Technology never stops moving forward. It’s said that rust never sleeps and technology doesn’t either. Just when you thought you were pretty knowledgeable about it along comes 3-D printing. What? You can now “print” a part for your computer at home? Yes, you can. And you will soon be able to kick all those credit cards, debit cards and membership cards out of your wallet and replace them with a … Coin.
Coin is a new gadget the size of the typical credit card that will hold the multiple cards you now carry and that works like they do. It will work with credit cards, debit cards, loyalty cards, gift cards and membership cards. So instead of having to carry multiple cards, you would carry just your Coin. Plus, you would have all of your accounts and information together in just one place.
Coin represents a way to make your life a little less complicated by allowing you to have all of your cards on just one “card.” Suppose, for example, that you typically carry four credit cards, a debit card and two membership cards. When you want to use one of these cards all you would need to do is scroll through Coin until you get to the appropriate card – instead of having to fumble through all seven of those cards looking for the correct one – and maybe end up using the wrong one.
How it works
The way Coin works is pretty simple. It comes with a mobile app that you use to add and manage the cards you want to have in your Coin. It’s very easy to add card information to its mobile app simply by taking a picture or two and then swiping your Coin through a small device that’s provided by its manufacturer. One Coin will hold up to eight cards simultaneously.
Where can you use Coin?
You can use the device anywhere that accepts credit cards including the dip-style card readers and even ATMs. In short, you would use your Coin just as you now use any of your other cards at restaurants, the mall, gas stations, your health club or any other places you frequent. However, it cannot be used for online payments. This is because Coin is designed to be used out in the world. If you are buying something online, you could use its mobile app to reference the details of the card you want to use. But by itself Coin cannot be used directly for online payments.
The platforms that support Coin
Mobile apps for Coin will be available for use with iOS and Android phones. They may also ultimately be available for Windows phones. Like your other cards, Coin is password-protected and its mobile app requires you to type in your password before you can access any sensitive card details.
Coin is very smart
Coin can have an alarm that will track how many times you swipe it and will alert you if it believes there is fraudulent activity happening. As an example of this, Coin might be swiped once by a merchant or waiter to pay for your transaction and then a second time to steal the information on your card. Your bank or credit card company might notify you of this type of fraudulent activity but not until the transaction has been completed in another city or if it sees that your information has been used in some odd way. In comparison, Coin will actually alert you the moment someone tries to steal your information so that you can immediately ask about the activity. In addition, Coin will let you lock down one particular card so that waiters, friends or strangers can’t swap to a different card on their own. When the waiter or sales clerk returns your Coin, you would then unlock it and get back to scrolling through the other cards you have stored in it. No one else’s card can be uploaded to your Coin because all card information must match the personal information stored on your Coin app. Coin will have your full name printed on it and your signature on the back just as if it were a normal credit card.
Can the card you selected on your Coin be accidentally changed?
Coin has been designed with a button you use to toggle cards in such a way that it’s difficult to trigger a “press” unintentionally. If you were to drop a Coin, sit on a Coin or put the Coin into one of those check presenters at a restaurant, this will not inadvertently toggle the card you had selected.
A Coin must be paired with your phone. If it loses that connection for a period of time, it will automatically be deactivated. Plus, you can configure how long that will be in the Coin’s mobile app. In the event your phone runs out of power or you put it in airplane mode, Coin will still be usable. However, you may need to unlock it if it becomes deactivated because it’s been out of contact with your phone for too long. While Coin must be paired with your phone, the device is associated with your account and not that specific phone or device. In the event you lose your phone, you can pair your Coin with the new phone after you install the Coin mobile app and sign in.
How long will Coin last?
It is estimated that a Coin will last two years under normal usage. This is based on the assumptions that you would toggle which card you want to use and then swipe it 10-20 times a day. It also assumes that you would adjust which cards you want to store in your Coin a few times a week. When you first get your Coin, you will probably be syncing it with your phone fairly often. However, over time most people begin syncing much less frequently. Of course, if you sync and swipe more frequently on a daily basis, your Coin’s battery will drain a lot faster.
How Coin pairs with your phone
Coin connects to your phone via Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) and is designed to consume very little power. In addition, its manufacturer reports that it has carefully optimized the communication between your Coin and its mobile app to keep it to the minimum.
Coin is very durable
A Coin is water resistant but not waterproof. You could spill juice or coffee on your Coin and it would continue to function. However, if you take it swimming with you it would cease working. Normal magnetic exposure such as wallets with money clips that use magnets won’t damage your Coin. However, if your hobby or job puts you in close proximity to electro magnets with above average strength, it will probably make your Coin inoperable. A Coin is both durable and fairly flexible so don’t worry what will happen if you sit on it. But it is an electronic device so if you try to fold it or bend it an acute angle it will probably break.
The biggest downside of Coin is that it’s not yet available. The people who created Coin funded it through crowdsourcing and expect it to be available in the spring of 2014. You can preorder Coin now (and for the next 21 days) for $50, which is half of the $100 it will cost when it begins shipping. The device can be pre ordered on the Coin website, https://onlycoin.com/ and in any quantity.
Another way to manage multiple credit cards
If you’re not up for spending $50 or $100 for Coin, you should at least be managing your multiple credit cards with an Excel, Open Office or Google Docs spreadsheet. It should have four columns – one for the name of the credit card, one for its balance, one for its interest rate and one for its statement closing date. If you update a card’s balance as you use it, you will have a running record of where you stand and when you will need to make your next payment. Of course, the best way to manage credit cards is to make sure you pay off your balances when due and not let them carry over into the next month. This way you would avoid any high interest charges that could end up costing you big money and maybe even keeping you in debt for years. Also, if you know every card’s closing date, you could use it the day after that date and get nearly 50 days of credit free.