Wallaby: The New Credit Card Spend Maximizer?

by on June 27, 2012 · 44 comments

in Credit Cards

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Yesterday I learned about an interesting new concept launching in beta form called the Wallaby Card. It’s from Wallaby Financial (part of the MuckerLab Accelerator project) and it supposedly is a single card that you can link to all your other credit cards and that will automatically register transactions with the appropriate card that you designate to maximize your travel points and cash back.

I don’t have too many details on Wallaby Financial just yet, but you can see its website hereMuckerLab is a company that mentors new startups and “accelerates” their launch by giving them the advice of professional mentors. As the site claims, “The Wallaby Card is one card to rule them all,” and will help consumers “swipe smarter” by linking all their cash-back and points-earning cards to a single Wallaby Card.

The Convenience Factor
No matter how much attention you pay and time you spend parsing out your spending habits (and reading The Points Guy, of course!), it’s still hard to make sure you’re maximizing earnings with various expenditures like dining out, online shopping, and staying on top of category spending bonuses.

The average American has over three credit cards, and most of those offer rewards of some sort. What Wallaby does is to connect them all in a “digital wallet” with a system that reviews each customer’s credit cards and directs spending that is swiped on the Wallaby Card to the credit card that will earn the most cash-back or points from a particular transaction, even for one-time and limited-time bonuses.

Consumers can link any US card including Amex, Discover, Mastercard and Visa to the Wallaby Card, which will work as a Visa, so it should be usable pretty much anywhere.

In the example Wallaby gives, if you use your Wallaby at a gas station to fill up your car, it will automatically charge the transaction to your card that would earn you double or triple points (or presumably 5x points in the case of the Chase Freedom Q3 bonus categories).

For those who want to take a more active role in how their spending is parceled out, they can turn off the card’s automatic mode and choose the option to designate what percentage of their overall spending should go to which card or cards, what their preferred earnings are—points, miles, cash-back—as well as dictating how certain items or categories such as restaurants or travel should be allocated.

There will be a mobile application that allows users to view their accounts and change their preferences at any time, as well as performing increasingly typical social media functions such as checking in on Foursquare and Facebook and “liking” a merchant where they have completed a transaction. The app will also show you daily, weekly and monthly updates on your points and cash-back, and point out nearby merchants where you can earn rewards.

The first 1,000 customers to sign up for the beta version of Wallaby will receive a lifetime membership benefit—it doesn’t specify, but I suspect it just means you’ll get the card for free. The next 5,000 individuals who sign up for the Wallaby wait list will get a fee-free card for 12 months. Everyone else will get 6 months free usage. After that, the card will carry a $50 annual fee. However, you can also apparently “move up the list” by Tweeting, Facebooking, inSharing Google +ing and Pinteresting the sign-up link.

Here’s a short video from the Wallaby homepage about how the card will work:

It’s hard to get into specifics now without actually having the card and testing out both the automatic and manual modes, but overall, this is a very intriguing idea. I like services that do some of the heavy lifting for you and consolidate your information in a single, easy-to-use place, such as AwardWallet. This service is also like Simple, which links your bank accounts into a single overview, only for credit cards.

It would also bear some personal testing, but on the surface, I really like the idea of a card that either automatically maximizes your spending, or that with your own thorough research, you can allocate all the various spending that you do to the top-earning card in each category, so no fumbling through your wallet to use the Chase Sapphire Preferred at a restaurant, but to purchase airfare with your Amex Premier Rewards card, or put your room bill on the SPG Amex if you’re at a Westin.

I also like the fact that since it’s not a new line of credit—simply an aggregation of your existing credit—there’s no credit inquiry and it won’t affect your score.

One of my main concerns, however, would be data security. By linking all your credit cards to the Wallaby Card, you’re handing over an awful lot of information, not only about your identity, but about your finances and spending habits as well, and there’s no way to know how Wallaby or any company it may affiliate with in the future will use that information. For instance, according to this Betakit article, one way Wallaby plans to make money is by allowing merchants to offer targeted deals to consumers based on their purchase activity and to let credit card companies and banks market their products (and upsell) to customers.

The other thing to keep in mind is whether that $50 annual fee is worth it. Even super conservatively valuing points at just 1 cent each, you’d have to earn at least 5,000 extra points by using Wallaby just to make it worth it. If you think you’d do that, then the $50 is more than paid for.

Overall, though, I think I’m going to give Wallaby a try both to test out the automatic and manual settings and report back, even though I’d like to think I’m pretty savvy at maximizing my credit cards- we all make mistakes!

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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  • Maxim

    The service is only as good as their algorithms to track of all current deals. EVRewards and others are doing something similar at the moment, but often don’t have the most up to date data.

  • Dave Op

    Great idea. Like Points Guy, I got security and privacy concern. I am sticking to my old fashion ways of carrying multiple credit cards.

  • Elyse

    If you haven’t signed up yet, use my link please!

  • Chirag

    Thanks to TPG for another very interesting post.
    Readers can also sign up using the link:

  • zasm

    Thanks TPG. What an amazing solution to an all too common problem! Sign up here:

  • Steve

    I wonder if it will be able to recognize foreign spend and know not to charge it to a card with a foreign transaction fee…

  • Mark Barbieri

    Interesting concept here, Wallaby is offereing a product that will aggregate all of your current credit cards into a single swipe. They are offering a two part value proposition to the consumer. 1) Reduce the size of your wallet to a single credit card and 2) automatically maximize rewards by designating each purchase to the optimal credit card. I wonder how the major banks will react to the fact that Wallaby will be effectively increasing their costs with the reward maximization.

  • purplnurpl

    Unless they have more resources (VC funding) to devote to accurate rewards records keeping (evrewards & others do not), it’s going to suck royally.

    Secondly, how do they handle personal promo rewards? That is something that will likely be a manual process.

    Here’s the best signup link so far:

  • Spencer W.

    And here’s a sign-up link:

  • Spencer W.

    I’ll be interested to see how they manage Visa vs MC vs AMEX, e.g. what if I’m at Costco where they only accept AMEX?

  • Rob

    This seems like a cool idea, but I am curious how they will be able to include american express, since the VISA fees the store will pay will be lower than the fees that AMEX would get on the same transaction.

  • Mighty Mouse

    Here is another sign up link… not sure if this is cool with Brian to post these links…. remove it if you are not happy Brian :).

  • thepointsguy

    Feel free to post!

  • Geoff

    Hopping aboard the link train! Try this one if you have any problems.

  • Edward

    Used this link. Here’s another:

  • PJ

    a friendly reminder: MAX out the Chase Freedom 5 % this quarter to end in 3 days…hope some people can realize it does not hurt to have more than ONE CHase Freedom card . I used up 3 cards and also $300 on Discover

    Buy Grocery gift cards at your favorite supermarket; you get double dipping if they sell you $1000 for $950 as in NJ Shoprite.
    Grocery gift cards can prolong your 5 % grocery onward or use gift cards to buy Gas gift cards at your favorite Gas Stations and pay CASH price.
    Some grocery stores let you buy LARGE ($500) VISA gift cards with $5.95 activation fees another way to get ~4%-5% off on your credt card shopping

    I did buy BP gas cards in NJ and my family use at ARCO in CA with ~10 % discount off their already cheap price..

  • Sweetz_21_83
  • pepsikrazy
  • JR

    I’m interested to see how well it does with rotating categories like on the Chase Freedom. It shouldn’t be too hard on bonuses that are constant, like Sapphire, but I could see it having trouble when the bonuses change.

  • Phil

    A fascinating idea. I like the idea, just curious how they can implement it and actually make money, but presumably they at least have a plan on that front. Would be curious to see their pitch to investors. Interesting also that they say the first 1,000 to reply get for free, but then when you register you get a referral link that states the more people you sign up the higher on the list you go. So not the first 1,000 but the 1,000 that get most sign ups?

    Oh well in which case here is my link!

  • Ken

    TPG, this is an interesting concept to have noticed and passed along rather quickly. I too would have major privacy concerns. I decided I would sign up and if I happened to be one of the first 1,000 I would consider registering. However if my SS# were requested I will pass. Assuming registration doesn’t ask for a social, I would then wait for others to test, not for it’s functionality but, for security concerns.

  • Nick R

    Very interesting idea. I thought I’d give it a shot. Here’s my link!

  • Stephanie

    Love this idea since I carry so many cards in my wallet!

  • Guest

    right but there, we are talking about adding PORTALs into the mix for additional cashback. I don’t see them doing that. Then again, they don’t need to.

  • Shaun

    Used this link. Please use my link!

  • Margie Dodd

    yet another link!! thx Brian

  • Ryan

    Used your link from below, please use mine:

  • Scott McMillan

    Lol then use the AMEX.

  • Scott McMillan

    TPG! Sounds cool, but do we have any idea if they will also take into account things like international travel. For example if I buy gas oversea’s with a rental car will it charge it to my AMEX with 3x points or to the Chase Sapphire Preferred with zero international transaction fee’s?? Thanks Brian

  • Scott McMillan

    Not sure if you move up just by posting or by people clicking but…

  • PJ

    3X -2.75% foregin exchange fees is well less than any 1% cards WITHOUT forgin exchange fees. in th 3rd quarter, Chase Freedom rebates 5% on Gas to net 2% after FX fees. THe champion card if you are lucky enough is THE DISCOVER CARD which is a no annual fees card which rebates 5 % in second quarter and 5 % on GAS and NO FOREIGN EXCHANGE fees .
    Discover has teamed up with Diner CLub International. get the personal PIN code before going abroad you will be hit with very pleasant 5 % rebate surprise.

  • Sajer Guy
  • James Weaver

    Used this Link. Please use mine:

  • Andy

    I still have a link that by accepting my referral a person can get 50,000 bonus points by acquiring Amex Platinum Card with all the previous benefits. I want other readers to take advantage of this offer.

  • Citi Cards

    innovation is the way to go here. with electronic transaction on the raise, chasing in on this credit card trend is very lucrative venture

  • Dean

    Remember, the first line of security with a CC is the clerk looking at the card. How many merchants will want to accept a card that does not have the normal logo on it? Also, I suspect that you will need to give them not only all your credit card numbers but also all the security codes.

    I think it is a great concept but the first time information gets hacked people will have major problems.

  • Scott

    Sounds really cool. try this link

  • Yigal Lalehzari

    Got u reffer me

  • Charles Clarke

    Interesting that the Walla.By card shown in the video is a ‘DEBIT’ card. With the lower fees allowed for debit cards, that would make the fee difference even worse than some others have commented on.

    I wonder how they handle chargebacks, disputes and fraud. Maybe that is why they are a debit card. Less protection there.

    Also, why will they need your SSN if they aren’t issuing you credit?

    Let us know your experience with them. Sounds too sketchy for me at the moment.

  • PJ

    i think you worry too much. Did you ever worry if paypal going to succeed ? i can envision it just have to set up the priority list CUSTOMIZED

  • Matt Morrison

    One more sign up link, if folks still interested…

  • cody

    Used yours: please use mine.

  • Anees Virani
  • Pingback: Amex Launches Rewards Reference Site | The Points Guy()

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