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Coin aims to replace analog credit cards with a single iPhone-connected accessory

post #1 of 45
Thread Starter 
A Silicon Valley startup aims to help you rid your wallet of excess plastic with a new Bluetooth-enabled "connected card," called Coin, that can be reprogrammed on the fly and swiped at point of sale terminals like a traditional credit card.

Coin


Coin packs a lithium battery, Bluetooth low energy radio, e-ink display, and a dynamically reprogrammable magnetic strip -- for which the company says it has a patent pending --?into a small, credit card-sized device. It can masquerade as virtually any swipe-able card that uses a magnetic strip, from credit and debit cards to those used for loyalty and rewards programs.

Coin is the brainchild of mobile developer Kanishk Parashar, and the team of seven employees has been developing the idea for over a year. Rather than attempting to reinvent payments yet again by using exotic but underdeployed technologies like NFC, Parashar told AppleInsider that the company chose the swipe-able approach because of its ubiquity: nearly every credit card-enabled business in the world is Coin-enabled by default.

Users can store up to eight cards at once in the Coin's onboard memory and switch between them by pressing a small button. The selected card is displayed on a small, embedded e-ink screen, and cards can be swapped in and out at any time using a companion smartphone application and dongle which connects to the Coin via a Bluetooth low energy link.



That Bluetooth link also helps keep the Coin secure. When the Coin is out of range, the user's smartphone will send up an alert and, if the two devices are not reunited within a configurable period of time, the Coin will automatically lock itself to prevent abuse.

The company says the Coin will run for up to two years on its built-in battery with no need to recharge. Though a process has not yet been set, Parashar says that an upgrade path to a new Coin will be provided when its battery does eventually falter.

For those who enjoy a more active lifestyle, the Coin is designed to be resistant to water intrusion and a nominal amount of flexing and bending. Most magnets and money clips will likewise leave the device unscathed, though the company does caution those who work around abnormally large magnets --?like MRI machines --?to be cautious.

San Francisco-based Coin is a graduate of mega startup incubator Y Combinator, and have begun a crowd funding program with the goal of raising an additional $50,000 for its initial production run. The device will launch in the summer of 2014 at a retail price of $100, but early backers will have an opportunity to secure a Coin from the inaugural batch for just $50.
post #2 of 45
Hmm.. interesting concept.

Thankfully I only have a debit card to worry about... 1smile.gif
post #3 of 45
Love it!!
post #4 of 45
Great concept but why do I get this feeling that evil people will store 8 different people's cards on one card and just go place to place swiping away. Saying that, I still want one!
post #5 of 45

Sounds fantastic... $50/$100 is a lot though for something after dies in 2 years. "Coin" wouldn't be my first choice of name because it has nothing to do with a coin, something like MetaCard would have been better. I love the dude in the video.


Edited by jd_in_sb - 11/14/13 at 11:42am

Please update the AppleInsider app to function in landscape mode.

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Please update the AppleInsider app to function in landscape mode.

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post #6 of 45

Awesome. I was thinking all in one card concept but this is probably a more feasible option.

post #7 of 45
Why not an app to replace all your cards?

Saw it a while ago. Transmits a signal when your iPhone is placed near the credit card machine. Can't remember what it's called.
Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of a rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
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Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of a rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
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post #8 of 45

The merchant needs to be educated to accept it. "Sorry sir, we only accept Visa and MasterCard."

 

But wait it is a Visa...

 

Sorry, it has to have a Visa logo or we can't accept it.

 

Otherwise I really like it. I have way too many cards. I have to leave many of them at home, mostly rewards cards. I just counted right now and I am carrying 9 cards. AMEX personal, AMEX business, MasterCard, Visa, debit, AAA, Medical insurance, Golf membership, and grocery rewards, plus a couple other things like driver's license, etc. I think I'll get one of these Coin cards and give it a try.

Life is too short to drink bad coffee.

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Life is too short to drink bad coffee.

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post #9 of 45

always find it amazing that the usa is still stuck in the past with swipe and signature, it's hideously insecure, fraud is trivial

 

this product seems to do away with even the pitiful security offered by a signature check, if it's accepted by retailers the thieves will absolutely love it

 

chip and pin dramatically reduces fraud levels, if a shop/whatever in europe expects me to just swipe, or, even worse, gets out the embossing machine, i instantly think 'scam' and consider going somewhere else or using cash

post #10 of 45
Passbook will make this obsolete by next summer...
post #11 of 45

Interesting transitional idea. Not where the "puck is heading," but the puck may be moving slowly enough to give this idea a market. Of course I'd want the right price and a nice track record first... I wouldn't choose to be an early adopter.

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by KindredMac View Post

Great concept but why do I get this feeling that evil people will store 8 different people's cards on one card and just go place to place swiping away. Saying that, I still want one!

 

They already do that, they just need a thicker wallet for the purpose!

post #12 of 45
I like the idea, but I don't like the idea that tapping is all you need to do to change the card. Suppose you hand it to a waiter who while handling it, inadvertently hits that button and the card changes. That could turn out to be a hit to someone's debit card when they meant to use a credit card. Not always a good thing.

Ideally, a fingerprint reader would be included on that button (similar to iphone 5s). A less expensive security measure is obviously more desirable and seems like that would be a technical requirement. Perhaps a software based option which allows you to lock the current card.
post #13 of 45
The first few problems that come to mind:

o Doesn't look legit -- who's going to be willing to accept it?
o You can use it to easily copy anyone's card you hold for a moment.
o Easy to accidentally change card (push button) while the vendor has it.
o No signature strip -- some people care about that.
o Expensive to replace if you lose it.
o Eventually the battery dies and you have no cards.
o Most countries use smart cards now.
post #14 of 45
Really an interesting stop-gap measure. Of course your phone should replace your card, and will.

It would be made more useful if you could get your health insurance card, gym membership, Costco card and so on included. All of those for me do not have a magnetic swipe.

Still, kind of cool tech.
post #15 of 45

Was ready to sign up until I read all the comments.

Valid points as to vender education/ button activate - can you lock COIN CARD when PAYMENT card is selected?

Apple - wish they'd jump on this only because I know it would be done right the 1st time & fixes are always prompt.

post #16 of 45
A shame this has nothing to do with Bitcoin.

Proud AAPL stock owner.

 

GOA

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Proud AAPL stock owner.

 

GOA

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post #17 of 45

One word: chip

 

I haven't swiped since forever

post #18 of 45

For member cards I use the Key Ring app - stores lots and lots of cards - the bar code scans most places and for others I bring up the large number view - I do silt carry a very often used card since that one doesn't scan well and I use it at self-service stations. 

 

I think I did see a signature strip on the back. 

 

Perhaps the change cards requires holding the button down for a few seconds before it goes into change mode. 

 

COIN = Card One I'm Done ????

 

Coin is a a clever name since the term coin has been used a generic reference to an unspecified amount amount of money. 

 

$50 - $100 is more than I would pay. 

 

I am working towards fewer cards - the problem of course is so many cards with rewards programs tied to using the card - so I end up either with too many in my wallet - or swapping them out each time I am planning a trip - which leaves unplanned stops at risk of not having the proper card. 

 

As to why is the US so far "behind" the rest of the world - I have seen this come up a number of times - and aside from political and regulatory reasons - many industries - such as telecom - spent decades building an infrastructure in this country well before other countries even started - meaning we reached a critical mass of installed product that needs to be serviced and maintained etc - where in some other country they started building infrastructure at a time when using things like Fibre or Cellular did NOT require displacing millions upon millions of installed devices and connections spread across several million square miles. 

 

It is far too simplistic to suggest that because some technology is prevalent in one area of the world that every single other area should have no issue swapping out everything they have for that new technology. On the other hand, too often, the prevalence of the old technology becomes a barrier to adoption of the new. Or arguments about how long it will take to make the transition stops us form taking the first step. I'm looking at you wind and solar. 

post #19 of 45
Really love this idea of bringing a physical card to the payment market. Reminds me of an article I read about a team doing something similar on TechCrunch:

http://techcrunch.com/2012/08/02/the-protean-echo-reduces-all-of-your-credit-cards-to-one-ubercard/
post #20 of 45
What's in your wallet?
post #21 of 45
Canada has NFC everywhere, and anything that doesn't have NFC has chip-n-pin. Swiping is generally not allowed any more.

Everywhere else is the same, outside the US.

So basically this thing is useless to anyone but a small group in the US, which will almost certainly disappear shortly.
post #22 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by baseballrob99 View Post

Passbook will make this obsolete by next summer...

Keep dreaming.
Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of a rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
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Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of a rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
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post #23 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by MoXoM View Post

Hmm.. interesting concept.



Thankfully I only have a debit card to worry about... 1smile.gif

 



Yep, this looks familiar...

 


http://www.cultofmac.com/154808/geode-turns-iphone-into-universal-credit-card-rewriter/

 


http://www.zdnet.com/icache-geodes-spectacular-crash-and-burn-7000014801/

 


Give a blank card to a retail or restaurant... guess what, they will look at you like you stole the information and to silly not to "make" it look like the actual card., no logo, no signature block, no card number to verify on front, or numbers to put in last few for their systems. It will instantly ring ... FAKE... to mostly everyone behind a register. Maybe useful at gas stations, or little stores you can just swipe for small purchases. But try to use your card for anything over 50 to 100 bucks, and see what happens.
Great idea, i would do this in a heart beat if stores and such would not have a major issue with them...

 


 

You don't want to make me curmudgeon, you would not like me when I am curmudgeon.  I go all caps, bold, with a 72PT font and green lettering.  

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You don't want to make me curmudgeon, you would not like me when I am curmudgeon.  I go all caps, bold, with a 72PT font and green lettering.  

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post #24 of 45
Right now passbook is close to useless. Until it's more useful this sounds like a great idea.
post #25 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ireland View Post

Why not an app to replace all your cards?
 

Because you can't swipe an app. This is a stop gap measure that allows you to use existing swipe machines until NFC or some other better solution reaches maturity.

post #26 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by Takeo View Post

Because you can't swipe an app.

Yes you can.

Like I said, there's a new company out there with an iPhone app and iPhone card reader that has the ability to suck in your cards into your iPhone via a single swipe, presenting you with a visual representation of your card and then transmitting that same scanned information wirelessly over the air via some unknown patent-pending 'magic' to a credit card swipe machine. They had a video and everything. From what I know the service hasn't hit the market yet, and I can't recall what it was called or figure out how to find it via Google search. But it was revolutionary in its simplicity.
Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of a rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
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Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of a rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
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post #27 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by umumum View Post

always find it amazing that the usa is still stuck in the past with swipe and signature, it's hideously insecure, fraud is trivial

this product seems to do away with even the pitiful security offered by a signature check, if it's accepted by retailers the thieves will absolutely love it

chip and pin dramatically reduces fraud levels, if a shop/whatever in europe expects me to just swipe, or, even worse, gets out the embossing machine, i instantly think 'scam' and consider going somewhere else or using cash

My first thought as well. But perhaps I'm a bit more travelled than most Americans. This line in the article made me think someone didn't really do their homework, "nearly every credit card-enabled business in the world is Coin-enabled by default".

While it may be true that most businesses outside the US can take your swipe card, a great many of them will frown at you and look annoyed that you are making them dig out their old swipe machine to deal wth your old tech card. Something they probably keep on hand for the Americans who happend to visit ther establishment. And there are certainly places where your swipe-only card simply won't work (ATMs in Norway is one example, if I recall correclty).

That said, if you look by volume instead of geography, probably the vast majority of card transactions take place in the US. So until the US moves to somethign more secure, that card might have a market, even if only here. But I'd be surprised if many merchants overseas would accept it.
post #28 of 45
I
Quote:
Originally Posted by muadibe View Post

I like the idea, but I don't like the idea that tapping is all you need to do to change the card. Suppose you hand it to a waiter who while handling it, inadvertently hits that button and the card changes. That could turn out to be a hit to someone's debit card when they meant to use a credit card. Not always a good thing.

Ideally, a fingerprint reader would be included on that button (similar to iphone 5s). A less expensive security measure is obviously more desirable and seems like that would be a technical requirement. Perhaps a software based option which allows you to lock the current card.

Maybe the feature that locates the card away from your phone doesn't allow it to change.
post #29 of 45

There will probably be a lot of places that simply won't accept it. Even now, many establishments want to see the card in order to verify that the embossed numbers match those on the mag stripe.

 

Too many criminal types already use a card reader/writer to put fraudulent numbers on an existing card.

post #30 of 45
Isn't the guy in this video the same guy that is in one of the early Square videos where he buys a taco?
post #31 of 45

should be renamed "Con", as the major use case will be fraudulent c/cards. the needs of the honest subverted by those who do not care.

post #32 of 45

Sounds like a good idea, until you remember that the rest of the world is moving away from magnetic strips and using imbedded chips, often referred to as "chip 'n pin".....

post #33 of 45
Chip & Pin for use in Europe? I can't remember the last time I signed for something...
post #34 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post

The merchant needs to be educated to accept it. "Sorry sir, we only accept Visa and MasterCard."

But wait it is a Visa...

Sorry, it has to have a Visa logo or we can't accept it.
Here in the US most places don't look at your card. They don't even handle it. You swipe it yourself. So they would have no clue what's on the card, so long as it works.
post #35 of 45
But HOW does the Coin App only allow you to add the cards you own? Does it require you to enter a zip code when you add it? Does it cross reference your name to the name on the card? What if I have different cards that display my name differently?

I'd like to see what stops a person from adding my card to their Coin fraudulently. While physical security is a good first barrier, I'm very concerned, as should they, about the ability of people to add non-owned cards.
post #36 of 45

After a retailer gets burned a couple of times taking non-traditional cards, they'll change their policies and we'll experience a wave of retailers refusing to accept card skimmers like Coin.

post #37 of 45

I will get a white one!   Better than all the other options avail right now.  I Pre-ordered and it was 55.00.   

post #38 of 45
Pretty stupid idea. Why not just use an app?!?!?! No need for these crummy cards that will break down easily (that card they show off probably doesn't even exist and is just a mockup).
post #39 of 45
This is huge.
post #40 of 45
Unless I'm mistaken, two words will make this obsolete. Chip and PIN
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