March 13, 2015
A tech startup wants to compete in the card payments ecosystem with its recently launched 'device' that is being positioned as a replacement for your entire wallet. Stratos recently launched its Bluetooth Connected Card service that allows customers to sync all of their magstripe cards, of any type, into a single card that can be managed via a smartphone.
The card has been designed to not display numbers as on traditional payment cards. This ensures safety of personal data. The Connected Card service comes with a card reader that allows the customer to input all cards into an app on a smartphone. Once embedded into the app, the cards sync up with the Stratos card. The user can then choose their top three most-used cards to feature or leave it to the Stratos card to figure that out itself.
Here is a video illustration highlighting what the Stratos card is all about:
For example, by using the location service on the smartphone, the card can detect whether the customer walks into a Starbucks or a Macy's, and then remind the user to use gift cards or credit cards associated with those stores. A single tap of the card syncs it via Bluetooth to the user’s phone. A double tap brings up payment options on the phone, which can be translated to the card. Stratos is a membership service charging users $95 per year for access to their cloud-based system, which keeps the card up-to-date on security additions and changes.
The Stratos card appears to be a bridge product that may help in keeping up with the changes in the payments realm, while at the same time following the 'card paradigm'. Payments cards themselves are evolving from magstripe to the EMV format. Having a Stratos card would help users alleviate the trouble accompanying this ongoing transition in the market. From a security standpoint, the card can be deactivated via the smartphone app if lost or stolen. The company has also invested in bank-level encryption services.
Stratos raised $5.8 million in funding in October last year, primarily to support the manufacturing of the Stratos card.