Saturday, June 02, 2012

Vitaband: Innovator or just another copycat?

Is Vitaband really something new?  Something better?

Vitaband is a wristband that has a Visa prepaid debit chip from Bancorp and that is accepted by 7-11 and other merchants.  It is targeted at runners so that you don’t have to carry around cash or a physical card if you want to stop and grab a Gatorade.  You can also load up your ID and medical data in case you get into an accident or other medical condition that renders you unconscious – the EMT responding on the scene can call a phone number on the back and access the info. 

The start-up is already thinking of expanded their target market to kids, the elderly or other customer groups that could benefit from something like this.  The identity info and medical info would be useful to just about anybody at some time. 

But what I want to know is whether this is new or not?  It seems like half a dozen of these have come out over the past year or so.  Would I invest or take a chance on a startup that is reinventing the wheel? 

I also wonder if they have their privacy and security solid.  Prepaid debit means the only risk is the money that was loaded, so that isn’t too bad.  But what about medical info and identity?  All someone has to do is see the phone number on the back.  It can’t require a password or the EMT is out of luck as well.  Personally I am not a big worrier about this one, but I know lots of other people are.