Sunday, August 24, 2014

Coin – Connected Device for Credit/Debit/Membership/Loyalty Cards

Coin is a connected device which has the capabilities to hold and behave like the card such as the debit, credit, gift, loyalty and membership cards and instead of carrying several cards, users can now carry one Coin. The manufacturers of Coin, which is a Bluetooth enable connected card have designed it, to help users to store magnetic stripe information for various credit as well as debit cards on one device, have recently announced the delay of its launch till next year, though they would start sending out 10,000 beta units to pre-order customers very soon.

The Coin card which is a credit card sized black plastic rectangle with an LCD screen, is priced at $100. It comprises of a programmable magnetic stripe which can be swiped through any standard card reader at a retail store etc.: and up to eight cards with magnetic stripe could be saved on the Coin card on-board memory and then by pressing small button switches between cards, it displays the currently opted card, an embedded e-ink screen, thus enabling users with less cards to carry in their purses or wallets.

Attached to an Android/iOS

Users could set up their Coin cards by swiping all their valid cards in a free Coin supplied card reader which can be attached to an Android or iOS smartphone, with a photo of each card for verification purpose and then loaded into the Coin card through a Bluetooth Low Energy – BLE, wireless connection. Individual Coin card could be paired to the Android or iOS device, resulting that if the Coin card is beyond the Bluetooth Low Energy range, which is around 150 feet, it would stop functioning.

The Coin’s screen can display the credit or debit card brand, namely American Express, MasterCard, Discover or Visaas applicable, its last 4 digits of the card number together with its date of expiry. The Coin could also be set up as a stand-alone device to enable it to work without a nearby smartphone though with less security.Around 1,000 customers have already been issued pre-production Coin units, and in lieu of the full launch, the company would be expanding it to another 10,000 and backers should be receiving emails enabling them to claim their beta device very soon.

Coin’s Announcement – Applause/Scepticism 

Coin’s announcement drew a lot of applause as well as scepticism with the possibilities of increased convenience being apparent though some pointed out the probable security implications which included the chances of financial harm that thieves could do to people swiping a single Coin instead of being forced to try for a loaded wallet.

Others criticized Coin for its lack of support for emerging chip and signature standard which had started developing with U.S card issuers. Kanishk Parashar, Coin CEO had stated that the company is yet to start the possibility of the addition of a chip and is focussed on launching its first version. He also informed CNET, that once they were through with the first shipment of Coins, they would be in a better position with enough resources to perform an R & D project.

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