Chances are you’ve read about Coin, one of the most interesting new startups generating buzz around the net. Coin looks to slim up your George Costanza wallet filled with dozens of credit, debit, and membership cards. With Coin, all of those cards are combined into a single “smartcard” that can be used like a normal one.
Coin also uses Bluetooth to communicate with your smartphone via the companion Android (or iOS) app. Using the included card reader (similar to Square), the user can swipe in a total of 8 cards into Coin (app stores an unlimited number), while a tiny button and LCD display allow the user to cycle between cards, passing it off to a clerk for payment.
Since it was unveiled, the company has been receiving a ton questions from looky-loos, mostly involving Coin’s security. Today the company addressed security concerns in an online FAQ announcing a handful of new features that should help ease the minds of early adopters and potential buyers. Here’s some of the biggies:
- You can only swipe in credit cards you own
- Coin can be locked to a single card before handing it off to a waiter/clerk/etc. for payment
- Coin will use an “alarm” to alert the owner in the event it’s been swiped multiple times
- Coin will alert you when you’re no longer in its vicinity, deactivating itself over a longer period of time you specify in the app
- Coin will be compatible with ATMs
- Coin operates normally without your smartphone, but you lose certain Bluetooth-enabled security features
- Coin will most likely work overseas, but backup cards are recommended (doesn’t yet support EMV, but future versions will)
- Coins are water resistant, but not waterproof
- The battery will last approximately 2 years, after which it will “need to be replaced”
- The electronic stripe is beneath the surface, and will not wear out as quickly as traditional cards
And that should just about do it. For more fun questions and answers, head on over the Coin FAQ linked just after the video below. If you’re looking to pre-order a Coin for yourself, keep in mind that the introductory $50 price will soon rise to $100 on December 13th, so the clock is ticking…
By the time Coin is released next summer, we can’t help but wonder if another company will swoop in and steal their thunder. With the Google Wallet Card Who knows, maybe Motorola will introduce their implantable NFC chips by then. I’ll take 2.