Coin Virtual Mobile Wallet review

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The Coin is a credit card device that allows you to carry multiple credit cards, rewards, membership and debit cards all in one. We take the Coin through a month long testing.  Read along and see the YouTube video for unboxing, setup and more on usage.

Look and Feel
The first ting we noticed about the Coin was the resemblance to an actual credit card. The sizing and thickness were the same. The look of Coin is sleek being all black except for a small LCD type window where information is displayed.  The back has your personal name and a signature block area for identification purposes if needed. There is no added weight and the solid black color with white trim/lettering really stands out when you use it.
Coin device in hand
The front of the Coin has a small button below the LCD screen where it displays a few key things from cards you have synched to it.  A four letter abbreviation of the card, the last four digits and the expiration date (if applicable) are shown. This prevents anyone from ever seeing an entire account number.

The Battery
You may immediately question the battery life of the Coin and how to change it. You cannot change the Coin battery at all.  To keep the slim look they have sealed it inside.  According to their support website you can expect about two years of life with average usage.  They even specify what they think average usage is.  I found myself constantly using it the first few days but it then became just like any other credit or membership card and I would need to activate it maybe once or twice a day.

The application
The Coin has an application on both iOS and Android. You can only synchronize the Coin with one device. This is only necessary for it to be automatically unlocked (via Bluetooth) or to use the Lock and Find feature.  The Coin can be used without the device close by.  The application was easy to use and understand. You add credit, debit and other cards to the application. They should be added with the provided card swipe unit that goes into your device audio port. This is the same device system like Square use to read cards.

Adding cards to Coin

I had some issues swiping to be honest.  Some cards took only one or two tries with others had me questioning the whole adding process.  The Coin website states that swipe performance has been improved in version 2.0 due in 2016. Be patient and try adding the cards to the app at a different sped and make sure it is level.  The tiny unit seems to be the issue and not the application.

The application can have an unlimited number of cards added, yet the Coin can only hold eight cards of any type at one time.  Data is stored securely with encryption inside the application and a card number is never shown on your phone screen.  Data is also transferred to your phone when synching with encryption.  Both the application and the Coin use a tap to unlock type security.  Picure using Morse Code taps in a pattern only you know to unlock.

Synching your phone to the Coin is simple and over Bluetooth.  Holding the button on the front of the Coin until it says Sync and then clicking the sync button in the app sends over and updates card data on the Coin. Remember to check the boxes next to what cards you want pushed to the Coin.  The synch worked each time and only took a few moments depending on how many cards you were changing or adding and removing.

Using Coin in the Real World
Here is where things get fun and I will summarize. I had a darn good success rate. I had 3 failures the whole time

  • Inside a payment machine for a parking garage. It kept saying invalid card for some reason
  • At a restaurant that used Track 1 on a credit card which stores your actual name.  Coin does not use this track (see their support)
  • At a fast food place where the cashier insisted on swiping the Coin six hundred times very fast then handing it back.  I said do it once at a normal rate and cashier went super slow staring me in the face and handed it back. Before I got frustrated I took it back.

The expression when you handed it over was either a bit of surprise since i looks so different or one of not caring as long as it swiped successfully.  I always made sure I had the right card selected when handing it over and never had a problem with them accidentally switching it by clicking the button.

I was able to use the Coin without the device nearby using the tap to unlock feature I mention above and in the video. This was a great way to carry only the Coin along.  I also tested the multi usage of the coin by selecting a rewards card and handing it over, then changing it to the credit card I wanted to use and handing it back.  The cashier looked baffled and I said, "just swipe.  Its ok. Relax".  Everything went perfect.

Since there is the LCD and battery inside the Coin, bending or washing it is not a great idea.  A few sprinkles of a beverage should not be an issue but soaking it would definitely damage it.

While the Coin has no chip yet or NFC, the website is now taking pre-orders for an EMV capable card that will support NFC (no chip). This will allow you to select the card you wish to use and tap and pay.  The awesome news is that Coin version 1 users can upgrade to the new one for free from inside the app.  That is a great business move by Coin or they would lose some early adopters.

I carry Coin daily now. I use it wherever I can feeling better no one can copy numbers from my card. When version 2.0 comes along with NFC tap and pay it will become even more useful as vendors slowly change over to EMV type payment systems. Forget the geek toy feeling, I actually feel a bit more secure even if I lost it. There is nothing for them to immediately use since I have Lock and Find enabled as well.  If my device is along I can see the last known place to maybe help me track it down.  If they can add a feature like Tile (crows sourced location of a lost item) then that would be even more helpful.

I would head over and pre order the V2 of Coin.  This will be helpful for all the places in the world that don;t take Apple Pay or even stick around with the older swiping way of doing business.  See the YouTube video for the setup, opinions and more.

Please see all the product reviews here on the IdoNotes blog and subscribe to the SpikedStudio channel or product review playlist  on YouTube