The term smart wallet is not so much a descriptor of the wallet itself, but more a term used to describe the many different features that qualify a wallet as smart tech.
The rise in smart technology innovation has come a long way in recent years. The average cell phone now does more than what most of us would have ever imagined possible when we first got our hands on the old Nokia brick phones of the late 80s and early 90s. It was the dawn of the age of technology, and boy have we come quite a long way since those days.
Advances in both technology and fashion are constantly coming to innovate and change the way we look at and interact with our wallets.
Smart wallet technology covers an array of different features and options that are available. Everything from card locking slots to keep your cards secure inside the wallet, to RFID scanner blocking technology built right into the wallet frames, and even cards that provide tracking capability in the event of a misplaced wallet.
So, let’s ponder over these innovations in wallet tech and learn a little about what qualifies them to be labeled smart tech. At least a few of the many varying choices when it comes to the features you can get in a smart wallet. Whether or not they are even a consideration for you, it never hurts to learn something new, right? So, let’s jump in head first and see what we can find out.
Card Locking Slots
Most of the different varieties of smart wallets will feature some form of card locking mechanism inside the card slot. It will grip onto the cards in order to keep them from falling out and release them in a fanned out pattern for ease of access at the simple press of a release lever.
Of course, nobody likes the thought of having to contact the bank or card provider for a replacement and waiting around for it to finally appear in your mailbox via snail mail. If you’ve ever been unfortunate enough to have lost a card, you will know all too well what that can become. If not, ask around, and it's guaranteed you can find plenty of stories of utterly chaotic circumstances stemming from a lost card. That is why the card-holding design was one of the earliest features to come out in the realm of smart wallet tech.
With their ability to securely and firmly lock cards in place and have them fan out upon release, this is definitely qualified as a smart wallet feature. No longer will you be forced to fight the cards out of a sticky leather pocket that it has been pressed into only to find out that wasn’t even the right card, and then you have to go right back on the hunt for the one you need.
Organization meets security against loss in this feature. And it does so in such a way that you may begin to wonder why you ever bothered keeping cards in anything else.
RFID Blocking Technology
RFID chipped cards are the latest step in debit and credit card technologies. It is both faster and more reliable than the older magnetic stripe cards we are all pretty well familiar with using in times not far gone. Some will remember them as not much more than a necessary evil that rarely wanted to cooperate and once got erased by a speaker magnet.
With RFID chips, the days of repeated swiping are gone. However, they do present their own unique challenges in the way of remote access to the chips made into the cards. The chips are activated through electromagnetic fields, which cause them to send out the information stored inside the chip to be picked up by radio antennas in the chip reader.
The problem is that the electromagnetic field can be reproduced and even amplified to reach up to several feet away. So, a scammer could activate your cards and use radio scanners to pick up the information, just like you were using it at a store. But, the card never even has to leave your pocket, nor will the scammer ever have to come within arm’s reach of you to take the highly sensitive information right out from under your nose.
So, wallet makers have employed what is known as RFID blocking technology to combat this type of remote theft. Simply put, it is a conductive metal cage, either made in one solid piece or with a metal mesh design that absorbs any nearby electromagnetic signals and diverts them around whatever is inside the cage.
In this case, it’s your credit or debit cards. Once the electromagnetic field has been blocked, the cards cannot be activated, thereby effectively locking them down simply by placing them inside an RFID blocking wallet.
One of the most recent inventions to enter the world of smart wallet tech is the tracking card. These are ultra-slim cards that aren't much thicker than the average credit card that will allow you to locate your wallet if you misplace it somewhere.
Some tracker cards are built directly into the wallet, while some of them are not only removable, but they have solar charging pads built right into them, totally eliminating the need for yet another charger you have to keep track of and plug up when it needs. With these, you could simply lay it on the dash of your car or in the window sill in your home or office, and within hours, it will have enough charge to operate the tracking card for months to come.
In the event of a lost wallet, you would have a connected app on your phone that would allow you to connect to the tracking card via Bluetooth and trigger the card to vibrate and sound an alarm to help find the wallet.
You just have to be within range for the Bluetooth. But some of the apps will periodically send the last known GPS coordinates of the tracker to the phone app, helping you pinpoint the location of your missing wallet.
Some of them even have the capability to send a signal from the card to your phone via the app, which will allow you to find your misplaced phone, as well. There aren’t many things that can ruin a man’s day quite like losing their wallet and all the valuable things carried inside. But, with a tracking card in your wallet, it becomes nearly completely unloseable.
The List Could Go on for a While…
With all the current smart tech in wallets, this list could go on and on.
Even minimal speculation could figure out what is likely coming next in this rapidly advancing area where fashion meets technology to better serve a vital role in organizing and protecting the cards we all carry and use on a daily basis. The possibilities for future smart wallet technology are nearly endless and most certainly inevitable.
So, if you are in the market for a new wallet and are considering possibly trying something new, with so many different optional features, a smart wallet could definitely be a smart choice to make. And if you’re looking for a contender that’s ahead of the competition, check out Ekster for the smartest wallet out there.