Clinkle homepage

After more than a year of buzz, Clinkle finally unveiled its first product Tuesday with a quiet launch on its website. 

It’s a prepaid Visa card.

And an app.

You read that right.

What happened to Clinkle’s rumored (but plausible) idea of using high-frequency transmissions to communicate with payment terminals? Missing in action. 

See also: Here’s A Heavy Dose Of Reality For New Payments Startup Clinkle

What on earth were Clinkle’s engineers working on during their recent hackathon? We have no idea, but it sure doesn’t show in this product.

It’s not an Apple Pay killer. It’s not a Square killer. It’s not even a Google Wallet killer. It may well, however, be a Clinkle killer.

It’s at best—if you’re feeling really generous—a competitor to American Express’s Serve card, minus the customer support, brand, trust, and marketing power. Or Visa Buxx—remember Visa Buxx?

Clinkle pairs its extremely standard prepaid debit card with a goofy, gamified app, which lets you earn rewards and share them with friends.

Clinkle also manages a whopper of a lie on its homepage, claiming that “we’re not into fees.” In very fine print underneath, Clinkle discloses that it does in fact charge fees for loading money onto Clinkle cards via credit or debit cards.

Oh, and if you decide that Clinkle is far from the revolutionary payment product we were promised a year ago, and want to close your account and get your money back? That will be $20, please.

A small price to pay for closing the chapter on this ignominious failure to innovate in payments.

Lead image courtesy of Clinkle