Companies and startups that try to focus on making the exchange of money and tracking your funds an easier task are not new at all. From apps such as Simple that focus on creating savings plans and budget goals for its users to Billguard which notifies you of fraud with your credit cards, everyone is trying to get their foot in the door with the next great thing. In that same tradition, a new software/hardware startup that calls itself Coin is trying to eliminate all the clutter in your wallet and simplify your payments with a single “electronic” credit card.The concept is actually quite simple, but the technology is fairly advanced. First off, you download and install the Coin app on your phone or tablet and enter the information from various credit cards. Coin has a theoretical limit storing the data from 8 cards, but the app can store an unlimited amount and can be synced via Bluetooth very quickly. You can also add the data from other types of cards including membership cards and gift cards; essentially anything with a magnetic strip.
Once you’ve entered in the data from all of your chosen cards, you can sync the data to the physical Coin device using the built-in low power Bluetooth chip. After you’ve programmed the card with your info, you’re ready to start spending. The front of the Coin card features a small digital screen to display text and a single button to toggle between cards. Simply click the button and the screen will display which card you have selected to use.
Once you’ve selected the card you want to use for your purchase, the magnetic strip on the back of the card is automatically “programmed” temporarily with the data for that particular card. This allows you to swipe it just like the real credit or debit card to make a purchase and then switch it at a moment’s notice.
With any new type of payment, there are always going to be security concerns. Fortunately for Coin, this is one of their biggest selling points. Since the magnetic strip is dynamic, those dreaded magnetic scanners that some thieves like to use are useless since the data is only on the strip at the time you are making a purchase. Also, in the event someone gets their hands on your Coin card, you can instantly lock it down from your smartphone app without any need to contact your bank or credit card company. These features mean that it is actually much safer to carry just the Coin rather than a wallet full of cards, not to mention the reduced hassle and clutter that only having one card brings to the equation.