The Stratos Card. Can It Replace Your Wallet?
Credit cards have been around since the late 1940's. For 65 years we have used them. It is a technology that we take for granted everyday. Cards today have multiple uses. We have cards for just about anything we do. The Stratos Card is here to merge all those cards into one.
This card has one simple purpose. The purpose is to leave your most used cards at home. Seriously...thats it. There are a few other benefits of using this card, but none of them are worth going out and getting it. The question is, can you really get away with only using this card? Short answer. Yes with an if, but first here is my review.
The unboxing of the card is simple. The box has a premium feel to it. The box is closed with a magnetic flap. When opening the box you are immediately greeted with your new card. I will nerd out a little and say that it just looks awesome. Under your card is a simple paper with three simple steps.
- Go to the App Store
- Download the Stratos App
- Follow the prompts within the App
Under that is the magnetic stripe reader. The stripe reader looks simple. The picture on the right has it attached to my Note 4. I would like to know if the color of the stripe reader varies on the card.
The setup process is aimed to be simple. For the most part I would say that it is. I experienced a few hiccups when it came down to actually downloading my cards to the phone. There comes a part where it ask you to plug in the magnetic stripe reader. After doing so the waiting for connection was on the screen for quite a while. I unplugged it and tried again. It still did not work. I turned off my phone after several failed attempts. After about 10 minutes total it finally worked and asked me to swipe the card I was registering.
My bank card has seen better days. The magnetic strip has been peeling for quite some time now. The plastic on the back of it is bubbling and it just looks bad. I knew it was going to give me issues when swiping it with the reader. It did. I received a bad read multiple times. I would say that I swiped it around 10 times or so. The process with my other cards were simple. Just a swipe and each of them were loaded. You name the cards and color them. You also put if its a Visa, MasterCard, Discover, American Express or other. Loading the card also loads the details, like your name and expiration date. It does ask you to put in the verification code.
The Stratos card has three favorite slots. You can see that my favorite spots are Chase, CapitalOne, and Starbucks. I haven't used my Panera card lately so I have that below them. The three squares are LEDs that are also touch sensors. A double tap of the card blinks the favorites that you have. You touch the square and it will blink for about 1 second. That is your way of knowing that you have activated that specific card. A single tap will wake the card and arm it for swiping. Which ever favorite you activated with that double tap will be what is used.
The card has what is called a Priority Spot. Now the purpose (at least for Stratos Card) with priority spot is to allow you to drag up something that is not in your favorites to the priority spot. So in my instance I would drag Panera Bread on the app to the Priority Spot (AKA down pointing arrow). So now when I single tap the card, the priority spot indicator will blink. Once I double tap again and choose a favorite, that priority spot gets deleted and I now can only use the favorites. To use my Panera Bread again I would have to redo those actions on the app. I can see how this would be beneficial for a card you do not use often. Stratos Card even says this on their website. The definiton of priority is something that is more important than another. A gift card is not more important than my bank card. Why is it called this? I would of loved to see the priority just be my bank card. I could use the favorites as the other cards and have the priority be the most important one, since its a priority.
The card works just about anywhere I have went to. I went out to eat and the waitress took the card right after I tapped it and made the transaction. There is a limited amount of time that the card stays awake. Telling a waiter/waitress to tap your card to wake it may make you look like a tool. Most places that you go to allow you to be the person that swipes your card. This is the most preferred way. The Starbucks that I go to and a few other places swipe the card for you. I tap it before I give it to them, and it has worked without any hiccups.
The card has not worked for me at the bank ATM. I bank with Chase and the ATM there did not recognize that I swiped a card at all. I used it at an ATM at a gas station and it worked fine. I can understand something like that not working at the actual bank. I can't explain it, but I understand it.
I took a recent picture on Instagram when I first got the card. When I took the picture, I blacked out the member number. Turns out that I didn't need to do that. The card shows no numbers that actually affect anything. If your card gets stolen you have the ability to lock it using the app. As far as security goes, the Stratos Card has it down.
Ignoring the initial setup dilemma, the app is well designed. It has all the options that you could need for the card. You only need the magnetic stripe reader when you are loading a card to the Stratos. The card I have is the slate edition. The other four are white, blue, salmon, and green. I personally love the slate. I am not 100% sure if the card that is shown in the app is coincidentally the slate, or it just knows from your sign in which card you own.
The Stratos Card is battery operated. I could not find details on how long the battery last. I would imagine that the battery should last quite a while. The good news is, once your battery is low they will send you a new card. They receive a signal when that happens. The company itself seems to be on top of future upgrades as well. There is an annual upgrade of the card. Some of the upgrades include NFC and fingerprint security. The card cost $95 a year and $145 for two years.
Should you buy the Stratos Card? I would mostly say that the answer is yes. I have multiple cards and yes, having them all one one make it simple. I would not see a problem with leaving my regular cards at home. If you have a problem with that or if you only have one or two cards, then maybe the card isn't for you. The average person doesn't know what this card is. It creates a wow factor when someone sees it or swipes it. People are impressed by the card. They think you have money. That is until you go through the drive through with a Honda Civic with a paint job done by a preschooler.
All info on the Stratos Card is on their website. I will leave a link right here.