In a far distant past, before Apple Pay, and before Target was hacked... there was this company that had a brilliant idea. Create a credit card that could hold all your other credit cards. A lot of people I know signed up for a Coin - the card that can replace all your credit cards... but it turns out the company was far from delivering the product. Over a year went by and as a result of many large credit card breaches, the US has been forced into the world of EMV credit cards. EMV cards are credit cards with little chips on them. You know the ones your European friends have. These cards have been around for ages now, but the US has been very reluctant to adopt this technology. The infrastructure investment is quite massive. You have to replace nearly every credit card terminal in the US. The benefits are huge though. It's nearly impossible to "clone" these kinds of cards. It also means when you travel to Europe now, you would be greeted with an angry stare or look of confusion when you hand them your ancient magnetic stripe card.
Apple has managed to capitalize on the timing here by taking things even further. The Apple Pay technology generates a one time use credit card number which even if stolen or hacked cannot be used for any transactions. This also guarantees your anonymity from the merchant which prevents large scale big data applications for purchasing.
I don' t know about you, but I have 5 credit cards and they are each designed to optimize for a different benefit.
- United Chase Card - zero foreign transaction fee, benefits on united (lounge, no checked bag fee, priority boarding)
- Amex Starwood card - this was my go to card in California for many years, but Amex adoption in Seattle is pretty low. But this card has great benefits as Starwood is by far the best place to bank your miles with generous transfer benefits and 5,000 bonus airline miles for every 20,000 points you transfer
- Amex Corporate - I have to have one of these
- Alaska BofA - We fly Alaska a lot, and the $99 companion fare x 2 saves us about 1,500 a year on airfare
- Amazon Chase Card - Our default card we use for all Amazon, AmazonFresh (3x points) and every day stuff. We spend our points the following month on Amazon stuff which is where we a quire most goods
So now you know what credit cards I find valuable. But I certainly don't carry this many cards around. Coin was going to solve all this.
Well after a long wait, I finally got my Coin. It does not support EMV so I have no idea how long I'll be able to use the thing. Looking at the slow rollout in the US (we may see faster Apple Pay adoption) we may get a few years usage out of this tech.
The Coin card is brilliant. There is an App for you Phone and a card reader. You swipe each card and then enter in stuff like expiration and CCV number and sync via bluetooth to the card. Then when you go to pay for something, you select the card via a small button, and the Coin tells you which card you selected (last 4 digits and exp date) and you are good to go.
The first time I use my Coin it took 4 swipes at Starbucks. I was concerned that this would be the standard from now on. However, since then I have used it a bunch without any problems.
Coin is pretty neat. It solves a real problem. I worry that it has a short shelf life though and have no idea how EMV will factor in.
But I have to say. In the same week I was paying for goods with my Apple Watch and my Coin and it felt like the future.
For $50 the coin was a decent purchase. My wife thought it was "cool". I'm giving it 3 stars for now.
★★★☆☆ Good, but nothing exceptional.