Many “universal” payment cards… well, aren’t. They either don’t work everywhere or only hold a limited number of cards, which leaves you out of luck when you’re trying to add one more loyalty program. Stratos thinks it has this problem licked, though. Its new Bluetooth Connected Card promises “100 percent compatibility” with payment systems in the US, and it can hold an unlimited number of cards that you control through a mobile app. You also shouldn’t have to worry about a thief going on a shopping spree if you lose your card, since you can tell it to automatically lock down if it’s not close to your phone for a while.
The pricing model is different, to boot. Instead of buying the card outright, you pay for subscriptions ($95 for one year, $145 for two). This will let you get a new card every year, whether it’s a replacement or an upgrade. Eventually, you should also get perks like virtual card downloads and location-based recommendations. You might not relish the idea of paying more on top of whatever fees your existing cards carry, but Stratos might be worthwhile if you really can leave most of your cards at home. And unlike some of its rivals, it’s not stuck in development limbo — shipments start as soon as April.