We're running pell mell into a future where you don't have to carry a bunch of credit and debit cards in your wallet — but we're not there yet. In the meanwhile, we've watched Apple and Google launch mobile payment systems that use your phone and Samsung launch one that can work with traditional card-swipe terminals. But while those big companies have tried to invent the future, a bunch of smaller companies like Coin, Swyp, and Plastc have tried to make the present better with universal credit cards. Now, according to a report from ETNews, LG is jumping into the same game.
A universal credit card is a compelling idea: you can virtually store all the plastic in your wallet in a single card, choosing the one you actually want to use with a simple interface. But while the idea is compelling, the execution hasn't been great so far. Coin, for example, had launch issues and had to send out a second version to its original customers.
LG has a short window to make this work
But a larger company getting into the game could be interesting. LG isn't exactly a behemoth, but it could have the resources to do a universal card right. LG's iteration appears to have the standard features: a low-power display to let you know which card is active, buttons to select them, and contacts to keep it charged up. It's reportedly going to be called the "White Card" (as in "White Label," I guess?), though the image above has "LG Pay" printed on it, so that's another possibility. It's expected to be announced later this month at MWC.
But even if LG makes the perfect universal credit card, it probably won't be a long-term solution. For one, those mobile payment solutions are getting more widespread — they're even coming to ATMs soon. For another, even people who use cards are eventually going to stop using that magnetic stripe and start using the secure element. Nevertheless, there is a small window of opportunity for LG, especially in the US, where more people still use the old swipe technology because we can't seem to get our act together and switch to chip-and-pin as quickly as we ought to.