updated 01:11 pm EDT, Fri August 22, 2014
Coin asks backers to test card before public launch
Payment startup Coin is expanding its base of testers for its digital credit card replacement from 1,000 to 11,000 people. The crowd-funded project, which consists of a plastic card with a screen capable of storing various payment card details and can be swiped at ATMs and payment terminals, is attempting to fix as many issues as possible before it makes the card publicly available.
While it has been in testing for some time, Coin only works with 85 percent of credit card terminals, with the team needing more users to try out the card in order to improve the figure. The company is writing to the earliest 10,000 backers to see if anyone is willing to test the card, reports The Verge. If a backer accepts the beta, they will receive a Coin prototype months before the public can buy the card, though they will be exchanging their paid-for retail version to do so. Testers will receive a discount of 70 percent off the Coin's cost when it is released, as well as a 50 percent discount off Coin products bought over the next three years.
Initially launched in November, Coin uses a combination of a mobile app and a Square-style card reader to input credit and debit card details, with the smartphone camera used to take a picture for future reference. The app then synchronizes with the Coin card over Bluetooth, with the connection also used to warn if the card has been left behind at a store or restaurant. The Coin user can then switch between cards by pressing a button, with the display updating to show which payment method is active, and the magnetic strip automatically switches to match the payment card just as it is being swiped.
A firm release date for Coin has yet to be set, but it is believed to cost somewhere in the region of $100 when it ships. The mobile apps will be more immediate, with the iOS app launching on August 28th, and the Android version due on September 25th.