Coin – Is this the one credit card to rule them all?

coin

How many credit cards, debit cards, membership cards and gift cards are crammed into your wallet? If your answer is more than 2, the Coin card could reduce your total number of cards down to just one. Coin looks like a regular credit card and can be swiped used and swiped just like a regular card. But that’s where the similarity ends. You can program Coin with your smartphone to hold the data of up to 8 of your existing cards. Then using the button and small LCD built into the card, you just choose the card you want to use and then swipe it. Done. It even alerts you if you accidentally walk away from it. Coin features 128 bit security and is designed to last for 2 years under normal usage and does not need to be recharged. However, once the battery dies you will need to replace your Coin. You can pre-order one right now for $50, which is a 50% discount over the normal price of $100. Availability is set for the summer of 2014 and you’ll be charged immediately upon pre-ordering. It’s an interesting idea, but I’m not sure about being charged now and having to wait close to a year before receiving it. What do you guys think?

Posted in: Miscellaneous, News

{ 22 comments… add one }

  • Huy November 23, 2013, 10:12 am

    Sounds like they don’t have the funds to back it up. Traditionally in business, you bill/charge when ownership of the product change hands (when you ship it).

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  • Julie Strietelmeier November 23, 2013, 10:16 am

    @Huy It seems like they are doing their own crowdfunding project without going through Kickstarter or Indiegogo.

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  • Bob November 23, 2013, 10:54 am

    One hundred dollars seems extreme to replace a credit card, a debit card and four loyalty cards. Key ring on my phone (free) takes care of all the loyalty cards. Will the Coin card work in my ATM???

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  • John Selden November 23, 2013, 12:04 pm

    I’m going to take a wait-and-see approach. There are still stores that want to see a picture ID when you buy something, to compare the names, signatures, etc. There’s no signature or pre-printed name on the Coin, so I can see an uninformed sales clerk refusing to make the sale. If a person has never seen or heard of this, that person could be forgiven for thinking the Coin looks suspicious.

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  • eClipse November 23, 2013, 12:41 pm

    Wait and see for me, too.

    First, this seems like a way to make fraud easier, even if that’s only the perception, it will slow adoption.

    If actual there’s money in it, then every other CC house will want to consolidate “other” into something from them, including handy “convenience” fees. Considering that the CC houses lose brand recognition when their number is on a plain blank card, I don’t see why they’d even want to allow this.

    And with NFC and other mobile payment options, I’d prefer to lose the cards all the way then add another piece of potentially flaky tech to my pocket.

    I’ll always have a phone or other smart device for the foreseeable, but don’t always carry my wallet.

    Lastly, at $25 per year replacement cost, their third year churn is going to be off the charts.

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  • chriszzz November 23, 2013, 2:23 pm

    Many countries (actually, most of the world outside the US) already use EMV chips (smart chip supported by Mastercard, Visa, Amex, and others) on credit cards instead of the magnetic strip to combat fraud ( magnetic strips are too easy to clone).

    The US is moving to EMV in 2015-2017, making this card moot by then. I wonder if the makers of this card have a plan when this happens.

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  • poqeteer November 23, 2013, 8:44 pm

    @eClipse: Actually I believe the cost after the first 2 years, with this deal, is going to be ~$50 per year ($100/~2 years, the approximate life of the battery card, the battery cannot be replaced). So the profits after the first couple of years is going to be really obscene.

    One of my concerns, which I guess they addressed, was the possible ease that a waiter/waitress could easily steal all the numbers off the Coin because the button to change the card doesn’t lock. Seems you can lock it to one now. Still I don’t think the benefits of one of these things out weighing the cost.

    I’ve managed to trim my card load to just 3 credit cards, my license and insurance card, so 5 cards total. It all fits nicely in my Koyono slimmy wallet.

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  • Nick November 24, 2013, 9:37 am

    Security is not high enough and old…. Sorry, nice try! Come back with a chip on your shoulder…

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  • Anson November 24, 2013, 10:43 am

    @julie- I’ll let you know after mine arrives ;)
    It’s a bit of a shame that this first-gen won’t be “chipped”… I find the Canadian market is a bit more advanced in this department. When making a credit card purchase nowadays in Toronto, many merchants and restaurants accept “paypass” enabled tap-to-pay – versus the old-fashioned swipe and sign method.

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  • Julie Strietelmeier November 24, 2013, 11:06 am

    @Anson I look forward to hearing your thoughts.

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  • Swapnil November 24, 2013, 11:11 am

    Earlier I had a concern about skimming of data, but now apparently the app tells you how many time your card was read. So you would eventually know if it was used somwhere else ! moreover now they are offering a morse code style pwd which you need to click after you select a card so that the waiter cannot cycle through other cards !

    Pre order one now !
    https://onlycoin.com/?referral=wX0z9AEU

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  • Betty Widerski November 25, 2013, 7:48 am

    I already ordered one, before @Swapnil so sorry I couldn’t use your affiliate code. That’s another part of pre-order: when they give you a personal referral code (mine is https://onlycoin.com/?referral=flSDNToi ) that credits buyers with $5 off for each successful referral up to the $50 pre-paid. So if you have a lot of geek friends who think this is cool you can potentially get yours for free.

    Yes, it’s a self-crowdfunded project – I also paid in advance for the Automatic car data port device (http://www.automatic.com/), so was willing to try that again for this. But unless they upgrade to a chip as well (which may be harder to self-program – for the mag strips they will give you a swiper, presumably something like a Square or Paypal device that plugs into your smartphone, to load in your cards) I probably won’t renew when the battery fails.

    Also, re no signature or image: as part of the loading process you also take photos of the front & back of your real cards. So presumably you could use the smartphone app to show those to a business that wants to check your signature.

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  • Brad November 25, 2013, 8:40 am

    I agree about putting money down for something that is not out on the marrket. What about security if its lost pr stolen?

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  • Jack Schmidt November 25, 2013, 8:40 am

    What would stop a waiter/vendor/whatever from swiping the card and storing it on their “coin” card to use later?

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  • Janet Cloninger November 25, 2013, 11:27 am

    @Jack Schmidt Nothing stops waiters/vendors/whatever from swiping your card now and using it later. They just have to work a bit harder to make a copy onto a card they can use, but they can easily just type the info in at an online store, as some jerk tried to do with my husband’s card a few years ago.

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  • Jayden November 25, 2013, 8:46 pm

    Hope that you never have to leave the safety of your country. Most places in the world would just refuse that card point blank.

    Australia hasn’t used mag-stripes for maybe 3 years now.

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  • Charles November 26, 2013, 10:23 am

    I may be the eternal pessimist but what is to keep them from walking away with your money. Most credit cards allow you dispute charges for 60 days but in this case, you won’t know that you didn’t get it until well after that.

    They don’t even want your shipping address “because it might change” – I guess their system isn’t sophisticated enough to allow customers to log in and update information.

    Since they don’t give an exact shipping date, perhaps they are hoping that customers “forget” about the pre-payment – assuming the company is still around in 2014.

    I wonder if the BBB would give them an “F” like they did for mygallons in 2008.

    That’s totally aside from the fact that many vendors would just look at the “card” and say “that’s nice, let’s see a real card now”.

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  • t November 26, 2013, 5:52 pm

    Nobody is bringing up that without the Visa/MC/Disc/Other Brand Logo, merchants aren’t required to take your card, and are even highly cautioned against taking any cards without the proper security features. Also a card that stores actual raw Track data? that violates PCI standards…

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  • Charles November 26, 2013, 8:15 pm

    @ t

    Right, if I was a vendor I’d look at that electronic card like thing and say “I don’t know what that thing is, but I won’t swipe it on my system.”

    I’m sure that MasterCard and Visa will have something to say about that too.

    Additionally, I don’t see any security features to hide the card information so if you lose this thing all your card info is exposed.

    People don’t seem to think of the unintended consequences and pitfalls of designing or buying some of these harebrained ideas.

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  • Anson November 26, 2013, 8:30 pm

    @charles-
    Many of your security concerns seems to have been addressed by the company. They have a Q&A section on their website.

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  • Anson November 26, 2013, 8:39 pm
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  • Charles November 26, 2013, 10:13 pm

    @ Anson

    I suspect that you linked to the Q&A (I don’t click on unknown links) but right now all of this sounds like wishful thinking.

    I’ll be curious what you think when/if you ever get it.

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