Wallaby Card

Rarely am I impressed with the ideas from new West Coast tech startups. They are generally just rehashing things that have already been done. More social networks or ways to share with our friends how cool we are – like we need more of that anyway. The Wallaby Card, however, is different.

wallaby card

[Note: this is not a promotional post - just my thoughts]

It probably won’t be long before a slew of young tech assholes from California copy the Wallaby Card with other new startups, but before they do, let’s give Wallaby some ink.

 

So what exactly makes the Wallaby Card different?

In a nutshell, it is a cloud-based wallet that keeps track of your rewards credit and debit cards, automatically chooses the most lucrative reward for your current transaction, and routes the transaction through that card. The project is backed by the Santa Monica accelerator MuckerLab.

Unlike what its name suggests, it’s not a new line of credit with a bank or lender, it is simply an aggregator of your cards. They don’t pull a hard credit check on you, so using Wallaby Card will not directly affect your credit score.

What makes the Wallaby Card different is that it provides you with a physical swipe card on which to record all your transactions. Now instead of having 5 rewards cards, one for cash back, one for miles, one for your favorite store, etc, you can carry just one.

Yes other companies have tried this service before, but they usually will offer you an app for your phone or some dashboard to log in to and make your determination. Wallaby Card is the first one I’ve heard of that offers you a physical card and does the hard work for you.

In my money clip I have two credit cards, a Chase Freedom card and a Chase Sapphire Preferred card. Like many people, I carry these for their rewards perks, as well as for security, identity protection and for traveling.

Because Chase Freedom offers rotating 5% cash back categories like groceries and gasoline, some months we have to use two cards and remember which to use for different types of purchase. Since it’s only two cards for us, I’m not sure if I’m going to be signing up for the Wallaby Card, but if I somehow find myself with an additional card, I will probably be climbing the wallaby’s tree.

In writing this post, I checked out the website for Wallaby Card and came across this infographic which shows that over 30 million consumers carry four credit cards in their wallet. When we used to have credit card debt, we probably had more than five cards open at any one time, playing the balance transfer game every six months to save a few bucks.
Complications in Credit Card Land, Provided by Wallaby Financial at www.walla.by

The infographic also shows that most people prefer cash back. It doesn’t say why, but I have a guess. Airline points are notoriously confusing, hard to redeem, and miles are an abstract idea. Cash is a tangible reality. While you might get more bang for your buck with airline miles, especially if you are a frequent traveler, people seem to prefer the simplicity of the rebate-style rewards of cash back.

I know I do.

The nature of the product makes the Wallaby Card also unique – it is a product that can make or save you money, which is pretty important since it comes with an annual fee.

 

To Credit Card or Not to Credit Card

The usage of cash is declining, at least in the world as I see it. Credit cards got me into trouble, but they also helped get me out. How is that? Because credit cards are not the problem – YOU are the problem.

Once you fix YOU, then you can responsibly begin to use credit cards again.

Yes I’m sure there are a small percentage of customers – I have heard about 1-3% who actually have diagnosable shopping and spending addictions – who can never responsibly use a credit card. But most of us can, and you are leaving free money on the table if you are not using a rewards card and paying your balance in full at the end of each month.

For those of us who have moved to expert user status, the Wallaby Card can take us to a whole new level.

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11 Comments
  1. Interesting write up as I’ve seen the name but never new what the card was.

    That is a brilliant idea and a great service. If I carried multiple cards it would be a pain to remember what everything was for!
    Jason @ WSL recently posted..5 Reasons to Buy a Home in This MarketMy Profile

  2. I think this sounds like a really awesome service too. I hate how I have to carry so many different rewards cards. I’d be interested to see how many store specific cards can be integrated even if they are just membership cards.

    As for startups copying other ideas, I have absolutely no problem with that. It is just the nature of how an idea evolves. If nobody copied each other, those original ideas would only improve marginally. That competition milks those ideas for everything they’re worth. Plus it drives down prices.
    Modest Money recently posted..Optimal Blog Keyword Research for SEOMy Profile

  3. Very interesting! Why won’t you be using it if you only have 2 cards? The funny thing is that I have the same cards as you! Sapphire Preferred and Freedom. It is a pain sometimes to remember which one to use – especially this quarter since I get 5% cash back on restaurants for Freedom and I always get 2x pts for Preferred. Yet, it’s not that hard to remember. I have a Citibank card but that one doesn’t get used at all since the rewards are pitiful. Does using this card always work though?
    From Shopping to Saving recently posted..Simple Financial Lessons – Breaking Bad StyleMy Profile

  4. This seems like an awesome service but what is the catch and how do they make money?
    Lance@MoneyLife&More recently posted..Passive Income: Not As Passive As You Think – Part 2My Profile

  5. I’ll let everyone know how this works out. I was one of the first “5000″ people to sign up so I get a Wallaby Card free for a year. So I at least get to test drive it, instead of paying a fee like some will have to.

    Not sure how much I will actually use it since I basically use my Freedom card (love this card with Chase exclusives) for my day to day personal purchases and we are in the process of getting a new “joint” card for our joint purchases (just waiting for a good sign up bonus ie 100,000 MR from Amex or something similar).

  6. Ohhh…. that is a really neat concept, I like it! As one of those people who carries a million cards around due to the points, I love it!
    Anne @ Unique Gifter recently posted..Creative Cash Gift: The Gravy BoatMy Profile

  7. I also pick my cards based on cash back. Just like you said, tangible reasons. I like this idea of combining multiple cards into one physical card and letting them do the hard work. I’ll have to look into this. Thanks John!
    John recently posted..Is Your Glass Half Full or Is It Half Empty?My Profile

  8. I personally want to spend as much of my life without a credit card as possible. I feel like if the option was there, I might be tempted to use it. I’d rather be safe than sorry!
    Cassi recently posted..Should You Use Your 401K to Pay Off Debt?My Profile

  9. Actually, I don’t have plans in getting credit card because at some point, you will really get tempted to get things you don’t need and shop a lot..
    Karmi recently posted..GoPro HD HERO CameraMy Profile

  10. So…how much personal information do you have to give them (along with that fee that someone mentioned above)?

    I don’t bother with rewards card. Have only one card and don’t use it much.

    We found long ago that for us, it is best not to use cards for anything that is perishable – gas, groceries, restaurants, entertainment and etc – unless we are traveling or wary of the company offering.
    Marie at Family Money Values recently posted..What is Retirement?My Profile

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