The Card to End All Cards: Could Coin Put the Kibosh on Plastic?

The Card to End All Cards: Could Coin Put the Kibosh on Plastic?

If a cashier asked you to pay with all coins, you would probably think he was crazy.

But if he asked to you pay with Coin, he would be ahead of the tech curve.

This new product, from the San Francisco start-up of the same name, is a card-like gadget that stores information from your credit cards, debit cards and even gift cards in one place, enabling you to pay with the card of your choice while your actual card is safe at home. It will be released in summer 2014.

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Coin can store information for up to eight different credit cards, which you can scan into the Coin mobile app using a reader. The app then syncs with the actual card-like device.

When it's time to pay at the register, you can choose which account you want to use by pressing a single button to cycle through your options. You can see your choices displayed by the last four digits on the card, the expiration date and the security code, and the magnetic strip changes on demand. The cashier can swipe it just like she would the actual card.

The thing that makes Coin so accessible, the company's C.E.O. Kanishk Parashar tells The Verge, is that using the product doesn't require much behavior change. Instead of swiping your credit or ATM card, you swipe Coin.

Understandably, the idea of keeping all of your credit card information in one place—without it being super-glued to your hand or sewn into your pocket—is raising some questions about security. But the gadget "pings" your phone regularly while it's in range; if it goes out of range, your phone will alert you. If Coin goes missing for a prolonged period (the company hasn't decided exactly how long yet), it shuts off.

Interested in trying it for yourself? You can pre-order Coin through the company's website for $50, or purchase it for $100 when it's released next summer.

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