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Coin — One card to rule them all?

What is Coin?  Coin is a brilliant new technology that allows users to consolidate all of their cards into a single Coin card.  A Coin card is not your traditional credit card.  It is an electronic device the size of a credit card with a programmable magnetic strip.  Any card with a magnetic strip whether that be a debit/credit card, gift card or preferred customer card, can be put on your Coin card.
The Coin card works over Bluetooth and is paired with your phone.  Using your phone and an adapter supplied by Coin, a user swipes their cards which gets loaded into your Coin account.  When a debit card is neededCoin Credit Card instead of a credit card, make the selection on your phone.  The Coin app will send the information to your card and it will be ready for use with that specific card information.  Loose your phone or your card?  Have your wallet stolen?  That is OK.  Coin has security configurations that will deactivate the card automatically if it loses communication with your phone for too long.  It sounds as if Coin has thought a lot about security, at least from the physical security point of view.  What about digitally?
We live in a world where data breach is common.  A new story about a large company being hacked with customer information stolen seems to happen semi-regularly.  Many times the stolen data is not encrypted and this non-encrypted data contains anything from credit card information to email addresses.  Is it safe to put all of my banking, credit and preferred customer information in a single location?  It is a risky move to digitally putting all your eggs in one basket.  If Coin was hacked and your data was stolen what would happen?  It is essentially the same thing as having your entire wallet stolen.
Coin appears to be prepared for this.  Coin does not state what user data is stored with them but they do state all user data in the cloud, on the mobile app or on the card itself  is encrypted using at least 128-bit encryption.  In addition any information transferred via Bluetooth is also encrypted so personal data could not be used if it were captured during transmission.  This means that if the data is stolen from the cloud, phone or card it is virtually worthless without the decryption key.
Coin has put the right foot forward in their vision of plastic card consolidation.  The strong encryption shows they are serious about data security.  With the configurable lockout and deactivation features they are making every effort to physically secure the device from theft or being lost.  The technology being used is not new but the way it is being used is both new and unique.  If Coin is as secure as they claim and the concept takes off expect the popularity to grow exponentially along with the copy cats.  The card itself is still in pre-order and is set to be released this summer.  You can find out more about Coin here.

Thoughts on “Coin — One card to rule them all?”

  1. I like the concept, however the card has some notable flaws. 1) It probably won’t work outside the United States, where chip-and-PIN technology is widespread, 2) When the internal battery dies, you are obligated to purchase a new card, at $100 a piece it gets pricey. If the company can work this out, I’ll be onboard.

  2. One on hand they seem serious about security encryption on the other hand there seems to be no indication on whether it will support the new EMV chip-and-PIN.
    In light of the recent Target saga I think, it’s a major flaw.
    Personally I feel the price point seems a little bit high.

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Brian ODonnell

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