Coin answers pressing questions about security, durability, and longevity of their upcoming smartcard


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.

Coin black

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.

Coin FAQ | Coin pre-order (referral link)

Chris Chavez
I've been obsessed with consumer technology for about as long as I can remember, be it video games, photography, or mobile devices. If you can plug it in, I have to own it. Preparing for the day when Android finally becomes self-aware and I get to welcome our new robot overlords.

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  1. I’m not so sure about this. As a business owner I check credit cards for their authenticity by the shiny logo, ask for ID, and make sure their signature matches. Debt cards since they require a pin I don’t ask to see. Credit Card fraud is real and I have been a victim of it at my previous employer. While this sounds great for the consumer I don’t see many businesses wanting anything to do with this.

    1. If the card isn’t in BT range of your smartphone it won’t work. I think this is far more secure in regards to fraud than a traditionally stolen credit card.
      That said, I carry two cards and have no interest in this.

      1. The card won’t work IF you have it tethered to your phone with the security on. You can turn the lock off and have it work without the phone like a traditional credit/debit card

    2. You bring up an excellent point: you lose the ability to see if the card within the Coin is fraudulent. Coin could be used to store stolen numbers.

      While techie consumers might like the idea, what will the acceptance be like from businesses? There’s a big difference between it working and it being accepted. If a Coin isn’t accepted where you wish to use it, what good is it?

      1. Coin will NOT let users upload cards to Coin that doesn’t match their personal info (billing address) so no stolen cards being used

  2. I’d rather get the free Google wallet credit card. Lose the screen but still have the same ability to select your card prior to checkout.

    1. same here I have using Google wallet I just like one provider handle my credit card. my S4 can use Google wallet now I haven’t used NFC yet hope to try it soon.

    2. I have heard that the Google Wallet uses the funds in your account and not your cards in Wallet. That only happens via the app and NFC. I could be wrong though.

    3. That was the original concept of Google Wallet Card, but not the case anymore. It will ONLY draw from your Google Wallet balance

      1. And what makes you think something that even Google can’t make work, a kickstarter project can? As soon as credit card companies say that transactions involving coin are not protected, no one is going to use them for financial transactions anymore.

        1. I’m not saying that it can’t be done, I’m saying right now that’s not like they originally said

  3. No where in the FAQ it says the card can be locked. In fact the FAQ states that the card CANNOT be locked. This is the major issue preventing me from getting one.

    Q. Can I lock my Coin?
    A. Currently you cannot lock your Coin, but you don’t have to. Coin will automatically deactivate if it loses contact with your phone for a period of time that you configure in the Coin mobile app.

    1. I’m assuming they haven’t updated the FAQs yet

  4. What if you had many cards in your Coin and when you selected the ‘business’ card to pay something, the cashier changed it to your personal card and charged it there? HOW ABOUT THAT?!

    1. Have you tried reading ?
      Coin can be locked to a single card before handing it off to a waiter/clerk/etc. for payment

      1. How is it locked to one card though? Through the app? Through a serious of button pushes?

        1. that is a good question, no clue… maybe it will have a little lock switch on it. Hopefully something simple

        2. Through the Android/iOS app

    2. Way to skip right to the comments, troll much?

      1. Read the actual FAQ, the contents of this article doesn’t match.

  5. I just don’t see the appeal of coin. $100 retail is ridiculous when I can just use the cards that I get for free from my bank. Think about it – are you going to stop carrying you wallet because you have coin? Plus there’s the whole thing with you being s.o.l. if someone wants to see the card and your ID to match them.

    1. Your first and last name will appear on the back with the signature pad just above it. It will match and although it might be hard at first. Retailers will be aware of it sooner than later

  6. What I don’t get is, this thing works VIA bluetooth right? what if a waiter takes your card and walks away to swipe it? Does it still work?

    1. the BT is ONLY for when it is out of range the information of your cards itself is stored on the COIN

    2. Only if it is unlocked (untethered from your phone) but you will still be to lock it to the single card so the waitress/waiter doesn’t accidentally charge the wrong card.

  7. So if my phone dies, it’s obviously not in Bluetooth range and I become “broke?”

    1. It just loses “certain security functions”. So you wont’ be broke! HA

  8. What happens when someone needs their CVC code.. and really i would get an alert every time i come home, put my wallet in my room and walk around my house.. that annoying for $100

    1. This will be available through the Android/iOS app. Next to your credit/debit card information

  9. As soon a Chinese knock-offs appear that lack some of the security, businesses will stop accepting the cards. All it’ll take is one or two major retailers to refuse to accept the card to make people need their old plastic, in which case Coin becomes irrelevant,

    Save time and feed a $50 into your shredder.

  10. Assuming this is a class 2 BT, the range is 10 meters, hopefully your waiter doesn’t have to go beyond that to pay for your meal. As with anything electronic, the tech will get broken and people will use it to load stolen CC numbers. This will probably lead to more credit card fraud since there is no way to identify if the card/information is real or not. Plus the Coin company will have all of your CC info, which means they are prime targets for hacking. People already have issues with Paypal not being a bank and they want to trust a startup with multiple financial information?

  11. I only use 2 cards. It’s easier to pick one from my wallet than switching coin while at the cashier at a market.

  12. Google wallet!!

    That is all.

  13. Will this work with Canadian cards ? And what about chip and pin? Most retail stores in Canada use chip and pin and are not able to use magnetic swipe any longer.

  14. $50-$100 seems like a lot for the convenience of eliminating 3-4 cards for me. Not worth it imo. I would hold out for a wider expansion of pay pass so that I can use my google wallet.

  15. Earlier I had a concern about skimming of data, but now apparently the app tells you how many time your card was read. So you would eventually know if it was used somwhere 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 !

    Pre order one now !

  16. My question isn’t answered in the FAQ. What if you heavily use your bluetooth for phone calls or music? Can you have this connected and another device, or does this commandeer your BT? Because that’s an inconvenience deal breaker.

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