Remember all of those digital wallet smart cards? These were devices that looked like regular credit cards but were capable mimicking all of your cards so that you could carry just one. That was the promise anyway. But EMV technology has proven to be a huge hurdle to the promise. Terminals that required EMV chips did not work with these cards. And one by one each of the companies that promised these cards has gone out of business. Most have simply said that those who placed pre-orders were out of luck. The money is gone. Sorry. One company, though, has gone in a different direction…
SWYP offers Hoot Debit Card
Like the others, SWYP has given up on the promise of the single all-in-one digital wallet card. But SWYP emailed everyone who pre-purchased SWYP and gave them a choice: they can wait and get their new Hoot Debit Card or they can request their money back. For those who get the debit card, they say they will deposit the original pre-purchase amount to their debit account after 3 months of use. In other words, they are promising to give everyone their money back either way.
There’s very little information here about the Hoot Debit card. Will it offer any interesting manufactured spend capabilities? Probably not, but we’ll see.
For most people, I think the smart move is to request your money back. In my case, I’m curious. What will this new debit card do? I’m going to wait and see what I get.
Here is the email I received from SWYP in its entirety:
Dear SWYP Supporters,
As we head into summer, I would like to provide an update on SWYP and introduce you to the new product I alluded to in the winter update. As noted in that update, the transition to EMV (chip and signature) has been particularly challenging for the SWYP product, but I am happy with the new direction we have chosen. Your continued support is what keeps us going and we hope to delight you with the new product soon.EMV Transition
As most of you know, the US transitioned to EMV towards the end of 2015. Roughly a third of merchants now require chip cards to be inserted instead of swiped. While the SWYP platform was designed to allow consolidation of EMV cards, the networks have been reticent to provide us the regulatory approvals to do so. This is not a technical problem. Issuers and networks do not benefit from SWYP the way customers (such as you) do, and are thus not supportive.
While our competitor is leading their customers on with the promise of consolidated EMV, I will be transparent with you in stating that it is highly unlikely that we (or our competitor) will get the regulatory approvals from network brands. It is a disappointing, yet pragmatic, conclusion our team has reached after more than 3 years of negotiations with these financial behemoths.
We were hoping to commence shipments this month, but with the regulatory approvals not coming though, I regret to inform you that we have made the difficult decision of discontinuing the SWYP product. The team strongly felt that with 30% (and growing) of the merchants requiring EMV, the product experience would not live up to the original promise of seamless consolidation. In all honesty, we truly believed that we would be able to achieve what others in this space could not, and sincerely apologize for falling short.
SWYP cards tested and ready to be shipped.
But, all is not lost. We have been able to leverage the incredible technology developed for SWYP to create a new one-of-a-kind product. We are proud to announce that we have partnered with a bank in the US to bring this exciting new product to market in the coming months.
Hoot is an uber-smart debit card backed by a powerful AI-based app that makes budgeting easier than ever. Hoot is a digital bank that uses advanced AI-based algorithms to help you manage your finances effortlessly, without ever having to step into a physical branch.
The Hoot Card is the first ever debit card that digitally displays progress and alerts related to your spending on the surface of the card. You can personalize the Hoot Card at with any image of your choice through the convenience of the delightfully simple Hoot App.
We plan to launch the product next month with more details to come on www.hootbank.com.
As early supporters of SWYP, we will apply your pre-order to this new product and place you in front of the shipping list. As a token of our gratitude, we will also deposit the full pre-order amount back into your account after the first three months of using your Hoot Card. In short, the Hoot Card will be free for you!
If you have friends and family who may be interested in Hoot, please ask them to register their email addresses at www.hootbank.com. We will prioritize their orders ahead of everyone who orders after the public launch of the website next month. They may also be eligible for certain incentives available only to the earliest customers of Hoot.
If you choose not to continue the journey with us, you can apply for a full refund, no questions asked. Just send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org with your full name, order confirmation number, and original email address. We highly encourage you to apply for refunds within the next 15 days. As you may have heard, our payment processor Tilt has ceased operations resulting in the refund process taking longer than usual. All refunds now have to be manually processed by our customer service agents via PayPal or mailed check and may take up to 6-8 weeks to process. We sincerely apologize for this inconvenience.
While we fell short of our goal, I am extremely proud of what the team has achieved in development of the SWYP product. It has been a long road for us all and we would not have made it this far without the continued support of our backers. We are really excited about Hoot and hope to delight you with its unique product experience shortly.
Ashutosh DhodapkarFounder & CEO