If you are reading this, chances are you shop on the Internets, and unless you've been living under a rock, you know that the Internets is a series of tubes infested with ebil hackers who wants to jack your stuffs. Enter the SmartSwipe, a tiny black plastic Personal Credit Card Reader and Secure Online Shopping Assistant complete with excessively bright blue LED lights. But enough conjecture,
Immediately upon opening the box I found one extremely comforting thing "“ a single CD-sized piece of paper with a three step installation process. Seriously, it's Barney friendly "“ Step 1, go to their website and download the install software "“ reboot. Step 2. Plug the USB cable into a USB port (duh!). Step 3. Start shopping online and follow onscreen prompts "“ swipe card, etc, That's it!
So what does this little plastic dongle really do for you that makes you safer from the ebil internet haxx0rs? Well for starters since you never actually enter your credit card info, even if you’ve got some evil keystroke capturing cootie on your system, the ebil haxx0r behind it will never see your credit card info. In addition to that, your data is encrypted and that's pretty cool.
The first time you open the Internet Explorer, after installing the SmartSwipe software and hardware, you are greeted with a their popup that reminds of the three simple steps of using SmartSwipe:
1. Shop – shop online at all of your favorite websites.
2. Click – when a website asks for your credit card number click the SmartSwipe button on your toolbar (this is important).
3. Swipe your credit card and follow the on-screen prompts.
There is a “Don’t show this again” check box, and a couple of help links to help you ease into the process. The whole process of having to enter your credit card info becomes less painful, you do it once and allow the SmartSwipe to remember it and it will fill in the credit card info for you – I tried it on Buy.com, Amazon.com, and Pricegrabber.com and it worked flawlessly. Also, some of the information normally exposed on the screen, gets removed by SmartSwipe replaced with blanks and little lock pictures.
On a somewhat negative side, SmartSwipe only works with Microsoft’s Internet Explorer, a browser which I use for about five percent of my web browsing – Mozilla support would have made this a much more functional device for me. On the whole, SmartSwipe still makes a good gift for that naggy relative or friend who constantly gets cooties "somehow" and still shops online.