A brilliant concept here -- it'll be interesting to see how this performs in the marketplace. The device you are looking at is called icache. It's a thin wallet that contains a 'credit-card' that can mimic any of your cards. You select the card you want to use, and the mag-stripe is programmed with the needed information.
The data on the 'dynamic mag stripe' is overwritten by the next transaction, or expires.
Biometric security reduces the risk of having all your plastic in one place.
It isn't a hosted solution -- the biometrics and card data is stored with the consumer.
It requires no modifications at the merchant level -- one of the major barriers to a consolidated solution.
It works on contact-less units as well, such as RFID (which we'll be seeing a lot more of).
Icache wisely plans their initial roll-out via financial institutions, and will give them the opportunity to brand the device. I would assume the reason for this is to try to forestall some kind of defensive or competitive manoeuvre on the part of the banking community.
The company plans to migrate the technology to cell phones when cell-payment becomes more widely available.
This all seems really great, for a device that might sell for less than $100. It even has the cool-factor potentially going for it.
One major bit of fallout will be card branding.
Thanks to Business 2.0 for bringing this to my attention. "One card to rule them all", Sept 2007