Gadgets
Coin-Smart-Card
Coin Wants To Get In Your Pants!

You’ve heard about Google Wallet and other NFC (Near Fields Communications) payment technologies that turn your phone into a wireless debit card. The problem is not the technology. Quite honestly, I think the technology is very fascinating and it’s amazing how some companies go about security on these devices. After all, it is our hard-earned money we’re talking about, Right? The problem lays in how quickly the technology is adopted by merchants, which is affected by how quickly it’s adopted by customers, which is affected by how quickly it’s adopted by the merchants. And There you have it, a classic chicken or egg situation. Lucky for Google, they have billions to throw at projects and resources to help them push forward the technology until it maybe, hopefully, one day becomes popular.

Something that these companies don’t realise though, is that our payment methods are not broken! Therefore they don’t need to be fixed. There’s no point in denying that some of our payment methods are outdated and redundant but that doesn’t mean we should replace them by new technologies. New technologies that haven’t had the time to mature and become well adopted by the community (merchants and customers). Instead of trying to figure out a new way to make payments, and going through the trial and errors of creating a new product, what if we just improved the way we make our transactions? What if we just simplified them?

This is were Coin comes in. The sexy little card that wants to get in your pants. Coin is a simple, beautiful piece of technology that’s trying to replace all your bank cards with one. Unlike other companies, Coin is not trying to change how we pay for our purchases, but rather improving the way we go about it. The company announced its Smart Card – if you will – on November 14th and said they were ready to start the funding stage. The company made a very bold move and decided to fund the project by taking pre-orders, instead of funding the project on KickStarter or Indiegogo. Early birds got the card for only $50 USD, instead of its original $100 price tag.

How It Works

When you buy your Coin card, you’ll receive a magnetic stripe reader that plugs into your iPhone’s headphone jack. Using the card reader you can scan all your bank/loyalty cards and load them onto the official Coin app, you can then transfer 8 of those cards to your Coin card using bluetooth.

Coin card has a touch interface and a digital display that allows you to select which card you want to use for the transaction. When you select the card you want to use, Coin will reprogram your magnetic stripe with all the relevant information in a matter of a seconds. But most of us don’t need to know how it works, we just want something that works. This looks promising.

Security

Coin will remain connected to your phones via BLE(Bluetooth Low Energy). Once that connection is broken, the card will self destruct and destroy anything within the two mile radius. Just kidding. Once the connection is broken, the card will be temporarily deactivated to prevent any unauthorised transaction. This is an extra level of security we won’t otherwise have with our non-smart cards. All information on the card is encrypted and secure, but who knows what’ll happen when a bored hacker gets his/her hands on one of these cards.

Downfalls

Although Coin is very promising I have three major concerns about its functionality.

Bluetooth Low Energy – This means that your phone must have bluetooth on all day, otherwise Coin will deactivate. I personally don’t like having my Bluetooth on, BLE or  not, it sucks the life out of my battery.

No EMV support – Those of us living at Australia and other countries who rely heavily on EMV might have to wait a few years for Coin to catch up and support EMV.

No Wireless Payments – I’ve been using Visa PayPass for the past two years and can’t imagine myself going back to the traditional swipe and pin routine. I’m a relatively easygoing person, but the shopkeepers who tell me to scan my card get the death stare.

Conclusion

I would have bought myself a Coin if I wasn’t living in Australia. I believe it’s an absolutely amazing technology that will change how we think about purchasing goods in person. It also helps that the card comes in two fancy named colours. Snow and Midnight. If you’re looking at buying a Coin, jump over to their website and pre-order your card for $50 USD. The offer will end on 8th of December 2013.