Since I'm so important I pretty much have cards coming out of my ascending colon. Granted, most of them are for the various sandwich and froyo shops around my town (with one very special exception of a $50 gift card to Toys R Us that I snatched up when some haggard mom with a gaggle of unruly children dropped it in the grocery store parking lot) but still, I would qualify myself as someone who has trouble managing his plastic. Someone who could use a little card consolidation. Coin is a smartphone-connected device that can store usage information from multiple plates (up to 8 at any one time), and essentially replace the cards you normally carry. Its compatibility ranges from debit and credit cards to gift cards, loyalty cards, and membership cards. Coin endeavors to give us the freedom to use our cards without having to schlep all of them around in fat misshapen wallets or purses the size of Zach Galifianakis.
The Coin mobile app enables adding, managing, and syncing cards you want to store on your Coin device. The upload process is fairly simple: take a couple pictures of the card slated to add, and then swipe it through a small device Coin provides with the system. Thenceforth, the Coin screen will display only the last 4 digits, the expiration date, and the CVV of the card loaded for use in making purchases. (It appears users will be able to add their own, 4-letter name to differentiate cards.) Coin scans anywhere dip-style card readers are in use, as well as in ATMs.
Coin is currently available for pre-order, with anticipated release in Summer of 2014. At printing, the Coin folks were offering units at a 50% discount--$50 + $5 shipping, instead of the standard $100 rate.
November 16, 2013 Update: Many of you have expressed concerns about Coin's practicality and security, and for more information we suggest consulting Coin's FAQ page. Admittedly, I'm skeptical of the cards-be-gone tool too. Particularly after buying that blunt sword from a peddler at the Turkish bazaar who swore the unicorn magic contained within would render it eternally triumphant in times of need. Your lies cost me a knife v. sword fight and 18 stitches, Aziz!
Or, if you're not in the clicking mood, here are a few additional nuggets of info:
- Coin servers, mobile apps, and the device itself use 128-bit or 256-bit encryption for all storage and communication.
- Coin accounts are password protected, and sensitive information requires password entry to access.
- Coin is inextricably linked the smartphone used to activate it. Users can set the device to automatically deactivate if it loses contact with the phone for a set period of time.
- A Coin is no more or less susceptible than your physical collection of cards to some forms of skimming or data theft. It is less susceptible to some card skimming techniques that take a picture of the card as it is swiped since Coin does not display the full card details on the front or back of the device.