iCache – Your Wallet Replacement

iCache Logo

The next time you go shopping for a wallet, think about how nice it would be to replace all of that plastic your carrying with one card. That’s precisely what iCache will allow you to do, once it’s released. The iCache keeps a copy of every card you have programmed into the device and will program the dynamic magnetic strip when you select that particular card.

How It Works:

The iCache will most likely be available first through banks, then through retail locations. After you receive your iCache, you have to register your finger print and the cards you would like to have programmed into the device by plugging it into your PC through a USB cable. The software will prompt you for your card numbers and expiration dates which will then be saved on the iCache device itself. Then, when you reach the cash register, place your finger on the print scanner, navigate to the card to want to use and activate it. The magnetic strip will be programmed for that card, will eject out of the iCache card holder and can then be used to swipe at the terminal. Here is a video I found that goes into a little more detail in to how this thing works.

Security:

You can’t talk about the iCache without highlighting the aspect of security. If you lose the device, it will be no good considering you need to use your finger print before it can be activated. According to iCache, if the device is tampered with in anyway, the data will be permanently deleted. If you choose to store all of your credit card data online with iCache, you can simply plug in your iCache device into your PC and the data will automatically be restored. Notice how I said CHOOSE. Many people are worried that they HAVE TO store their card data online with iCache which is not the case. It will just be more of a pain to restore the data if you choose not to have them store your data.

Size Of iCache

Which Cards Can You Use:

iCache states that technically, you should be able to program any card that contains a mag stripe. That is, any card with a black magnetic strip that would use to swipe at pay terminals. This includes credit cards, debit cards, prepaid cards, ATM cards, loyalty cards, gas cards, give cards and gift certificate cards. It will be awesome to finally take all of those LOYALTY cards off of my keyring and put them into this device.

When Will It Be Available:

iCache is aiming towards a soft release towards the 2nd quarter of 2008 with a more widespread release near the end of the year. There is no word yet on how much this device will cost but if it’s $100.00 or cheaper, I’m going to pick one up.

Final Thoughts:

I am one of the ones that are extremely excited to see something like this coming down the pike. I’ll admit that I gave my dad this idea a year or so ago. I asked him, what if you could take all of these damn loyalty cards and combine them into one? He said that was a great idea but then, we would probably need to convince retailers to do a major overhaul on their cash registers as their would need to be some way to support the card. I’m happy to see that iCache looks to have gotten around the problem by not changing the dynamics of the card itself.

I’ve checked around the blogosphere and quite a few people believe that giving all of your data information to one company is a recipe for disaster. All it would take is for someone to hack their database or website and the game would be over. I’m pretty sure iCache has safeguards in place such as high bitrate encyption to make that data useless without the decryption keys. It’s also worth noting that you don’t HAVE TO give them your data. You can keep all of that information local.

It seems as though iCache has figured out a way to increase security while at the same time, increasing the convenience factor. I hope they see this post because I for one would love to be a beta tester for this product.

That’s my take on iCache. Now give me yours.

4 thoughts on “iCache – Your Wallet Replacement

  1. Great post Jeff. This is a very interesting device.

    However, one question: Why use this device, versus say, a phone with NFC (Near Field Communications) that allows you to store all your details on the phone (Credit Card, Debit Card, etc) and then pay via wireless.

    http://www.nokia.com/A4305081

    At 8mm thick, that’s a pretty thick device to lug around. It’s basically another phone in your pocket.

    NFC is already being implemented by both Visa and MasterCard and will no doubt be the future of consolidated, mobile payments. Not just payments actually, all your details could be stored/retrieved from your device.

    I won’t dwell into the security issues with a consolidated device. They’re generally pretty save as long as you don’t lose them… and even if you do there are heaps of measures against fraud. Although for instance I heard cases of people’s fingers being cut off (maybe just a myth) with car keys that required a fingerprint.

  2. @Mike You raise an extremely interesting and valid point. In the Business 2.0 article I read which highlighted iCache, they mentioned NFC and how it would likely be the competition for something like the iCache device. If I remember the article correctly, iCache thinks that NFC is still a little ways off, at least in America and they believe that by getting their product to the market first will help them establish a foothold to go against NFC devices.

    BTW, Some of your comments keep getting caught in the spam filter. I have pimpslapped Akismet and told it not to do it again. Also, WordPress is acting weird today and for whatever reason, my post about CPM has magically disappeared. The comments that were on that post were automatically moved to another post causing a bit of confusion. The post is gone and I have since deleted the comments. That is the second time WordPress has made a post vanish without any explanation.

  3. Wow! Weird. Must be WordPress’ that ‘time of the month’ again.

    I beg to differ with iCache. I’m not an expert in marketing, but it seems to me that they’re probably high on their own hype.

    It is indeed true that NFC and consumer uptake of the technology is still a while away. However considering the major players including Nokia, MasterCard and Visa are on board, ready to roll it out, I really doubt a relatively ‘bulky’ solution offered by iCache will catch on.

    Even those the buy it will eventually switch to a mobile phone that has an NFC chip inbuilt, thereby having to carry less items in their pocket.

    If there is once sure thing about consumer behavior, it’s that the easiest, most convenient solution is the one they’ll take up.

    Although lets forget VHS vs BETAMAX for a moment.

    See, with marketing it all comes down to one thing: Consumer need. This drives sales. The need for consumers is to store all their cards in a simple, secure location.

    iCache is not really that simple and acts only as another device to carry around. They should seriously consider cutting some deals with phone manufacturers if they want to get a decent market share.

    I’ve seen Deloitte work on a solution which offered something a bit different, yet could have heaps of potential. Their card has an inbuilt LCD screen (for security pins, etc). Yet it’s the size of a normal plastic card.

    If you could program one of those with multiple functions, that might be a better solution.

    Either way, I’m curious to see where these technologies go.

  4. dave says:

    I think they do have an RFID chip in their device – the iCache homepage says it will work with existing point of sale terminals including “traditional mag-stripe, contactless (RFID, NFC) and bar code readers.”

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