Basically, they work like iPass keyring fobs; you just wave it in front of the Dexit scanner at a participating retailer, and away you go. No PINs or swiping required. You can fill them up with a maximum of $100.
My first worry, solvency, as been largely mitigated. TD Canada Trust and the National Bank of Canada seem to be backing them financially, and both Telus Mobility and Bell Canada have marketing arrangements with them. They’re also pushing for an IPO.
The bad news: It’s still only supported by a small number of merchants, virtually all of them fast food joints, in and around First Canadian Place. However, Dexit is also cleverly supported at Ryerson and York cafeterias – captive young savvy audience, check!
There is also a price for the convenience. The tags are free, but it costs $1.50 per cash refill. In a world of no-fee Internet banking establishments, the question becomes one of utility. How much time do you really save? A few seconds of fumbling for change or punching in a PIN? Is that worth a minimum 1.5% on your purchases (assuming you refill a full $100)?
The ruggedness of the RFID tag itself is also dubious. Silverlotus’s Dexit tag has been banging around her purse for a couple weeks, and its lacquered label has already begun peeling off.