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Digital credit card replacement Coin calls for 10,000 more testers

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.

by MacNN Staff



  1. Fonejacker

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 01-11-10

    This seems like an excellent ideal/product, but it's an USA only product. The rest of the world uses Chip & Pin technology. As of 2004, 100 countries were using it. What was American credit card companies/Retailers doing during this period???? So its appeal is limited to the USA only. It will fail unless Chip & Pin can be incorporated into this product, also this price needs come down, hugely. The USA is at least 10 years behind the rest of the world, why? European restaurants have wireless credit card terminals. Americans are amazed to see these, yet it's common in all of Europe. Even McDonalds in Europe have these.

  1. coffeetime

    Senior User

    Joined: 11-15-06

    It's easy for Europe to adapt due to smaller size country footprints. USA is huge and to adapt anything new is expensive....50 states to update.

  1. Fonejacker

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 01-11-10

    Coffeetime: If you look at a map of Europe and USA, it's nearly the same size. Europe is 10,180,000 km2, USA is 9,826,675 km2, so USA is smaller. Europe has 742 million people. USA only 313 million. Europe has had Chip & Pin since 2004. We are in 2014, so why does USA still not have it 10 years later? 100 other countries also have Chip & Pin, since 2004. America invented the Internet, but it has some of the slowest Internet speeds of any European country and most other countries. USA is not the size of Russia, it can lay fibre optic cables next to its old railway network cheaper than other countries and try to catch up with the rest of the world. Some countries in Europe such as Spain, France, Germany or Poland are bigger than 5 US states combined. Your excuse, does not hold water. USA is simply behind the rest of the world.

  1. Flying Meat

    Dedicated MacNNer

    Joined: 01-25-07

    B-b-but, Free Enterprise! :

  1. moonmonkey

    Professional Poster

    Joined: 01-13-01

    What..... USA do not even have chips, this is hilarious, just like the 1960's.
    The rest of the world have contactless technology AKA VISA Paywave.
    Catch up already.

  1. abbaZaba

    Mac Elite

    Joined: 06-14-06

    This has been getting a huge amount of flak in their insider-only site.

    I was an early donator, with the expectation of getting a working version this summer. Now they are asking for even more beta testers and forgoing your chance at a Gold Standard version without paying extra money? Huh?

    Also, October 2015 is the cutoff date for merchants to implement chip and signature cards, which are the new type of cards rolling out in the US. (Yes I am aware we are very late to the party on this).

    If their new promise of having a working version out by Summer 2015 (almost two years later than initially promised and $30 more) holds true, you are now left with a device that will be around for ~3 months before becoming technologically obsolete. I understand that cards won't stop working on a single date in Oct 2015, however the new policy states that the entity with the outdated technology will be the liable party in the event of fraudulent charges. Bigtime merchants WILL switch over fully to avoid the liability, as will major banks. Now you're left using your fancy new Coin with old magnetic and liable for bugs in the system or your number being lifted manually.

    This is pretty ridiculous and I am pretty salty how they decided to handle this. Since when does signing up for a beta cause a user to pay more? We're helping you iron out your system and then we STILL have to pay more to receive a non-beta version? That will be obsoleted in 3 months? 50% off future purchases isn't enough. The Gold Standard version should be free if you enter the beta program, plain and simple, in addition to a discount on the inevitable new product they'll offer that will be chip and signature. This looks very much like a bait and switch practice.

  1. And.reg

    Mac Elite

    Joined: 02-22-04

    I've always found Coin to be an interesting concept. But why is it even in beta? What's taking it so long to get accepted/out there for everyone?

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