Why Does Everyone Still Want an All-in-One-Card?

If you think the all-in-one-card is an overused idea that had its day years ago and has deservedly disappeared into oblivion, well, I don’t even know what to say to you.

Actually, I do: I agree, and yet check out the Fuze card, now raising funds on Indiegogo. This all-in-one-card has raised nearly $2 million from more than 11 thousand backers and holds up to 30 debit, credit, or gift cards, according to its Indiegogo page. Its original goal was $50,000, so it has overachieved to the tune of 3824%.

The card’s companion mobile app includes remote wipe technology for the time when you’re going to leave it behind in the bar and your friends will keep racking up charges on it; location tracking, in case you think the waiter is going to run out the back door and buy something with it while he rings up your bill; a battery that lasts a month; and a tool to view all your card accounts from the app. That last feature is interesting, though it’s not clear how far the functionality extends.

It also has an EMV chip, which confounded some earlier attempts at this idea. Coin, perhaps the first, also set out to raise $50,000 back in Nov. 2013 but raised much more, ran into problems, and ultimately shipped only a portion of the promised cards. Things ended happily for Coin, though, as the company used its ample funds to pivot into IoT payments and a deal with Mastercard before being acquired by Fitbit. Others, like Stratos and Plastc, ran out of funds.

Another card making a run for the money with all-in-one functionality is Edge — both Edge and Fuze try to capitalize on the failure of previous attempts to do essentially the same thing, which is an odd marketing ploy, but one that seems to working, judging by the money poured down the rabbit hole on Fuze.

All of this is another way of saying that people want this idea to succeed, so eventually it will. (Others say the all-in-one card already exists and is called a mobile phone.) Consumers love their cards. Mobile payments are stagnant, and 46% of consumers say they rarely or never use cash for purchases.

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Philip Ryan is Senior Editor of Bank Innovation and Senior Director of INV Fintech. He began covering financial services in 2012 and has more than 15 years' experience in online journalism, which makes him quite old. He can be reached at pryan@royalmedia.com.

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