If you've been trying to slim down your bulky wallet, a new product that launched on Nov. 14 may be the device of your dreams. Despite its name, Coin is a connected credit/debit card that could replace all the plastic in your wallet. Expected to ship in Summer 2014, the device will retail for $100, but you can get it at a pre-order price of $50 via Coin's website.
Coin will take on the identity of all your swipe-able cards such as credit, gift, loyalty and membership cards. A card-swipe dongle ships with the device so you can connect it to your phone to upload your cards onto the companion app. That information is then stored on Coin. Tap a button on Coin to toggle through a digital display of the cards stored and select the one you want to use. The device will then take on the information and identity of the card you've selected and can be swiped for use anywhere cards are accepted. Storage and communication with the app are protected by 128-bit encryption.
If the idea of ever losing your Coin sounds horrifying (as it should), here's some good news for you. Coin detects when your phone is near via a low-power Bluetooth signal and notifies you when you're a certain distance away from it. You won't need to be near your Coin for it to work, but you will need your phone and the dongle to add, manage or delete existing cards.
The device will also disable itself "if it's lost," according to a press release, but it isn't clear whether you can do this from the app or if it does so automatically based on distance from your phone. Each Coin has a battery that will last for two years and will not demagnetize if left near other cards or magnets, and like other cards it is shock and water-resistant.
Neither the press release nor video address the many security concerns with Coin, such as the concept of getting merchants to accept a generic credit card without questioning if the cardholder is the original owner of the card. Coin could also be a card thief's dream come true, making it much easier to store the information from stolen cards on one convenient device.
Related on LAPTOP and MNN: