What is Coin?

The payment space continues to buzz with new, simplified electronic payment platforms and applications. Most of the newer applications are digital (mobile) wallets – application based “wallets” that reside on your smartphone and allow consumers to redeem offers or pay with their credit cards using nothing more than their smartphones. Coin is different. Coin aggregates all of your current credit and debit cards into one digital card. 

Coin aims to simplify consumers’ physical wallet and give everyone the convenience of choice without the typical wallet clutter. Once someone registers their Coin, they can add all of their credit and debit cards to their account. All you need to do is set Coin to the account you want and hand it to the merchant, who will swipe it like any ordinary card. Coin works seamlessly with the mobile app to provide enhanced security. For example, Coin will not work if it’s away from your phone for more than 10 minutes. 

Not available till summer 2014, pre-orders for Coin are at impressive levels. A consumer-facing product, Coin does not need infrastructure changes to the merchant counter-top to work, unlike many mobile payment applications. However, there is a threat of the big four credit card companies blocking access. Coin needs approval from the card issuers and networks, which it has not yet secured. And if the card networks deem that Coin has a higher liability for fraud – because the issued card does not need to be present – then Coin, like many other digital and mobile wallets, will see slow adoption.

From a merchant perspective, education is a large part of the equation. Most merchants have never heard of Coin, or have ever seen a Coin digital card. They will be unsure of their ability to accept Coin. This should be a large part of Coin’s rollout.