Daily Dose of iQ: Is 'Coin' Really The Future of Payments?

Nov 14, 2013 — Allan Pulga

Coin, a new payment startup that allows you to upload your credit cards and debit cards onto a single card (called a "Coin") was the big story in tech today.

The hype on Twitter was heavy this morning:

I liked the video. It was simple and clearly conveyed the value of the Coin card.

And here's the video everybody was talking about:

I have to say, I liked the video. It was simple and clearly conveyed the value of the Coin card. But upon discussing the Coin solution with my colleagues*, it was nice to step back from the hype. Below are their thoughts.

*Tech Ops Specialist Cory Paetsch, UX Architect/BA Collin Prior, R&D Developer Evan Bashir, and Interaction Architect Tony Burbage

The video was cool, but some obvious weak points were a) no chip and pin security (this is an issue as the U.S. is moving toward chip and pin in 2015), b) for payments only (no loyalty/membership card integration; loyalty/membership cards are definitely a physical wallet pain point), c) limit to the number of cards on the Coin card (who wants to repeatedly press the Coin card button more than 3 times to find a card?)... Any others?

Cory: Actually, according to the FAQ page of the Coin website, a Coin card can hold up to 8 cards at a time and can integrate with debit cards, credit cards, gift cards, loyalty cards, membership cards -- anything swipeable. The Coin app (used to upload the cards to your Coin card), however, can store an unlimited number of cards. There are a few other weak points you could argue by checking out Coin's full FAQ page as well.

Collin: I would be concerned with handing a card away to an employee and giving them access to all my cards. Retailers are not going to be expecting this as a card alternative and you'll likely get employees thinking you are scamming them in the short term: "Here, scan this crazy looking thing. It’s just my points card, honest."

I would be concerned handing a Coin card to an employee, giving them access to all my cards.

Evan: Restaurant servers accidently cycling to a different card while processing payments could be an issue too.

Tony: "I think if this catches on, they would have to devise a better way for the user to select the right cardfaster. If this is truly a replacement for a wallet of cards, it would have to be easier than finding and pulling out a card. I think the general public may be skeptical at first about the security of this. With ID theft a big concern, some people may be resistant to having all their money, and credit tied to one "card."

Does this truly provide a better alternative to existing mobile wallet apps/payment methods? Maybe not. Your thoughts here.

Cory: Well, this addresses the NFC deficiency currently in Apple products… kind of…

Collin: This does provide a better alternative to mobile wallet apps because it supports swipe. I can see this being useful for all the loyalty cards companies give you.

Coin is U.S.-centric. Without chip and pin integration, it's really just a short-term solution.

Evan: Perhaps if it's just for your main credit cards, definitely not gift cards as we have so many. Cycling is a pain.

Tony: As mentioned, it's U.S.-centric. Until chip and pin has been considered, it's really just a short-term solution.

This is not yet ready for mass market. As BGR reports, Coin is still at the Kickstarter phase. And even when it is publicly available, it’s reported to retail for $100 ($50 for Kickstarter backers). This is not worth that much money to me, personally. How about you guys?

Cory: I agree. I couldn’t justify a $100 cost. At $50 it’s even still tough to do… but it looks cool!

Collin: I would agree. It is not worth $100 dollars to me to consolidate 8 points cards at a given time. The ROI is not really there. I may as well just not carry the points cards.

There's no way people will pay $100 to cut their wallet down by a few millimeters.

Evan: Absolutely not. There's no way people are going to pay $100 for the convenience of a few less millimeters in their pockets.

Tony: I think people would pay a nominal up-front fee, or service fee. I feel, however, not many people would lay down $100 unless it was really proven as a time saver.

Topics: Privacy, Retail Operations, Mobile Industry, Customer Experience

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