With so many credit cards, debit cards or loyalty cards in your wallet, how about a card-of-cards to hold them all? That's exactly what a start-up called Coin is offering.
The card in question is the size of a credit card, contains a small digital display, and stores the data from up to eight credit, reward or other cards. A button under the display allows the user to select which of the Coin-stored cards to use, and then the Coin card, which has a magnetic strip, can be swiped and used just as any of those cards can be.
To enter all those cards, there's a card-swiping dongle that attaches to the headphone jack on an iOS or Android phone or tablet. A user swipes a credit or other card, takes a photo of the front and back of the card to record which one it is, and types in card details. This data, stored in the app, is then transmitted via Bluetooth to the Coin card. If desired, a user could swap in or out of Coin any eight of the unlimited cards on the app. Coin is not designed, however, to store identification cards, such as a driver's license.
'Like Your Wallet'
Founder Kanishk Parashar told Forbes magazine that people don't need eight cards on every day, so "your phone is kind of like your drawer, and your Coin is kind of like your wallet."
If a user forgets the Coin card on, say, a restaurant table, a Bluetooth signal pings your phone to let you know your mega-card has been left behind. If the Coin card loses contact with the phone for a preset length of time, the card will deactivate itself. If the phone itself is lost, the Coin can be re-paired with another phone, once the mobile app has been installed and logged into.
Unlike so many digital offerings, the Coin card is not free -- or cheap. It goes for $100, although the company is selling the card to early adopters for $50. Pre-orders, which have raised about $50,000 in crowdfunding, will not be filled until next summer.
Two Years Lifespan
Expected lifespan of a Coin is up to two years with normal usage, and the battery does not need to be recharged during that time. But, once the battery dies, Coin needs to be replaced.
The company says it will work anywhere in the U.S. where cards are accepted, including dip-style card readers and ATMs, but it does not yet work in all cases outside the U.S.
One potential pitfall to the company's hopes would be a broader adoption of smartphone-based mobile payments. After all, if you can swipe all of your credit and other cards through a dongle into an app on a smartphone, why do you need to then have the physical Coin card at all? The logical step might be simply to store and use all your cards in your smartphone for mobile payments.
Posted: 2013-11-22 @ 12:11pm PT
Earlier I had a concern about skimming of data, but now apparently the app tells you how many times your card was read. So you would eventually know if it was used somewhere 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!
Posted: 2013-11-18 @ 5:51am PT
I want one as soon as possible please let me know how can I get one of these.
Posted: 2013-11-17 @ 4:43pm PT
@Carlos, @ Ray: Looks like Coin is only being offered in the US for now.
@Michael D: The FAQs on Coin's website say: You will accumulate points or rewards exactly the same way as with your plastic card.
You can check out the FAQs at:
Posted: 2013-11-17 @ 4:36pm PT
When are they going to be released in Australia?
Posted: 2013-11-17 @ 10:55am PT
What about air line miles one normally obtains by purchasing on a traditional card. Will this feature somehow continue to work?
Posted: 2013-11-17 @ 12:16am PT
When are they being released in Australia?