Recently, Coin hit the pre-order market as a revolutionary new way to handle multiple credit cards. It’s essentially an electronic credit card that can hold multiple credit card accounts on one card. Bloggers have been raving about this new device so that they can eat up the $5 referrals the affiliate link brings if they pre-order.

Here’s an introduction to the card if you haven’t seen it:

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w9Sx34swEG0">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w9Sx34swEG0</a>

You’d think that as someone who has far too many credit cards (I’m not in debt mind you), I’d be all over this new device. Well, I don’t think it’s a good investment and here’s why.

Coin Will Drain Your Phone Battery


Not directly at least, but Coin does connect to your phone via Bluetooth to ensure that you haven’t left the card behind. If you do leave Coin behind, it will deactivate the device. This would pose a severe inconvenience to me, as my phone barely lasts 6 hours under normal usage. With Bluetooth enabled (not even actually connected) the battery drains almost twice as quickly. Coin tried to cover this pitfall with this comment:

Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) is designed to consume very little power and in addition to that we’ve carefully optimized communication between the Coin and Coin mobile app. Under normal usage, a Coin’s battery should last 2 years.

I don’t believe it. Please add the ability to disconnect your phone and still be operational! Every single one of my credit cards can.

The Battery Only Lasts Two Years

If draining my cellphone battery weren’t bad enough, Coin’s battery is irreplaceable, just like Apple’s iPhone and iPod lines. Nothing screams “we’ll take more of your money” than:

Once the battery dies you will need to replace your Coin.

There goes another $100…

Coin Does Not Support EMV Chips

Coin is currently designed for the U.S. market and does not support chip and pin (EMV), however, future generations of the device will include EMV.

“Not yet” at least. Even the United States is going to be using the EMV chip by 2015 when liability for fraud shifts from the credit card processors (MasterCard, Visa, etc.) to the card issuers (Citi, Chase, Capital One, etc.).

What is EMV?

emv chip credit cardIf you’ve ever been to Europe, you probably know. You can’t go to a restaurant without half of the waiters unable to figure how to swipe a credit card.

Essentially, EMV or “Europay, MasterCard and Visa,” adds additional security to your credit or debit card by requiring the card to have a little chip. If the machine reading the card detects the chip and the encryption on the chip matches the card, the customer enters their pin on a keypad. Only after all of this verification does the transaction process.

Currently, Coin does not offer support for EMV and even if they did, the whole point of having an EMV chip is to make sure you actually have the card. Isn’t putting credit card information on another device essentially what card skimmers do?

Consolidated Credit Cards Have Failed Before

Originally intended as a pay-by-phone method, Google Wallet failed years ago. They’re trying to make a comeback by releasing a card very similar to Coin, but it has the same pitfalls. PayPass has yet to gain traction. Coin may yet be the survivor in this battle, but with so many failures behind us, it’s hard to see this one succeeding and becoming a relied upon payment method.