Geode and iPhone plan to replace your wallet (Video)

Geode and iPhone plan to replace your wallet (Video)

Summary: iCache Geode wants to replace your wallet with an iPhone case -- and it just might work.


iCache's Geode iPhone wallet - Jason O'GradyOne of the Kickstarter projects that I'm most excited about is iCache's Geode, the smartest iPhone case than I've ever seen. In fact, calling it a "case" doesn't do it justice because Geode has the potential to replace your entire wallet.

At first blush I wrote Geode off as one of those silly iPhone cases with a pocket on the back to store a credit card or ID. Not the case.

Here's how it works:

Geode is an iPhone Appcessory that stores credit cards, loyalty cards, gift cards, and membership cards and protects the information with biometric security. The onboard universal card and e-ink barcode screen means that any card can be stored in the Geode and used anytime, anywhere.

1. GeoCard Geode comes with a universal GeoCard that's re-writable on the fly and can be used at any point-of-sale terminal. It can be reprogrammed to be your American Express, Visa, Exxon Mobile or any other credit card with a few touches. Then you simply swipe it at your merchant's terminal, sign and go. Need to it be Sunoco? Diner's Club? No problem, the GeoCard morphs into whichever one you want with a touch.

iCache Geode wants to replace your wallet with an iPhone case - Jason O'Grady

2. E-ink display A black and white (e-ink) screen on the back panel (above) displays the barcode from the affinity cards that you carry (grocery store, gym membership, library card, etc.) and is activated within the app. According to iCache, it chose an e-ink display for affinity cards because the vast majority of merchants still use laser barcode scanners which can't read a 1D barcode from a phone screen ("it is just a matter of physics").

iCache includes a detachable card reader - Jason O'Grady

3. Physical card reader To make card entry easier, iCache includes a detachable card reader (above in yellow) which plugs into the bottom of the Geode allowing easy scanning of store and credit cards. When you're finished just detach it and store it for safekeeping. Loyalty cards can be added by taking a photo of the barcode with iPhone's built-in camera.

Geode's biometric fingerprint scanner - Jason O'Grady

4. Biometric security Geode's biometric fingerprint scanner (just below the home button above) controls access to the app -- and your credit cards by extension. The Universal GeoCard has auto-timeout feature just in case you lose it.

The CardStar (free, App Store) app attempts to turn all your affinity cards into on-screen barcodes never really worked on my iPhone -- mostly due to outdated laser scanners at the retailers that I frequent (Staples, Home Depot, Ace Hardware, etc.) I usually end up handing over my iPhone to the clerk so that they can manually enter the numbers into the register. Several people told me that CardStar works every time for them, but I haven't been as lucky.

The Starbucks Card Mobile app (free, App Store) -- which had 26 million mobile payment transactions in 2011 -- scans every time, but that that's because Starbucks replaced all of its barcode scanners with new models that are more sensitive to 1D barcodes.

iCache recently added this update to its Kickstarter page:

Rest assured,

  • the Geode uses minimal power
  • the Geode cannot be used to Clone Cards
  • comes with everything you need to get going
  • enables merchants to verify the transaction
  • and we are putting in an iPhone 5 upgrade incentive exclusively for our kickstarter friends.

Here's the video:

Topics: Smartphones, Hardware, iPhone, Mobility

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  • Smoke Signals

    I want all you pioneers to get out there and see if you get any arrows in your backs. I for one will stay far away from any card that can morph into any of my other cards until at least a few million people have been walking around with them for a year or so without having their bank accounts cleaned out.
    Robert Hahn
    • No Arrows

      @Robert Hahn - Ok, then sign up. There are a few million people who have been using this technology in Europe and Asia. Not external device, built in. My phone had that when I was living in Japan. Came out in 2006. Nearly 6 years ago.
  • Incredibly Dangerous !!

    I will never let my credit cards out of my sight again.
    I give my credit card to a waiter/waitress, attendant or other seller. They go away - to the kitchen, back room, office or anywhere out of view - because that is where the register and swiping modem are. They swipe my card using iCache into their iPhone. Like magic - collecting credit card information has never been easier. Losing the Universal Card is the least of your worries.
    • Re: Incredibly Dangerous !!

      I can't remember the last time a waiter took my card away to a terminal, it's so long ago. Practically every restaurant I've been to in the last few years has wireless terminals that the waiter brings to the table.
      Having said that, I'm with Robert, I'll wait until the security has been proven. Besides, I don't have an iPhone. If I did, I certainly wouldn't wrap it in such a hideous case!
      • In Europe, maybe, not in the US

        In the US, they rarely use wireless pads to swipe your credit card.
  • There are things in the works that will make this device unnecessary

    Visa, for one, is working on full integration without an external device, as is Apple, perhaps together. I would assume MC and AMEX are doing the same.
    George Kriza
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