What man doesn’t live in fear of the dreaded Costanza wallet and the inevitable fallout from such monstrosity? I’m guessing not many since entire companies have been created based on this fear and embarrassment. Dramatics aside, Coin seems amazing even if you do not care about a large unsightly wallet. It is brilliant in its innovation and execution alone. Excited about the brilliance that is Coin, I rushed to share the news with one of my closest female friends. Yes… the very young lady who jumped atop my Tom Bihn BrainBag with Macbook Pro inside. Needless to say, I was met with some pushback.
On telling my friend about Coin, I was immediately brushed off with a “I don’t have that many cards.” The truth is, even if she carried around 8 cards, she usually has a clutch purse and could easily fit them inside. This made me think. I was so caught up in reducing the weight in my pants, that I failed to realize that Coin is much more than a replacement for your cards. It's peace of mind for everyone. It keeps your card information stored and safe on the Coin device and makes it so you can keep the actual issued cards safe and stored under your mattress. Nicely, Coin makes it very difficult to lose the Coin device that then replaces your actual cards.
As if to 'throw-me-a-bone', my friend stated that she could see use for Coin as a backup for her existing cards should she leave them at home or in her vehicle. In fact, Coin makes your actual cards the backup, which means that you can store those cards, the real cards, in a safe location. In this age of identity theft, the ability to easily set a Coin device to deactivate if it loses contact with the your cell phone, is boon to a consumer. This is very unlike the criminal free-for-all that ensues when a credit card has been left behind. Coin seems worth the $100 price tag if only for the benefit of avoidance. Carrying a device means you can likely avoid the headache of calling each organization to cancel each lost or stolen card, and waiting for the issuance of a replacement. Check out Coin's pitch below.
Coin's ability to work as a locator also seems like something I can get behind. I've long thought about getting a GPS device to track my wallet in a find-my-iPhone-esque way. A locator of this kind would also be very useful to my dismissive female friend. In our exchange, she mentioned that she frequently switches bags and also frequently forgets to switch the contents of the last bag she has used. At least with Coin she'll be reminded to grab 8 cards on-the-go, if not her ID. Add the redundancy of services that locate your phone such as find-my-iPhone, and the chances of you losing stuff decreases greatly.
What about the functionality of Coin outside of arguing with my friend? The product seems very functional. The device mimics the dimensions of your standard credit card close enough so that it can be swiped just like a normal credit card. It includes a button to cycle through the cards stored, and you can access more information on your phone for each card stored. While each Coin device will only store 8 debit cards, credit cards, gift cards, loyalty cards or membership cards, the Coin companion app can store an unlimited number of cards. The company seems to have thought of everything; while Coin works in conjunction with your cell phone, it is a “stand alone” device and does not need to be within range of your phone to be operable.
You just know there is a battery involved, so what about the battery life? The company says using Bluetooth LE the battery in each Coin will last up to 2 years in normal usage which they define as a user toggling and swiping their Coin 10-20 times a day. After this time a user will need to replace their Coin. At the preorder price of $50, this seems a bit more acceptable, than at the $100 MSRP we will need to shell out for a new Coin after the pre-order discount has ended. This is perhaps the one area where the company may receive some real backlash. There is a justifiable argument that a Coin user would essentially be paying $100 for a battery. However, I'm not too worried. The minds that created such a seemingly magical product, will surely find a way to provide customers with a discount or other solution for replacing a Coin, where the only need (normal wear and tear excused) for replacement is a depleted battery.
That said, come summer 2014 there will be a Coin in my murse, and likely a Coin in my friend's purse.