For more than a year, Coin has declared itself happy to take care of your credit cards. Now the little electronic card is finally showing up in the hands of a few lucky consumers.
Coin is a digital wallet in physical form, a storage place for your credit and debit card information that can be carried around in your pocket and used at will as an alternative to fumbling around for various cards or keeping tracking of multiple accounts and PINs. You swipe it just like a normal card, and use the accompanying smartphone app to keep track of all the details.
The Coin startup has faced more than a few challenges while raising capital – notably, a few technical bugs, a postponed release date, and a lot of security issues regarding how credit card information was to be stored and kept safe on the slim device. Answers were slow in coming, in large part because there were no Coins out in the wild being tested.
Eventually, Coin raised more than $15 million: During its crowdfunding, those who paid extra were rewarded with a promise of receiving Coin Beta devices – and according to a collection of Tweets and reports, a few of those first Coins are finally being shipped out.
If you are one of those who spent around $55 for a Coin Beta, keep an eye on your mailbox and expect a package to arrive at long last. So far it isn’t clear why some people are receiving their Coins and some aren’t – perhaps a hand selection process is occurring. Hopefully, all Beta buyers will receive their devices before long. You can also preorder from the Coin website, although a new Coin will cost $100.
How these first Coins perform will help the entire “universal credit card” project sink or swim. For now, Coin still has a lot of questions to answer. Does security really measure up? How will Coin manage the widespread credit card upgrades and changes due to sweep the United States in the next year or two (many of which will make swiping a thing of the past). Coin is also facing a couple challenges quick to jump on the universal card bandwagon. One notable rival is Plastc, which boasts an e-ink strip, more dataspace, support for NFC, RFID, Chip and other card protocols. Apple Pay and the Final card are additional contenders. Can Coin still finish first? Let’s see how it performs in the real world.