The Victorinox SwissCard always looked like a gimmick to me at first. However, I got one, not for myself but as a gift for my sister. After spending some time with it and looking at all its features, I am convinced that Victorinox has managed to design a very attractive as well as a useful product.
Victorinox SwissCard is a credit card sized tool that comprises of all the typical tiny tools usually found in a pocket-sized Swiss Army Knife. Its flat card-like profile provides an alternative way of carrying all the necessary tools of a SAK in your pocket, purse, or even your wallet.
In fact, I was so convinced about the usefulness of the SwissCard that I got another one for myself. SwissCard is not so well known as the famous Swiss Army Knife. But after doing some research, I found that Victorinox has been making them for more than 20 years! And just like their SAKs, there are multiple models of SwissCards with slightly different toolsets (more about it later).
Build Quality, Size, and Carrying Comfort
The SwissCard is made of ABS plastic. Like anything made by Victorinox, the build quality is excellent.
The translucent nature of the plastic makes it easier to see the various tools embedded inside it.
All the tools it holds are made of Victorinox’s own variety of stainless steel, just as in all Swiss Army Knives.
In spite of its flat profile, the SwissCard does feel quite sturdy and rugged.
The thickness is somewhat equal to about four credit cards stacked together. It weighs around 25 gms.
When I first held the card in my hand, it looked like it is slightly shorter in length than a normal credit card. It is in fact, about 5mm shorter.
Later I found out that this is a clever design decision. As the card is thicker than a normal credit card, it would normally stretch out the card pockets in a purse or wallet. Designing the card slightly shorter makes it fit better.
The interesting thing is that the SwissCard is made in various colors. There are three main colors – red, blue and black. I have also seen one with a lighter blue color. I guess Victorinox, just like their SAKs, keeps coming out with special editions of the SwissCard in newer colors from time to time.
Actually, these punchy translucent colors are what made me think of it as an excellent gift item.
However, I should mention one thing here. The flat card-like design is excellent for carrying it in the front pocket of pants and shirts, or in a women’s purse. But if you want to tuck it in your wallet, make sure that your wallet is not already full.
It will make an already full wallet stiffer and you will not be comfortable sitting with the wallet in your back pocket. Under extreme circumstances, I won’t be surprised if the plastic cracks under your weight. Is this the reason why I never saw Victorinox specifically advertising the SwissCard as made for the wallet?
Tools in the SwissCard Classic
I got the model called the SwissCard Classic, and have used it on various occasions. I intentionally remove the small SAK (Victorinox Classic SD) from my keychain while carrying the SwissCard in my wallet ( yes, my wallet is quite thin so it fits the SwissCard perfectly).
First of all, the SwissCard models have more tools than most entry-level keychain SAKs. So if you are thinking whether you can get by with a SwissCard instead of something like a Victorinox Classic SD, yes you can. You will be using a SwissCard Classic more than a Vic Classic, just because it has more tools.
The SwissCard Classic has the typical tweezers and the toothpick, the most common scale tools you will find in any Swiss Army Knife. These are of exactly the same size as in any 58mm SAK. I don’t use the tweezers that much, but the little plastic toothpick definitely come in handy sometimes.
The nail file is also exactly the same as you would see in a 58mm SAK. The tip of the nail file can be used as a flathead screwdriver (2.5mm). The only difference is, of course, it can be completely separated from the SwissCard, unlike in a SAK.
However, the pen blade included in the SwissCard is significantly different from that of a SAK.
Compared to the pen blade in a 58mm SAK, this blade is slightly longer with a bigger belly, but also slightly thinner.
Looks like instead of using one of the blades usually found in the 58mm SAKs, Victorinox designed a completely new blade for the SwissCard. Victorinox is calling this blade an emergency blade or a letter opener.
The scissors design is another interesting thing in the SwissCard which differs significantly from a Swiss Army Knife.
The scissors are slightly larger than that in the 58mm keychain SAK, but smaller than what you get with a 91mm midsize SAK.
Also, since the scissors are completely removable, you may find it a bit awkward to hold them properly to cut something.
The scissors have a small handle with a hole in it. It looks like you are supposed to pass your index finger through the hole to hold it while cutting something. I found the hole too small for my fingers. It appears only a kid or someone with very thin fingers can use it this way.
However, this design does make the handle wide enough to hold it from the outside with a good grip. It will require a bit of practice to use the scissors properly. Apart from this difference in design, the scissors perform as well as any SAK scissors.
There is a pressurized ballpoint pen in the SwissCard. This is something that is only found in a select few 58mm or 91mm SAK. The pen is of the same variety that you will see in the 91mm SAK. It is always good to have an emergency pen with you always.
To find out more detailed information on the ballpoint pen found in certain Swiss Army Knives, you should read this article.
There is a straight pin made of stainless steel in the SwissCard. This is something only found in certain 91mm or 111mm SAKs which have ‘plus’ scales.
I think this is an interesting addition to the toolset. I saw my sister using the pin to eject the sim tray in her smartphone. I can think of a lot of other uses of the pin. For example, you can use it to dig out a splinter in your fingers.
Lastly, the SwissCard has ruler markings, centimeter marking on the front side, and inch markings on the backside. So you can measure up to 7.5 cms or about 3-inch length with it.
I found that the markings are sometimes hard to read without proper lighting as they blend in with the card.
Other Models of the Victorinox SwissCard
As mentioned before, apart from the SwissCard Classic, there are three other models of SwissCards available in the market.
This model has been retired now, but you can still find some of these online.
The significance of this model is that Victorinox introduced a new tool with this model, a four-way screwdriver, called the Quattro tool.
The Quattro tool is a flat piece of metal with 2 Philips screwdriver heads (#0 and #1-2), and two flathead screwdriver heads(3mm and 5mm).
The Quattro tool is quite effective as a screwdriver in normal situations. However, you have to keep in mind that it doesn’t have any length and hence doesn’t have much reach.
Though the SwissCard Quattro model has been discontinued, the Quattro tool found its way into other newer models of the Victorinox SwissCard.
As the name suggests, this model of the SwissCard has a battery operated LED flashlight.
It also has the Quattro tool and a magnifying glass. However, it does not have the nail file and the toothpick.
Earlier versions of the SwissCard Lite had a red LED. This has been replaced by a more powerful white LED in the newer versions.
The magnifying glass has 5x magnification, and for its size performs quite well.
The SwissCard Lite won the Red Dot Design Award – Red Dot Best Of the Best 2004, for product design.
This model, targeted at personal care, introduces a new tool, a glass nail file. It also has the Quattro tool and the magnifying glass.
However, it does not have the emergency blade and the nail file of the SwissCard Classic.
This SwissCard Nailcare also won the Red Dot Award for Product Design in 2015.
Feature Comparison among SwissCard models
If you are confused about which SwissCard model would be the right for you, have a look at the tool comparison table below. The SwissCard Quattro model has been omitted as it is not in production anymore.
|Features||SwissCard Lite||SwissCard Quattro||SwissCard Nailcare|
|Nail file with|
|Glass nail file||no||no||yes|
How is a Victorinox SwissCard different from a Victorinox 58mm SAK?
The tools of a SwissCard seem to perform almost similar functions as that of a 58mm keychain SAK. If you are confused about whether to get a keychain SAK or a SwissCard as your everyday carry tool, here are some pointers that can help you decide.
- The SwissCard can be carried in the wallet. Theoretically, you can carry a small SAK in the wallet perhaps, but it won’t be very practical.
- All the tools of the SwissCard are detachable. In the SAK, only the scale tools (tweezers and toothpick) are detachable.
- Some models of the SwissCard have some additional tools not found in a 58mm SAK (e.g. the Quattro tool, magnifying glass, the glass file).
Victorinox has introduced a completely different class of pocket tools with the SwissCard. It is a well thought out product, with good build quality, a useful toolset, and eye-catching colors.
Moreover, it provides an alternative EDC option to those who are not comfortable carrying a Swiss Army Knife in the keychain.
One interesting thing about the SwissCard is that you may be able to take it with you inside the flight while travelling by air.
Keychain SAKs (or any other SAK) are not allowed inside the cabin because of the knife blade. But in the case of the SwissCard, since the tools are removable, you can just remove the blade and keep it in your checked luggage, and then take the SwissCard with you.
I haven’t tried this yet, but one of my friends told me that he has done the same and his SwissCard was not confiscated by the airport security.
If you want to know more about multi-tools and airport security, this article will definitely give you all the answers you are looking for.
I have always been impressed with how a small Swiss Army Knife can fit so many useful tools. The Victorinox SwissCard just provides another option with a different look and feel, but similar functionality.