Ben Todd | Apr 16, 2017 | 3
Coin 2 vs Plastc vs Swyp Smart Cards – Which Is The Best?
There are numerous types of technology that call themselves a Smart Card, but the term is slowly being normalized so that people think of Coin, Plastc or Swyp cards when they think Smart Cards. A Smart Card is, as per its modern definition/meaning, is a card filled with technology that acts as a digital wallet for your bankcards, credit cards and store/loyalty cards.
Imagine you sanded off the embossed numbers and letters on your credit card, and you pressed together three of them, that is how thick a Smart Card by Coin, Plastc and Swyp is. A Smart Card will fit in an ATM and it will fit in a card terminal swipe mechanism.
What Do All The Cards Have In Common?
All of them allow you to store your bankcards, credit cards and loyalty/store cards onto them. You may then use your cards via the Smart Card devices.
They Are All Digital Wallets With Electronic Cards
They all act as digital wallets, which mean you may load your cards onto them and store their information for later use. An online wallet may then allow you to use your cards online, but since the Smart Card is a physical card, you may use your bank/credit/loyalty cards both offline and online.
Each Of The Smart Cards Comes With A Card Reader
It is quite possible for you to enter your card details into the app manually, but to make things easier, and to allow you to add loyalty cards, each Smart Card purchase includes a card reader. Attach the reader to your Smartphone or your computer and it allows you to scan your cards and upload their information to your Smart Card app.
Every Smart Card Has An App
Coin, Plastc and Swyp all offer an exclusive app that works with your Smart Card. The app allows you to operate the card reader, and it encrypts your information. It also helps you manage your card, manage your account, and even manage your budget in some cases. In addition, none of the SmartCards allows you to add your photo ID such as your driving license to the Smart Card, but Plastc allows you to add a photo image of yourself.
All Are Equipped With EMV technology
Coin 2.0, Plastc and Swyp all have EMV technology installed, but none of them has chip-and-pin technology. All three have said they plan to include chip-and-pin technology in their future cards. Plastc is unable to use its EMV technology at the moment, which means Plastc’s tap-and-pay functions may not work right away. Coin has reported problems with EMV, but their current plans include its free use with their card. Once Plastc update their EMV software, you will be able to tap-and-pay with your Plastc card the same way you may tap-and-pay with your Coin 2.0 and Swyp Smart Card.
All Allow You To Pay By Swiping
All three varieties of card have a magnetic stripe running down them. The Smart Cards are able to adjust the information that the stripes hold, which means they may take the place of all almost all of the swipeable cards in your house. If a merchant in the US has a card terminal (if he/she takes card payments), then the merchant will accept swipe payments. The only exception is Coin. The way they have set up their magnetic strip means that some companies may not accept a Coin card, but the company is working on this problem.
All Of The Smart Cards Have Contactless NFC technology
They are all able to make contactless payments to merchants because all three cards have Near Field Communications (NFC) technology. The fact that SmartCards allow for both contactless payments and physical swipe or tap payment means they outshine and outclass mobile pay technology such as that offered by Google and Apple.
You Have To Pay For The Cards And A Subscription
The cards are not free, which is fair enough, but using them is not free either. You have to subscribe if you wish to use your card, the app, and the digital wallet. All of them have similar security measures that ask you to unlock the card in some way before you use it to pay for something.
A Quick Rundown Of A Few Coin 2.0 Smart Card Facts
Coin has developed their Smart Card with simplicity in mind. They are not looking to create the most visually appealing card, or even a card that is fun to play with, their card does its job and nothing more. It is simple but efficient.
- It has one tactile button that you click to navigate
- The Coin 2.0 Smart Card holds up to eight cards
- You may change which cards are loaded via app
- It beeps when your phone moves out of radius
- The Coin app tracks the location of your Smart Card
- Your card activates automatically if your phone is nearby
- Unlock your card with a Morse Code sequence of button presses
- Enter the sequence wrong three times and it erases your info
- You have to report the card lost on the Coin website
- Report your card lost and the card will lock and wipe itself
- The battery lasts for two years before needing to be replaced
- The Coin app works for iOS and Android operating systems
- Future Coin Smart Cards may have a rechargeable battery
- The Coin card is not as widely accepted as Swyp and Plastc
A Quick Rundown Of A Few Plastc Smart Card Facts
The Plastc Smart Card was built to be impressive. It is not a simple and efficient design; it has all the bells and whistles that some people demand from their technology. Their functions and features are not unnecessary, but they are a few steps above the minimum requirement for a Smart Card. Their Smart Card looks and acts great, with the only downside being that it need recharging monthly.
- The e-ink touch screen is very sophisticated
- It is the only card to use tapping via a touch screen interface
- Activate your card with your phone or with a PIN number
- The e-ink screen shows you your card details when you select
- It shows your card numbers so merchants feel more at ease
- You may show your ID and/or signature on the screen
- It shows your photo image after it is swiped on the card terminal
- It has EMV technology that will work when the software updates
- Your info is deleted if you phone moves away from your card
- It re-downloads your information from your phone app
- You have to recharge your Plastc Smart Card every 30 days
- The Plastc app keeps track of your spending
- Your Plastc app may also act as a budget-tracking app
- It can create more complex and detailed bar codes
- Its barcodes makes it compatible with more loyalty/store cards
A Quick Rundown Of A Few Swyp Smart Card Facts
The Swyp Smart Card holds the happy middle ground. There is the functional but efficient Coin card, there is the bells and whistles Plastc card, and there is the average Swyp card. It isn’t lacking in features, and it hasn’t gone the minimalist like the Coin card, but it isn’t as sleek or feature rich as the Plastc card. It is the sensible person’s choice for people that do not want to play with their Smart Card, but that also want something that is the step up from basic.
- A small screen allows you to see which card you selected
- There is a middle button, a left arrow and right arrow button
- The Swyp digital wallet allows you to send gift vouchers
- Send money to friends that also have a Swyp Smart Card
- View the balance you have on your monetary cards
- View the online balances of your loyalty and gift cards
- The Smart Card learns which cards you are most likely to pay with
- It learns the times you are most likely to pay with a certain card
- The card stores your transactions to help monitor your spending
- Your card locks until you enter your pin code
- It will activates automatically when you and your phone are near
- The battery life is between one and two years
- The battery may be recharged promotion instead of replaced
- Its buttons cannot be activated when the card is used in an ATM
- You may lock it to use just one payment card
How Many Cards Do The Smart Card Devices Hold?
The app software allows you to load as many cards you like onto your phone, which you may place on to whichever of the smart cards you buy. All the apps will take in as many cards as you swipe through the reader, and they will encrypt the information on all of them. With the app, you are only limited by your phone memory as to how many cards you may store, but your Smart Card has a smaller memory bank, which means you are limited to how many cards you may use.
Coin 2.0 – Eight Cards
It allows you to store a great many cards in its software and app system, but you may only use eight at a time
Swyp – Twenty Five Cards
Few people have more than five bankcards and credit cards. Swyp assumes that you have a great many loyalty cards, store cards, gift cards and so forth, so they have left space for 25 active cards.
Plastc – Twenty (or more)
The developers seem to keep tweaking the design of their card. The first reports were that the card may load twenty cards for active use, but users have claimed they can use more. The official position is that only 20 may loaded and remain active, but that may change.
Which Card Looks The Best?
Plastc wins this one hands down, then it is Swyp, and finally it is Coin 2.0. The large e-ink screen on the Plastc Smart Card is very attractive, and the graphics are sleek, smooth and impressive.
The design and the small digital display on the Swyp is the reason it follows in second place. The single button and small digital display on the Coin Smart Card is the reason it is the least aesthetically pleasing.
Which Of The Smart Cards Is The Most Expensive?
Prices subject to change. The biggest seller is currently the Plastc version, and it currently has the brightest future. There is a lot of talk about the market already outgrowing Smart Cards, especially from Coin employees, but Plastc seems to have a fighting chance against mobile payment software such as that provided by Apple and Google.
Plastc – Between $155 and $180 + $50 per year
Depending on when you order, your card will cost between $155 and $180, plus you have to subscribe for $50 per year.
Swyp – Variable between $99 and $79 + no subscription fee
The cost of Swyp smart cards varies, but the average is $99 for and $79 if you buy two at once. You also have to pay shipping fees. There is no subscription fee and no transaction fees, so it is unclear how the company intends to make money.
Coin 2.0 – Between $20 and $99
The second generation of Coin has already sold out. When the third version will be available in unknown, but like Swyp they are not charging a subscription fee. Part (or all) of the company has been sold to FitBit, and they may determine when the next generation of Coin Smart Card is released.
Final Note – How Accurate Is This Article?
This article was written in 2016, and all three companies are still working out the bugs in their software, hardware and marketing. Stories seem to differ depending on which executive is answering our questions. For example, EMV should be available with Coin, but their FAQ section says it isn’t. All three companies claim that their Smart Cards can use NFC, and yet some of their staff says1 that the NFC will not be an active feature for months.
Conclusion – It Is Very Difficult To Tell Which Is Worth Your Money!
The truth is that all three companies are racing to add the most technology, and some are falling behind. For example, Coin and Swyp have said their next generation of devices will not have tactile (clicky) buttons, and both claim they are working on rechargeable batteries, and Plastc say they are working on including chip-and-pin tech into their cards. In short, you should keep your finger on the pulse of Smart Cards because there is a lot going on.