Wocket: World’s First Electronic ‘Smart Wallet’
NEW YORK (TheStreet) — Next-ID’s (NXTD) new Wocket is the world’s first electronic smart wallet. It’s designed to replace all the cards you currently carry. Both the concept and the actual system are quite ingenious.
Wocket is not just a software system but a leather-wrapped, hardware device that you program to hold all of your credit, ATM, loyalty, membership and ID card information so you can stash all of your physical cards in your desk at home. There are optional accessories that will let you carry cash if you need to.
When you want to use one of your pre-programmed cards, Wocket instantly writes the necessary information onto its own, special plastic card. When the transaction is complete the Wocket card automatically “zeroes-out” all stored information. The only permanent info a Wocket card contains is your name embossed on the front and a photo of your signature on the back.
The entire system is completely self-contained. That means you don’t have to connect Wocket to a smartphone, tablet or computer to make it work, but you can use an app (available for Apple (AAPL) iOS, Google (GOOG) Android smartphones, and also laptops) to help with backup and wallet software upgrades. The small Wocket device is protected by the company’s patented encryption chip and its pincode/voice-recognition software system.
NXT-ID claims your Wocket is biometrically locked to you, and only you can retrieve your personal information. The company says it can’t always protect your card from being skimmed by bad guys, but Wocket’s built-in security features are said to make the card worthless to anyone else.
When you want to use one of your already programmed accounts to make a payment, you select that account via Wocket’s e-paper touchscreen, remove the card from the wallet and then swipe it as you would the original. Wocket sends the information to the point-of-sale terminal (via its patent-pending, in-card antenna system) and you’re all set. If the merchant needs more information, you can refer them to your Wocket screen readout. The system also supports barcodes, QR codes and will soon be able to handle payments via Bluetooth.
Wocket’s makers are quick to point out that the system is unique because it’s self-contained and doesn’t rely on a smartphone app and Internet connections to process payments. That means unlike competing systems, a Wocket card should always be ready for action, even if your smartphone can’t access the Web for some reason. Another plus, Wocket’s internal battery only needs recharging every few months — not days or weeks.
We were able to spend some quality time with a pre-production Wocket and were very impressed with what we saw. The physical wallet is small (3.46 inches by 2.75 inches by 0.39 inches thick). Wocket’s special card looked and left like any other physical charge card in your current wallet. The system was easy to understand, program and use. I can’t vouch for the actual level of security it provides, but have no reason to doubt the company’s hardware, software and voice protection claims.
Wocket is currently taking orders on its Web site. The device sells for $229. It’s currently available only in classic black, but other options should become available soon. We think Wocket could be one of the most unusual, interesting and maybe popular items during this year’s holiday gift-giving season.