Science and Tech


Single 'Coin' Card Replaces All Your Credit, Debit Cards

Coin is a smart card that stores your credit and debit card information, so all you have to do is select which one to use and swipe.
Posted at 3:03 PM, Nov 15, 2013

You might have a credit card, debit card, membership card, gift card, business card, rewards card — and, yes, another credit card — cluttering your wallet. But how about a card card?

Let me explain. This is Coin. It's a smart card that keeps all those other cards in one place. (Via Coin)

"And I can pay for stuff with any of them. I'm going to use the personal card for this."

Thanks to a small readout and button, Coin users can select debit, credit or whatever they choose before a purchase. The smart card swipes just like the ones you're used to, so there's no change for your server. 

And don't worry, NBC writes, "It's not going to tick off your bank — they won't even notice, for one thing, and Coin checked ahead of time to make sure this whole process is legal and approved."

And getting cards into Coin is as easy as paying for groceries.

Just plug in this Square-looking device and swipe. Coin pulls your info off the card. You can then take a picture so you'll know which card it is on your phone. (Via Coin)

If having all your info on one card is concerning, Coin's CEO tells The Verge, "An online wallet holds your information, and we're just like that, but on the ground."

Still, Coin has a couple security features. It's constantly syncing with your phone via low-energy Bluetooth.

So when you inevitably leave the card behind somewhere, you'll get a push notification telling you of your mistake. And if you're away for too long, Coin deactivates entirely. (Via Coin)

Seems convenient — until it's not. A writer for Quartz points out the problem with Coin's reliance on your smartphone.

"In those odd moments that you find yourself with a dead phone battery, [Coin] ceases to function. … Late at night, when you need to pay a cab, tow truck, restaurant bill or whatever else you need to get you back to a place where you can charge your phone again."

But a writer for Slate doesn't see that as a problem. Instead, he thinks the issue is that Coin is a "stopgap technology." Sure, Coin consolidates, but unlike Google Wallet, it still relies on the traditional method of payment: swiping a card.

Still, the company thinks that's the right play.

Much in the way Square upgraded the card reader, Coin is trying to upgrade the card — something people already know how to use.

Coin is currently available for pre-order on its site. A limited quantity are available for $50. Otherwise, the card will cost $100 and start shipping in summer 2014.

We're looking at you, guy with the George Costanza wallet. Think about it. (Via NBC)