Promising breakthrough technology
In old good days, the credit card was a symbol of wealth and prosperity of its owner. Not anymore. Most people carry multiple cards for various purposes in their purses. Why not using a single one? Well, there may be multiple reasons:
* Multiple cards offer bigger borrowing potential as summary of credit lines.
* You can play smart by using promotions on one card for the balances transfers to pay for other card debts.
* Many cards use the selected promotions on the incentives, related to the particular categories of purchases.
* Some stores (like Costco) allow paying with particular credit card only.
* Using different credit cards to distinguish between personal and business purchases,
… and many more…
A new business proposal from Coin, a company based in San Francisco, is what you may really want – they offer you to replace every credit card in your wallet with a single all-in-one programmable credit card. Coin allows you to load up to eight cards onto a single plastic device.
'This is designed for the lifestyle of today with the technology of tomorrow,” says Kanishk Parashar, founder of Coin. 'You don’t need eight cards every day, so your phone is kind of like your drawer, and your Coin is kind of like your wallet.'
Users then take photos of their cards, swipe them through the dongle and upload them to the Coin mobile app, which stores the info onto your Coin card. When you want to pay, you browse through stored cards on your Coin, select one, and swipe it anywhere credit, debit or gift cards are accepted.
Information is loaded onto the card through a mobile app. The process of adding card information to the mobile app is very simple and is done by taking a picture or two and swiping credit cards through a dongle attached to your phone.
In order to make a payment with this card, users tap a button on the Coin card and pick which account they want to pay with, whether it's a business credit card or a personal debit card. To differentiate between cards, Coin displays the last four digits of each card, its expiration date, and the security code. After picking an account, the Coin card is swiped through, no different than any other card.
The Coin card uses a Bluetooth emitter which means if the card is left behind for any reason the card will no longer function. The battery in Coin, said to last up to two years, powers a small display screen that shows which saved card will be charged, along with its expiration date.
Cards are entered into Coin after being swiped on a Square-like dongle plugged into a smartphone.
There are also few worries about leaving the card behind somewhere or losing it altogether.
The coin card only operates if your smartphone is nearby by using the Bluetooth signals. If the card is disconnected for more than ten minutes, the phone will alert the customer that they have left their card behind. If the owner drifts too far from Coin, his or her smartphone will alert them. If the card is disconnected for more than 10 minutes, it automatically disables itself, which could potentially be an issue if a phone runs out of juice.
Coin can be preordered for $55, with an expected delivery time of summer 2014. Later, it plans on selling the cards for $100 each.
You can pre-order your device through the following link: https://onlycoin.com/
Will Oreumus, a blogger with FutureTense, isn't convinced the technology has a chance for successful takeoff. “To me, the only real problem with Coin is that it feels like a stopgap technology, like those CD-changer cartridges that were popular for a little while before everyone switched to mp3s. Replacing eight cards with one may lighten your load by an ounce or two, but is that enough to convince people to take the leap of faith involved in adopting a new payment system?
Even early adopters could be forgiven for holding out for a more comprehensive digital wallet—the kind that will let you pay for everything just by tapping your phone, or perhaps some other, even more seamless gesture.”
Here are more warning notes which may let you think twice before preordering this new device:
* “Putting all your eggs in one basket” would allow thieves to skim not just one card at a time, but all of them, or grab all your credit card info by simply hacking your smartphone. Along the same lines, if the card stops or malfunctions or your phone runs out of batteries (and drops contact with Coin) you won’t have access to back-up cards.
* This device will not be useful in many countries, since Canada, Mexico and most of Europe use Chip and PIN (EMV protocol). In fact, Coin’s cards might not be usable for long because the similar protocol might become a standard in the USA by 2015.
* Cloning your own credit card might be in violation of some terms with your credit company. The Coin card reader and its card-duplicating system are essentially "cloning" credit cards and may violate industry standards, and possibly laws against forgery.
* Before the card will be adopted to the general public and businesses, you may see that some stores and other points of sale might not accept the Coin card as unfamiliar and not trusted device.
While the Coin products are not delivered to the users, the business is lucky to have a direct competitor.
Boston-based startup Loop has just released its own mobile payments device for iPhone -- one that works at most traditional U.S. retail outlets. The Loop Fob is a small device that allows users to store credit card information on the iPhone, and then wirelessly pay at any traditional magnetic stripe reader.
The cost is $39, and it can be purchased at the following link: http://www.looppay.com/product/fob/
The Loop Fob can be used while attached to the iPhone, or it can store a single card and be used separately at restaurants and bars. The company says payment data is encrypted and stored on the Loop Fob device, and no credit card info is ever stored on the iPhone.
Loop also has a dedicated $99 iPhone case in the works which will be released later this year. It will allow Loop owners to make touch less credit card payments without needing a separate hardware device. All the necessary technology will be built into the iPhone case. The fob will still be used to read credit cards for storage, however.
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