If you’re like me, you use multiple credit cards to maximize their rewards in different situations. Gas on one card, groceries on another, and maybe yet another one for restaurants. What if you could just charge everything on one dummy card, and have it automatically route the purchase on the optimal card? That’s what Wallaby Financial is trying to do. Thanks to reader JC for the tip.
I just signed up for their beta, but it doesn’t appear that anyone actually has an actual card yet. Founder Matthew Goldman answered some questions in Mashable, TechCrunch, and also this FW forum post. The card is not actually a new line of credit, so you won’t get a credit check although they will want your Social Security number and other personal info (and all your credit card numbers). After a six-month free period for beta users, the service costs $50 a year. Wallaby says that they’ll save you that much and more via the extra cashback they generate. Well, that depends on how badly you optimize your cards now.
Although the idea appears simple, the implementation will be very difficult. Here are a few examples… On cards with rotating categories, they say you’ll still have to activate them yourself each quarter. If you don’t, will they know? Next, all your purchases are technically charged on the Wallaby card number, and then re-routed to your actual card with the actual retailer name augmented with a prefix. For that reason, Wallaby currently can’t guarantee that you’ll keep your other card-specific features like extended warranty or price protection. They also don’t know how other add-on programs like Dining Rewards or UPromise will work with the program. Lots of questions, but yet another startup to keep an eye on.
By Jonathan Ping | Credit Cards | 7/13/12, 3:58am