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Plastc Smartcard Review – A Tale of Bankruptcy and Broken Promises

Plastc Smartcard Review – A Tale of Bankruptcy and Broken Promises


Update  April 20, 2017: Plastc has declared bankruptcy and lost 9 million in pre-order funding. None of the 80,000 backers have or will recieve any plastc (including the author of this page). If you did pre-order the card, try disputing your purchase on visa. It’s our opinion that the CEO, Ryan Marquis has committed fraud on a grand scale. I’ve left our review up for historical sake…


Plastc is no more! But if you stil want to read our old review…continue.

The Plastc SmartCard acts as a bankcard and a digital wallet in one package. It is a device that allows you to load information from your credit cards and bank cards. Then, instead of taking out your bank and credit cards, you take out the SmartCard instead. When you pay, you pay with your SmartCard. It is like a digital wallet where you may choose the card you wish to pay with. You may even load loyalty and customer cards onto your Plastc SmartCard so that you may use them when you purchase things. Our Plastc smartcard review explains what a Plastc card does and why so many people think it is great.

shows the Plastc smart cards tech details

You may have heard people compare the Plastc SmartCard to a credit card, but it isn’t. It is simply a tool in which you may enter your credit cards. For example, if you have a bankcard, a Capital One credit card, and a HSBC credit card, you may load them all onto your Plastc SmartCard. With just your SmartCard, you may select your Capital One card to pay for your flight, and select your HSBC credit card to buy clothes in a store. You may then select your bankcard (on your SmartCard) and use it in an ATM to get some money out.

Scan Your Cards Into Your SmartCard

When you order your Plastc SmartCard and start your subscription, you are sent your card, a series of instructions, your battery charger, and a small card reader. The card reader attaches to your Smartphone (and maybe your desktop device).

Scan your loyalty cards, your bankcard, credit cards and so forth. The cards are read and encrypted by the Plastc app. The information is then entered onto your Plastc SmartCard (follow the instructions you are given), at which point you are able to use your cards on your new SmartCard.

You may manage your cards on your Plastc app, and you may set up a budget that has information automatically inputted into it by your Smart Card and the app working together.

The Card Is Set Up For EMV

It may be set up for it, but Plastc do not currently offer EMV transactions. It allows for barcode transactions, for magnetic swipe transactions and contactless Near Field Communications (NFC) transactions. Chip-and-Pin is not yet possible, but EMV may be possible over time with further software updates. The technology for EMV is in the Plastc card, but Plastc doesn’t yet have connections/relationships with payment networks or banks that allow them to offer EMV transactions.

If you want a Plastc SmartCard, then you will have to pay for it, and then pay a subscription fee to continue using it. Our plastc smartcard review found that the SmartCard comes with a scanner, instructions, a battery charger and an app.

The Most Sophisticated Smart Card On The Market

There are only really three companies in the SmartCard race. There are a few other SmartCards in development, but they may never see the light of day. The current contenders in the SmartCard race are Coin, Swyp and Plastc. The company Stratos was the first to create and issue genuine Smart Cards, but they have since gone out of business.

The e-ink touch screen on the Plastc SmartCard is very sophisticated and very impressive considering the fact that the card is so thin. There are no buttons at all on the SmartCard; it uses a tap system with a touch screen display. Such tap and touch screen technology is not impressive these days, but to be able to squeeze such technology onto such a thin device is worthy of applause.

Plastc Card With Active Display

Swipe To Select The Card You Want To Use

Once you have loaded your credit cards, bankcards and loyalty cards onto your SmartCard, you may select them by swiping the Plastc screen. Swipe left or right until the card you desire comes up. Tap the card to use it and either put it in the card terminal or hand it over to the merchant.

You may clearly and easily see which cards you are looking through and which card you have selected via the e-ink screen. The graphics on the screen are also impressive. Even the way it fades from one function (such as entering the pin) to another, such as selecting your card, is sleek and smooth.

Your Card Numbers Appear When You Select A Card

When you pick a card, your Plastc SmartCard leaves your chosen card numbers on e-ink screen. This may offer a slight security problem because people can see your card number, expiry date and so forth, but they can see them all the time on your regular bank and credit cards, so showing them while the merchant runs your card shouldn’t be a big deal.

The reason your card numbers appear on the e-ink screen when you select your card is so that your SmartCard looks more like a regular card. It gives your name, card number and so forth in the same arrangement and pattern that they appear on a normal credit or bankcard. This makes your SmartCard look less like a blank piece of electronics and more like a bank or credit card, which should make the merchant feel a little more at ease when using it.

Activating Your Card With A Pin Number

There are two ways of activating your card. You may use your phone’s proximity settings or you may enter a pin. Using the proximity settings means installing the Plastc app on your phone and setting the communication perimeter. Our plastc smartcard review discovered that you may only set the perimeter within a few feet.

If your Smartphone enters a certain distance between you and your card, then the card becomes active. If your phone leaves that radius, such as if you walk off without your phone, then the card locks and removes all your information. When you find your phone, you may use the app to reactivate your card and re-install your information/cards onto it.

If your phone battery has died, or you do not want your phone activating your SmartCard, then you may activate it yourself by entering a pin number on the touch screen display. While writing our plastc smartcard review, we discovered that you should not use a pin longer than six numbers or it becomes annoying.

Plastc Card Secure Pin image in our plastc smartcard review

Show Your ID To A Certain Extent

The Plastc SmartCard will not allow you to scan your ID onto it, such as your passport or your driver’s license. However, you may upload an image to your Plastc app that transmits to the Plastc SmartCard. That way, you may prove that the card belongs to you by showing your face on it. In addition, when you make your purchase, your photo ID will show up on the SmartCard screen.

Your photo ID showing up after you make a purchase is one of the Plastc SmartCard security functions, but it is a little silly. After all, there is no law against using another person’s bank or credit cards if you have their permission, and yet the Plastc ID image flashing up will cause suspicion if you use somebody else’s SmartCard.

Our Plastc Smartcard Review Explains Its Security Precautions

A mild problem with the Plastc card security is the fact that it re-downloads and re-installs your cards and information from the app on your phone after your card has been lost. If you walk away from your card, and your phone leaves a pre-specified radius, your card will lock itself and delete your information. You may set the app so that when you and your phone get nearer, the card reactivates.

If the Plastc SmartCard is able to do this, then it means your card information is not stored on the SmartCard exclusively. It also means your card information is stored on the app too. Even though the information is encrypted, one may feel a little nervous about having card information stored on a local Smartphone app.

Don’t be mistaken, the fact that the card deletes its own information if the card is left alone is a very good security precaution, but the fact that the card information is stored in two locations (the card and the app) is mildly annoying (not worrying, but a niggling concern).

plastc smartcard internal electronics

The Card Uses More Power Than Other SmartCards

If you buy a Plastc SmartCard, you will gain access to all the perks that the card offers, which includes its sleek and modern design. The only downside to this is that the card requires recharging. The first and only generation of Stratos card had a battery that lasted a year. The Coin 2.0 battery lasts around a year, and the Swyp battery lasts between one and two years. The Plastc battery lasts for thirty days, and the Plastc battery is the only one that you have to recharge.

Make no mistake, the fact that Plastc have found a way for users to recharge their card is amazing. Other companies are scrambling to find safe ways to recharge their internal batteries without damaging the cards, damaging its information, and/or making the device thicker.

The Plastc App And Its Functions

Shows three active smart cards on the market

All three of the most current SmartCard companies (Plastc, Swyp and Coin) have an app that goes with the card, but the Plastc app has the most functions and features. Other SmartCard apps may allow you to track your transactions, but the Plastc app allows you to track your spending, all your transactions, and then add that information to your budget.

The app doubles over as a budget-tracking app, and it also allows you to easily add and remove cards from your SmartCard with just the tapping of a few app buttons. That app may also receive updates as time goes on that may add to its functionality and usefulness.

Conclusion – Plastc Is Still The Best SmartCard…IF it ever comes out

Maybe it is because the Plastc SmartCard looks better, or because it has a better interface, or because it has more functions, or because it is the most convenient to use….who knows.

The fact is that this SmartCard is currently LOOKS like the best you can buy without exception. The others have their charms, and they are good SmartCards, but this one takes the prize if it comes out.

However, it’s reputation has taken a serious hit because of its delayed release (2 years and counting)

If you have any more questions about the Plastc SmartCard that were not answered in our plastc smartcard review, the Plastc website has a Plastc FAQ section that also deals with the Wallet app, subscriptions, shipping, functions, pre orders and much more.

As stated, the author of this article pre-ordered the card on the hopes that it will be released.

Plastc has declared bankruptcy April 20, 2017.

About The Author

Ash The Great

After a varied career in different industries from the hospitality industry to the financial consultancy industry, Ash now spends his days working as a professional writer.

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