Stratos Card

Apple made big headlines when they announced the Apple Pay concept, which will bring credit card payments to your phone – but it’s not the only new way to pay. The Stratos Card aims to be a single credit-card sized replacement for all the existing cards in your wallet.

The Stratos is a credit card that can store all the info from the cards in your wallet to act as a unifying bit of plastic for all your payment needs. But this is no ordinary bit of plastic – Ann Arbor-based Stratos say you’ll be able to attach, not only your credit and debit cards, but also your library card, gym pass, and basically any card with a stripe. Pretty cool.

It’s a simple idea with Stratos offering up to ten of your most used cards that can be paired to the Stratos Card via the mobile app. For you London Joes, the only thing annoying thing is it can’t double as your Oyster card currently, as it doesn’t have the needed RFID tech. The firm have reported suggested they’re working on that, however.

In order to use the Stratos, you first need to tap it to turn it, and then wait for the flashing LEDs to light up. You the select one of three stored cards to use for the transaction – despite having room for ten cards, you get only three choices at one time, which can be sorted by arranging them in the app.

Privacy and theft is the obvious worry here. After all it’s the same size as a regular credit card, so it’s fairly easy to lose. To combat this, it doesn’t have your credit card number on the front and it can obviously be set to lock down if you lose it.

It’s only available in the US currently and there’s no word on when it’ll reach us this side of the Atlantic. As it stands, the Stratos Card doesn’t currently support international standards like chip and pin payments so a release would be a little pointless at the moment. Still, we’d imagine it’s a solvable problem.

While Apple Pay has been a critical hit, it’s still only available in fewer than 5% of retail locations in the US. Consequently less than only 0.05% of Apple users use it. This does leave a market open to someone like Stratos. This sort of technology really does feel like the future and it’s just a case of whoever can break the market first. We see no reason Stratos can’t be that company.

The Stratos Card costs $95 (around £65) as an on-going subscription, which includes access to card upgrades and cloud-services tied to the card to help users keep track of their spending. Check out the Stratos Website for more details.