What if you could condense all of the credit, debit, membership, and gift cards in your wallet down to a single card? Companies like Apple and Google have tried to give us digital wallets, but nothing has really caught on. People still feel tied to their physical wallets.
Coin is a new product that became available for preorder today. It looks like a normal credit card at first glance, but Coin is much smarter than your average piece of plastic. A small display and a fancy magnetic strip let you choose from a range of your cards and memberships before paying.
A Square-like card reader attachment that ships with Coin plugs into your iPhone’s headphone jack. Using the Coin app, you swipe each card you want to add using the reader and take a picture so you can quickly recall which card is which if need be. After that, Coin communicates with your iPhone using low-energy Bluetooth and securely stores the data on the card.
You tap a small button on Coin to rotate through the cards you’ve added, and the small display shows you what you have selected with a nickname, the last four digits of the card, and its expiration date. Once the card you want is selected, you hand Coin over to be swiped as if it was the original card, and it supposedly just works.
I say “supposedly” because Coin is still being finished. Preorders are part of a crowdfunding campaign to raise 50K and get the word out, according to CNET. But if you preorder, Coin is promising that you’ll get a black (or “midnight”) color card in the summer of 2014. The Coin’s battery life is said to last two years, which is about the normal expiration date for credit/debit cards anyway.
There are tons of questions to still be answered about Coin, especially when it comes to security. Hopefully we’ll learn more as the team behind the product makes the final decisions in the months to come. One cool feature that was highlighted in the above video is that Coin checks in over Bluetooth with your iPhone. So when your phone and Coin card get separated, a push notification is sent to your phone letting you know you let your Coin behind.
Coin looks like it could be for normal people what Square is for merchants. We’ll see. If you’re interested, you can place your preorder now for $50. The price will double to $100 once preorders start shipping in the summer.