When Good Ideas Go Bad

What happens when a good idea, turned into a viable concept, comes crashing down? In October 2014, Plastc was unveiled. It was a progressive approach to credit card technology. The device — little more than an actual credit card — was designed to replace all of your existing cards, up to 20 different accounts. The single card held the information of the rest of your cards and you could switch between cards as needed. With a built-in e-ink screen, you could see which card was active and swipe.

The technology came with a price: $155. But that price didn’t get you Plastc card right away. In October 2014, the card was still a concept that needed crowdfunded support. Turning to social media, Plastc quickly found that support. About 80,000 people pledged $155 for the chance to get a card the following summer, in 2015.

In April 2017, Plastc filed for bankruptcy and closed its doors for good. After raising $9 million, Plastc delivered nothing. The creators behind Plastc say things fell apart behind the scenes. The company had expected another $3.5 million in funding from various sources by February 2017, but that didn’t happen. Then, they said they were on the cusp of another $6.75 million from an additional source. That too, didn’t happen.

Apparently, $9 million raised from the initial 80,000 backers was not enough. The card hadn’t even gone into production. None of those 80,000 had anything to show for their contribution. Many backers demanded a refund, but since Plastc revealed they were completely out of money, the chance of getting that refund was slim.

Interestingly enough, Plastc wasn’t the first smart credit card company to fail. Two other companies, Coin and Swyp, attempted similar concepts, but like Plastc, they left their customers and supporters with little or nothing.