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Friday, November 15, 2013

Heard of "Coin"?

There's been a lot of buzz recently on a new card wallet called Coin.  When I first read about it, I was a bit skeptical that something like this would universally work for all purchases.  I'm always open to trying new things, but it seems like this idea might be a bit far-fetched. 

TPG recently broke down the details (and some concerns):

Now for the gritty details. As I mentioned, the actual card itself can only take 8 cards at once while the app can store an unlimited amount. That’s probably okay for most people, but for other points enthusiasts like me (I currently have 19 credit cards that all earn me points, miles and other benefits), that just won’t cut the mustard.

You can use the card as an ATM card, which is helpful, but it might not work outside the US and it won’t have EMV Chip technology. You also can’t use it for online purchases. When you are making a purchase online, the Coin mobile app can be used to reference your card details, but the Coin itself cannot be used directly for online payments.

Currently you cannot lock your Coin to prevent others from using it, but it will automatically deactivate if it loses contact with your phone for a period of time that you configure in the Coin mobile app. Your account is password protected and the mobile app requires that you type in your password before you can access sensitive card details as well.

Coins are designed to last for 2 years under normal usage (10-20 swipes per day) and do not need to be recharged. Once the battery dies you will need to replace your card. Coins are water resistant but not waterproof so if you accidentally take it swimming, time for a new card.

Each Coin will also cost you $50 for now, but the price goes up to $100 once a certain quantity are ordered, so only folks willing to pony up now are going to get it for half price. They will also get a referral code for $5 per referral up to 10 referrals, potentially taking care of their purchase cost. Referral orders be completed within 90 days of your own order to count.

Cards will not ship until the summer of 2014, so they’re not asking for your shipping information – the website justifies this by saying a lot can happen between now and then, like you move. Or Coin goes bust (my additional hypothetical).

Maybe I’m just too much of a doubter, but the fact that they’re asking you to pay a $50 fee and $5 shipping, but they’re not delivering the cards till the summer at the earliest doesn’t pass my smell test. Not only does it seem strange that you’d have to pay for a product so far in advance of getting it, but it seems to me like this is a bid to raise some venture capital through the $50 sign-up fees.

For all these reasons, I'm going to take a pass. $50 for a card that you won't actually have in hand for another 6 months???  Seems fishy to me.


  1. I don't want to have to pull out a special card. I want merchants to install Near Field Communications readers so I can tap my phone on them and pay that way. It's coming, Android 4.4 lets an app do this kind of thing, like for subway passes and library cards.

  2. Interesting...wonder how security is for it...