Swyp builds ‘smart’ universal credit card

US startup Qivr is building Swyp, a universal credit card that will be able to track spending habits and offer the right credit card so the user at the right time. The problem is, the company has forgotten about the looming EMV transition deadline.

Like its competitors Coin and Plastc, Swyp allows users to load their credit, debit and loyalty cards onto a digital card-sized device than can emulate each card’s magnetic stripe. This means that, for the moment, any retailer can swipe the card at their point-of-sale system, allowing customers to pay using the credentials of one of the cards held on the device.

Swyp differs from its competitors because it can track user spending habits and offer the right card at the right time. For example, a debit card at the supermarket or business card during work hours. Swyp will be able to hold up to 25 cards.

Qivr has put some thought into the security of its new product, which can hold all of a user’s payments options, putting their finances at risk were the card to be lost or stolen. Swyp is designed to work seamlessly within six feet of the user’s connected smartphone. The card locks once it crosses that distances, meaning that the user needs to enter a PIN on the card’s small buttons to use it. If that PIN is not entered, the card is blocked, and can only be unblocked by bringing it back in reach of the user’s phone.

Where the company seems to have slipped up is by ignoring the October deadline requiring merchants to switch to accepting EMV cards. Qivr intends to add EMV functionality to its product in the future but is in no rush because “merchants won’t upgrade for a few more years”, the company told Gigaom.

While the transition may not be instant – indeed many US merchants are ill prepared for the switch – EMV has been a standard in European markets for some time. US banks will be issuing chip cards this year, and many merchants are in the process of upgrading their POS systems.

And come October, if a merchant accepts a mag stripe payment on a card that has EMV capability, that merchant will be held responsible for any fraudulent purchases. By completely ignoring the EMV transition, Swyp may not live up to its $99 – $49 for advance orders – price tag.

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