“Designed for the lifestyle of today but with the technology of tomorrow,” says Kanishk Parashar, the CEO and founder of Coin.
Parashar believes the age of shopping for wallets that can hold the most cards are gone. His Coin cards can make your wallet slimmer, but with the same payment options. Designed to streamline credit, debit, gift, and loyalty cards, a single Coin card can hold up to 8 cards.
Setting up Coin is quite simple. First, you need a smartphone. To the smartphone’s headset jack, you plug in a gadget that looks incredibly similar to Square’s. Using Coin’s mobile application, you swipe in up to 8 credit, debit, gift, and loyalty cards and take a couple photos of each card for your records. After uploading the batch of cards to Coin, your Coin card is ready to be used.
A Coin card looks just like all the other cards you would normally carry. Whenever you make a payment, you select which card you want to use with a single button on the card. The card you select will be signified in a small digital screen that displays a four-letter name you assigned to your cards, such as “WORK” or “BANK.”
To alleviate the significant risk that comes from storing 8 cards worth of financial information into one card, Kanishk Parashar, the CEO of Coin, and his team equipped Coin with multiple security standards.
– You can lock your Coin before handing it to a waiter, so that the waiter would not be able to select a different card other than the one you designated.
– If you lose your Coin or leave it behind, your phone will notify you, using Bluetooth signals.
– If the card is disconnected for more than 10 minutes from your phone, it will automatically disable itself.
– Other people cannot fraudulently add your card into their Coin
– The next generation of Coin will have another button for you to reactivate the card even if their phone is dead and is disconnected from Coin. You will be able to tap a button in a “Morse-code-like” fashion to reactivate your card.
However, even with theses safety measures, many critics are raising concerns regarding its relationship with the banks and merchants. The banks in the U.S. are looking to switch from the current magnetic strip cards into secure chip cards in preparation for transaction liability rule changes in 2015. In addition, the rest of the world uses a chip and pin system for the cards, known as EMV. The current model of Coin does not support the EMV system, nor will it survive when the banks in the U.S. make the transition.
In light of the concerns, Coin CEO and founder Kanishk Parashar acknowledged that they “left some things out,” but affirmed that they will make appropriate modifications. In an interview with CNN Money, he informed that the talks with the banks, merchants, and credit card companies have been positive, while it is “too early to tell” because Coin is not distributed throughout the U.S. yet.
Opinions from the analysts vary widely. Some anticipate a security disaster; some are excited about the innovation.
Despite the mixed-reviews and the flood of articles evaluating Coin, it seems to be in good shape. Backed by high profile venture capitalist firms Y Combinator and K9 Ventures, Coin reached its $50,000 goal of pre-orders in just 40 minutes and is scheduled to begin its mass-distribution in mid-2014.
Photo Credit: Lotus Head, Wikimedia Commons