Most of you read my Maximizing What's in Your Wallet articles that I put out each quarter. For a person like me that carries 8 credit cards at a time and has 2 others in a drawer that I use occasionally, the article serves as a way to organize my thinking in order to maximize my rewards. There's a lot of cognitive energy I put towards this goal. But, what if you could have just 1 credit card that was linked to all your other cards, and it knew every reward detail of every card such that when you swipe the single card it would automatically route your transaction to the best rewards possible. This is what a new company called Walla.by is offering.
It's still in the beta version, but I signed up immediately to find out more details (just name and email required). SIGN UP HERE
Here's my early read:
- It's mindless. If you trust Walla.by and it does what it says it will, the you are going to free up some serious brain space.
- There's no hard pull on your credit to get the card.
- In this beta version, it's free for the first 6 months. There's no reason not to try it out really.
- What once belonged to the few will now belong to the masses.
- More people will sign up for credit card rewards programs because it's easier to get the rewards. This will put pressure on credit card rewards,.
- Everyone using Walla.by will be maximizing rewards. Walla.by rightly points out that lots of people fail to maximize their rewards. The problem is once they do start maximizing their rewards, this will again put pressure on credit card rewards.
- A $50 annual fee
- This is too high for many people to adopt based on their spending habits.
- If you are already maxing your rewards, the last thing you are interested in is someone skimming off any of your rewards dollars. You're going to lose a lot of target customers this way.
- This fee will force Walla.by to be a niche product. It will end up with limited influence and a small user base. I would not invest in a company with this business model. I don't think they understand their consumers well enough yet.
- There are still some outstanding questions:
- Say we have a tie between the Sallie Mae 2% VISA and the Fidelity Investment Rewards AMEX (also at 2%). Sallie Mae has a transaction period ending tomorrow while the new period for Fidelity has just started. Ostensibly by choosing the Fidelity card, my payment for the merch would be deferred by almost 30 days allowing me to collect more interest in my savings account during that period. Will Walla.by choose correctly based on this?
- How does it handle reward limits? Does it recognize when you have maxed out on restaurant rewards on Discover for the current quarter?
- What about bonuses like PenFed's 10% cash back travel rewards bonus this quarter that requires certain spending limits? Does it know through your prior spending habits that there is no way you're likely to spend enough to earn that so it routes the transaction accordingly or does it automatically try for the max reward?
What are your thoughts? Does the Walla.by card have a place in your wallet? I'd love to hear from anyone already using this card.