When Coin debuted two years ago, it promised to streamline your wallet by putting all of your credit cards, debit cards and gift cards on a single credit card-like device. After shipment delay last year, Coin is finally shipping its universal card to consumers in the U.S. In the two months after Coin first launched its crowdfunding campaign in 2013, 350,000 people paid between $55 and $100 to pre-order a Coin.
Founded by Kanishk Parashar and Karthik Balakrishnan, Coin looks and feels like a credit card, but it’s actually a connected device with a magnetic stripe that uses bluetooth low-energy technology to connect all your cards in one place. After downloading the Coin mobile app to an Android or iPhone, you can input your credit cards, including MasterCard, Visa, and American Express, within the app manually. Once you sync your card to your phone, card information will be stored in the Coin. The device has a small screen and button that allows you to select which card you’d like to use.
Coin uses the signal from your mobile phone has a way to ensure that you are the person swiping your coin. You can also enter a code on your Coin to unlock it if your phone isn’t nearby.
While Coin may reduce clutter in your wallet, there are red flags. The device’s battery only lasts for two years, so you’ll need to continue buying a $100 Coin every time it runs out of battery life.
After Coin initially debuted, many raised concerns as to whether the device is as secure as it promises.
In the wake of consumer data breaches at retailers such as Target (TGT), U.S. credit card issuers are switching to EMV technology, in which all cards will include computer chips for more secure transactions. That also means all merchants will be updating their point of sale systems to accept cards with chip technology.
Coin does not include chip technology, and when asked, Parashar said that he believes we are years away from a point when merchants will only accept chip-enabled cards. He added that Coin will eventually move to support EMV standard at some point in the future.
He also said that the delay in shipping last year was figuring out hardware connectivity issues. In the past year, Coin has gone through 42 test designs, seven working prototypes, and launched a small beta program 10,000 users.
Despite Coin’s road bumps, the company has been able to draw some big-name backers. Last year, Coin raised $15.5 million in funding from early Twitter investor Spark Capital and Redpoint.