The Problem with the New ‘Coin’ Card

When Coin was revealed a few weeks ago, it was like we were finally coming closer to a Terminator-like digital/physical hybrid experience.
The concept was simple: what if we had a electronically-enhanced device that worked and looked exactly like a credit card but that stored all your information from different cards and made it easy to switch from your Visa debit card to your American Express to your Barneys card before an in-store transaction? Coin is that concept coming alive, the true definition of a master card, one to store them all and make stuffy, butt-busting wallets obsolete.

Coin is not yet available to the public (you can pre-order) and already the seemingly revolutionary device has raised a lot of concerns around security and fraud. So many in fact that the San Francisco-based company had to address the issues in an official statement:

  • Coin will also feature a system that shows how many times your card is being swiped, and tell you if someone is using it when it isn’t near you.
  • Finally, the device will also “lock” on one particular card — so the waitress can’t accidentally switch your payment method when she grabs Coin from you.

Still, just last week The New York Times revealed another flaw in the system:

[blockquote source=””]When you buy it, you are agreeing to terms of service that give you no protection. Should something go wrong — name your worst fear: the device broadcasts your credit card numbers, it is hacked, the site containing your encrypted numbers is hacked, the numbers are improperly encrypted, merchants refuse it — it’s not Coin’s problem. [/blockquote]

Basically, Coin is wiping its hands clean of the messy world of personal transactions. And the company admits that each card only lasts two years and it’s not rechargeable, so you’re going to have to rebuy the product. Perhaps it’s best to wait until Square comes out with an inclusive payment scanner app.

Oscar Raymundo
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