Stratos Smart Card

Yet Another Smart Card: The Stratos Card

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It seems like this year is going to be the year of the smart card, because yet another one has entered the ring: Stratos. This one is a bit different from the rest in the sense that it comes with a membership rather than a one time purchase fee. It requires a yearly fee, but the company also upgrades your card every year. It’s an interesting concept that definitely sets this card apart from the rest, but is it worth it? Check it out:

As I mentioned above, this card is unique compared to the other Smart Cards coming to the market, so let’s look at its pros and cons.

Pros

  • With Stratos, you receive a new card every year which will likely include new features such as EMV and NFC support.
  • This card is shipping soon. As of this writing, the ship dates are next month. Of course, that could move depending on demand.
  • It comes with a dual mag strip, which means it will be accepted everywhere that a normal mag strip is accepted.

Cons

  • No EMV or NFC support, but as mentioned above this will likely be coming in the future.
  • Stratos can only hold 4 cards on the actual device, which is significantly less than the competition. As with all the other smart cards, you can hold an infinite amount of cards on the app though.

Smart Card Comparison

 CoinPlastcWallabySwypStratos
Mag Strip:YesYesYesYesYes (2)
Chip & PIN:NoYesNoNoNot Yet
Touchscreen:YesYesNoYesYes
Bluetooth:YesYesUnknownYesYes
Card Limit:8 Cards20 CardsUnknown25 Cards4 Cards
Battery Charge:2 Years30 DaysUnknown2 Years2 Years
NFC:NoYesUnknownNoNo
Charging:NoneWirelessUnknownYesNo
Cost:$100$155$50/year$100$95/year
Warranty:If Defective1 YearUnknownUnknown6 months
Ship Date:Summer 2015Summer 2015UnknownFall 2015April 2015
Waterproof:Water ResistantYesUnknownUnknownYes
Yearly Upgrade:NoNoNoNoYes

You can see a hands on photo collage on The Verge.

Conclusion

This card sounds like it could be a very interesting competitor in the smart card world, since there will be new iterations of the card every year. I’m holding off on pre ordering at the moment, because my money is with Plastc. That being said, if Plastc ends up getting delayed or if I change my mind, this card would be my second choice.

I do not receive a referral for this card, so if you have one, feel free to leave it in the comments.

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