… If they can get all the bugs worked out and pacify the angry mob of crowdfunders who pre-ordered their Coin card near going on two years now!
And certainly they do need to find a way to leap out of the beta phase and release a somewhat final version.
I finally received my bluetooth Coin card a couple of weeks ago. The first place I tried it (Walmart) it didn’t work. Card not recognized, or some such error came up multiple times. The cashier tried a number of tricks that we’ve all seen before — putting the card inside a shopping bag, etc. Luckily, being the savvy tech-tester that I am, I kept all my cards in my wallet just in case and proceeded to by my omega-3s and other supplements.
Lucky for the cash hungry CEOs at Walmart; not such a great first run with the card I’d been waiting over two years for though…
So I left Walmart a little annoyed, but still hopeful it would work. And I’d been lucky to only have shelled out $55 since I got in early back in 2013. They’ve now jumped the price up to $100 and change, which to me speaks to the obvious cash-strapped company trying to get more money for funding rather than the card’s popularity rising.
After the Walmart hiccup, the card has worked in all places but a single off-the-beaten path Esso gas station. By the way, this thing is currently a real conversation piece if you’re a social flower!
It’s pretty cool to use, though I’ll admit there are a few things I still don’t care for:
- We live in the chip-card era and you have to swipe Coin. To me this is silly considering it is in fact a bluetooth device. Why muddy up and scratch the card when a simple chip could be mounted instead, just like all modern credit and debit cards. We even have tap now for most major cards.
- Two and sometimes three swipes are often required to get the POS to recognize the card. I have no explanation for this either. New debit and credit cards (back before chip technology) would only start to give problems later in their usable life, after the strip had significant scuff marks on it.
- The black finish on the card isn’t very durable. After a couple of weeks, there are several unsightly scratches on the Coin. I’ll admit to using it several times, however my year-old debit and Capital One credit card don’t have any visible signs of wear — and I’ve use them a whole bunch more.
I love the simplicity in being able to cycle through different cards using the single button functionality on my Coin. And new cards can be loaded onto it easily to. There’s an adapter on the coin that plugs into the headphone jack on my smartphone. Once connected, I can add new cards onto it using the Coin app. You don’t actually need to have your smartphone with you while making purchases, but perhaps another mild gripe I have is that the phone and card have to be connected each time you want to shuffle from one card to the next — from debit to credit for instance.
This is a small price to pay for security, but it’s not as easy as choosing a card from your wallet.
You’re probably thinking at this point that I’m about to recommend this device just like all the other reviewers out there who’ve received their beta Coin.
- No chip technology.
- Buggy operation (ie., multiple swipes and chances it won’t work).
- Poor finish on the card — can’t imagine how it’ll look a year from now.
- Battery is only rated for 2 years of use — not rechargeable or replaceable which is no shock considering how it’s the same dimensions as a credit card.
- Quite honestly, I just don’t get the convenience advantage it offers — I still need to carry my license, passport, health card and other identification items, so going wallet-less is not an option.
If I were an Apple guy, Apple Pay seems like a real convenience item because of its tap-and-go functionality, but they have a long ways to go before it’s a remotely reliable payment method in 100% of the locations its users frequent.
Verdict: I see no reason to spend $100 or more every couple of years for the limited convenience Coin offers. I see it as a long, drawn out, over-hyped fad that will fizzle out much faster than it took Coin to dole out this disappointing first release of their product.