Wallaby Card – One Card To Rule Them All?

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.

Comments

  1. Squeezer says:

    I signed up a few weeks ago and recently received an email from them stating I “won” a free year. But yes the $50 cost will probably eat up any bonus rewards I would have earned, and you bring up valid points on how it would affect warranty and price protection.

  2. It’ll be interesting, I signed up for an invite to check it out. However, for that haven’t signed up already, don’t pay attention to the First 1,000 or First 5,000 offers. They’ve filled up all those spots already.

  3. Totally agree with your assessment, Jonathan. I see the startup as a good idea but I’m worried about the stuff you mention – extra card services, dining rewards network, and whatever else I can sync my cards with. Think Amex link, like, love; amex twitter campaign; amex foursquare. I don’t think this is a product for hard core users.

  4. You can also check out:

    http://techcrunch.com/2012/06/01/icache-geode-now-available/
    http://www.icache.com/buy/

    Rewrite-able card integrated into an iphone case with app that looks briefly like a similar purchase w/o the annual service charges

  5. While I initially signed up for it (and got in the 5,000 for a free year). I’m beginning to question how much it will actually help me. Since there’s actually far more complications than just rotating cashback categories.

    There are AMEX sync offers, spending threshold bonuses, and dining programs that can alter which gives the most cashback. Then even add that I don’t value different point programs staticallysince each (Citi TY points, CHase UR, AMEX MR) can have different point sales.

    Not to mention there are ‘intangibles’ like extended warranties, rental insurance, and I’m not sure how chargebacks will work.

    I’m beginning to think my cashback preferences on credit cards may be complex enough that I don’t think outsourcing it is a useful option for me.

  6. Kevin Ashwe says:

    One thing we must be sure we check out about them is a guaranteed safety.Ther are beginning to be problems with the security of cards today.Card security is a major thing to look out for

  7. Ya, this concept seems counterproductive at a $50 fee. Holding 3 credit cards in my wallet instead of 1 is no big deal and the cost of charging the occasional wrong card won’t come close to making up the $50 fee. You’d have to charge over $1250 on a 5% card instead of a 1% card. Odds on charging that much more on the wrong card doesn’t seem high, especially with significant purchases where you would already have in mind that you are using “X” card.

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