Wocket is the Highlander of Cards: 1 card to be them all.
When it comes to accessories, there seem to be very few available to men. With the exception of watches, most of these are low tech. You may see men sporting a wallet/money clip, some jewelry (ring or necklace), glasses or perhaps a pocket square or handkerchief. Yet, we still tend to have small variations of the same devices. I have had a leather wallet for most of my life, and I have hated it. I have seen many men’s wallets that are multiple inches thick, full of cards, money and a variety of other items such as business cards, receipts, etc. We often have to pick and choose what we take with us, otherwise, our wallets may explode. Until the Apple marketplace introduced Apple wallet and the IOS App Stocard, it would not be unrealistic to think that I had 15 different store cards/rewards, a few gift cards, a few credit cards and my drivers ID. I have had to carry many fewer cards on my person thanks to my iPhone. However, some businesses still require a physical card and have no way to scan my phone. Although they likely can input the number into their system, most employees hate to do to extra work.
As credit cards increased in popularity, I carried less cash. However, I have made it a rule to have ~$50 minimum for emergencies. We must make a decision to thin out the wallet or to bear the heavier/thicker wallet. I will tell you that this decision is not a simple one. I have many times arrived at a store and then realized that the card I needed was at home. To the corollary, carrying a thick wallet in my back pocket has led to hip pain and knee pain. With a little research, my wallet moved from my buttock pocket to my front hip pocket and I transitioned from a standard wallet to a Big Skinny Wallet. This wallet is incredibly thin and lightweight and has served me well in my front pocket. This is yet another example of the low-tech devices that are out there. Even this thin wallet has its limitations on the number of cards you can carry. Digital is the answer and the Wocket Wallet will provide the means to assist you.
According to the website, The Wocket Wallet is the world’s first and only Smart Wallet. You can store thousands of cards into one personally controlled device. This will allow you to keep all of your information protected, reduce identity theft options, as the card is erased after each use. It requires a personally created pin to program the card. The idea is, you will only need 1 card; the Wocket card will become all of your other cards. The Wocket does not require a cell phone or other smart device. Simply use the included card reader to add your cards to the Wocket. You then get to choose how to sort/organize them. Pick the needed card from the Wocket and the device will program the card to become any of the available cards in the library. It is still recommended to carry your license and at least one major card, as your photo will not be stored for your ID and Chip technology currently limits some retail use of the system.
The device and website promise a great deal and I was very excited to test the product. The Wocket Wallet arrives in a white box with an image of the Wocket on the cover. Inside the box, you will get an approximately 2 foot USB A to 3.5mm cable, a quick instruction guide, a card reader with a 3.5mm jack and the Wocket Wallet device. You can quickly review the easy to understand, instructions and discover that you will need to charge the device first. Slide the card out of the back and set it aside. Then grip the back and sides and pull upwards. This will separate the front and back halves of the device. They come apart quite easily, without much resistance. Along the bottom, you will notice the 3.5mm port for the card reader and charger. Plug the 3.5mm jack end into the device and then plug into any USB outlet/computer or wall adapter. I plugged it into my computer USB port, checked on it about 2.5 hours later and it was fully charged. It is amazing that 2.5 hours of charge will net you up to 12 months (according to the instructions).
Once charged, press the small button on the bottom front of the device. You will notice that the display is an energy efficient e-ink, which uses very little power. Press the button twice and the backlight feature will illuminate the card. If you leave the device alone, it will first turn off the backlit feature (about 30 seconds) and then power down the display (about another 30 seconds). Power on the device, peel off the protective thin plastic layer. You will be instructed to agree to the EULA and then enter information about yourself. You will then be directed to insert the card reader and to scan a credit card (payment card) as the first card. To do this you will need to remove the two halves as listed previously because the port is covered by the card slot accessory. Swiping the first card will identify you and confirm the information that you entered. After this first card, you will need to wait 4 minutes and then you can swipe a new card to program. If you tap the 3 parallel lines on the top left you can quickly move to card categories: Credit, debit, loyalty, misc, passwords, notes. If you tap the cog icon in the top right you can access Software update, display timeout information, security (change your pin), WocketCard and reset.
The best aspects of this device include:v it does not connect to the internet, does not store your information in some cloud location and it is small/lightweight. The 3.46″ wide by 2.75″ long by 0.39″ thick device acts as a vault to your data. The device protects the information in a tamper-proof, encrypted chip protection with a pin that you set up. This data is promised to never be uploaded and will not store it on another device. The device attempts to reduce identity theft by zeroing out the card after each use. Once it has been swiped, the card returns to an empty state. This process eliminates any need for RF protection. If you have extra cards in the accessories of the Wocket, you may consider RF protection for those cards. Added features of the device include payment modes utilizing barcode, QR, and Bluetooth payments. Your name should be on the bottom of your card. Mine says NXT-ID (test model). There is a signature strip along the back of the card. As a reminder, your personal information is displayed on the e-ink display of the Wocket, should a merchant ask to see it.
When you are at the checkout, using the Wocket is simple. Turn on the device, enter your previously created pin, select your desired card and wait a few seconds. The Wocket will display information about programming the card. Swipe the Wocket card at a good steady speed. It is recommended to not swipe fast and to use a slower than normal pace. You may also swipe upwards as this has been shown to be more effective as well. Once scanned and complete you will need to replace it into the Wocket. It is now empty. I tested this by leaving it out and going to a different store. Do not fret about leaving it on the counter, as the data is erased after a single use. You may be out roughly 60-70 dollars for a replacement smart card for the Wocket, but the cost is much more palatable than losing an actual credit card or your entire Wallet. If you have a loyalty card, the cashier can scan the screen UPC code or input the code manually.
We have discussed what would happen if you left the card somewhere. What would happen if you left the entire Wocket? Unless someone can guess your pin (do not use easy to guess numbers), they cannot access the device. The card is only valid for a single use and is then deactivated. This makes for a rather convenient travel system that is designed to keep you safe. There are limitations, however. The United States has adopted chip technology and many of the retail establishments require chip transactions. In this instance, the Wocket will not work. I ran into this issue at Kohl’s, Walmart, Kmart. Additionally, some locations have older magnet reading technology and may have issues with cards only utilizing a single stripe. Most cards have 2 stripes, stripe A for the name and stripe B for number/information. I received an error at a local carwash noting that Track2 was too long. The card would not work and I had to use my original card. Over the past 2 weeks, I have had about 70% success. Any place that requires swiping the card only, has no issues of any kind. Chip card readers will fail 100% of the time. In those instances, I still have my iPhone 7 Plus and my apple watch to use Apple Pay and to tap at the counter (if set up). For those other times, I have one of my physical copies of credit card and ID in the Wocket accessory as well. This decreases the security but increases the utility.
The strengths of the device are many. It is lightweight, easy to carry and has a few accessories to enhance your ability to carry the Wocket. You can add a change/money piece instead of the base card slots. The 12-month battery life is amazing, especially when it seemed to fully charge in about 2.5 hours. Entering cards is as simple as it could possibly be. No matter your tech level, you can understand and use the device. It is simply designed to be easy to use for everyone. The setup may be the quickest/easiest that I have experienced thus far. The use is very intuitive and it worked 100% of the time to program the card. The limitation as noted above is the chip technology. I have reached out to the company and their PR was amazing. They responded within about 12 hours noting that they were aware of the problem and working on a solution as this is a problem for everyone. They recommended I sign up for the email and await instructions on workarounds.
The limitations for this device are not on the Wocket Device or the smart NXT-ID card. Rather, the limitations arise from the merchant and their particular card terminals. Walmart requires a chip card, there is no workaround. My local Banks Market Grocery store had a chip terminal but allowed me to swipe the NXT-ID card as my credit card. The local gas station at Walmart took the card without issues. The Dollar Tree store took the card without issue. Kohl’s would not accept the card, Walmart would not accept the card and the local Finish Line car wash would not accept it either. I was really impressed with the ease of setup/use. You really cannot ask for much better in security. I do wish that there was an option to make a longer pin or that there was an auto wipe if a pin was put in wrong “X” number of times. A GPS feature would be appreciated as well. There is hype that a verbal passcode will replace the pin. This may or may not enhance the use of the device. Siri and Alexa are pretty good, but this voice tech can be buggy in some environments.
If you are looking to thin your wallet, this may be an option for you. It is not going to add to your wallet, as it is a wallet in its own light. You will discover where the device can be utilized, rather quickly. I would recommend carrying at least 1 actual card and your ID with this device if you are to use it as your sole wallet. I was impressed with the customer service email and their speed of response. Overall the impressions are good. I believe this type of tech will expand beyond the current capabilities. The price may seem steep for the device, but again, what is the price it will cost you if your current wallet goes missing? I can nearly guarantee that the cost is minimal for the device, compared to what you may experience losing all of that personal information.
Lastly, the website mentions QR codes and possibility of Bluetooth or NFC payment options coming in the future. Allowing these payment options and perhaps adding a programmable EMV chip card as an option will significantly improve the success rate. I was really pleased with the start up manual and with the setup and use of the wallet. Overall I would give the device a 5/5 on effort, intuitive design, and ease of use. I will have to give it a 3/5 for function, with a net score of roughly 4/5.