc itself can only store up to 20) and can also show your transaction history. Does this sound so familiar that it feels like reading old news? That’s because you’re probably recalling a similar device called Coin launched back in 2013.Just like Plastc, it can store various card details that you can switch up, depending on which one you want to use. The bad news is that Coin, which promised to ship the first units this year, moved its ETA to spring 2015 (though there’s a beta test going on), something pre-order customers obviously weren’t happy with. So, one has to wonder if an unknown company will be able to do what Coin couldn’t and release such an ambitious product on time.
See, in addition to being able to switch up card details through the e-ink touchscreen panel, Plastc can also show loyalty or gift cards’ barcodes and remotely wipe your data in case it gets lost or stolen. The panel displays your name, picture and signature along with your card number as a form of identification, and it even flashes a message to return the card back to you if you lose it. Its accompanying app, on the other hand, is supposed to come with a security pin and facial authentication.
If both Plastc and Coin do make it to market, though, the former might have the upper hand, as it’ll come embedded with a computer chip that makes it difficult to clone. The US will start encouraging retailers to only accept cards with those chips by 2015, making Coin obsolete almost as soon as it’s out. Plastc’s now available for pre-order from its website for $155 each — $55 more expensive than the $100 Coin — and might be out as soon as the summer of 2015.