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Coin 2.0 SmartCard And Digital Wallet Review

Coin 2.0 SmartCard And Digital Wallet Review

Update 2016 – No further Coin 2.0 SmartCards will be produced. The product was very successful, but it is yet unclear if the original company will create Coin 3.0, or if the project will be sold to another compnay. The story seems to change every month, though we suspect that the original company is holding off to see how well Plastc does before they more money is invested into Coin 3.0.

The Coin 2.0 SmartCard is a fairly unique device. There are plenty of cards that claim to be Smart Cards, but the Coin 2.0 SmartCard exists as one of four cards on the market. Plastc, Coin, Swyp and Stratos have all produced cards with electronics inside that are able to act as a digital wallet you may use in the real world (i.e. offline and online).

The Coin 2.0 SmartCard is also referred to as a credit card, but it is actually a credit card holder. They describe themselves as more like the wallet you hold your cards in, but that is not strictly true either. The SmartCard allows you to load a number of credit cards, bankcards and loyalty cards onto it. When you pay using the SmartCard, you pick the account or card you wish to pay with, and hand over your SmartCard to complete the transaction. It means you may leave your cards at home and only take out your Coin 2.0 SmartCard.

It Comes With A Card Reader

shows what the coin 2.0 card comes with

Buy a Coin, Plastc or Swyp SmartCard, and you will receive a card reader. You will not with Stratos because the company has gone out of business. The card reader attaches to your PC or your Smartphone. Download the Coin app and attach the reader. Swipe your cards through the reader and it loads them onto your Coin 2.0 Smartcard. You may then leave your cards at home and take out your SmartCard when you go shopping.

Pay With Contactless Or Swipe

The reason why SmartCards are so widely accepted is because they use contactless Near Field Communications (NFC) technology, which is what is used by contactless cards and Smartphones with mobile pay. SmartCards also have a swipe strip, which means they may be used by merchants that have card terminals. If a regular credit card is accepted, then so is a SmartCard. However, Coin 2.0 SmartCards are not accepted by some merchants at the moment, but that will change very shortly in the US.

What Is Coin, Coin 2 and Coin 2.0?

Coin is the name of the company that issues the SmartCard. The name “Coin 2” refers to the most recent generation of Coin SmartCard that most people call the Coin 2.0 card. Coin 2.0 is what the company calls its newest card that is EMV-ready and incorporates NFC technology. The cards you buy from the Coin Company are all Coin 2.0 cards; they are no longer selling first-generation cards.

Since they are no longer producing Coin 1.0 Smart Cards, you may assume that people are talking about the company when they mention Coin, or that they are talking about the second generation SmartCard when they talk about their “Coin” card.

Where Is Coin 2.0 Accepted?

Coin was and is the only SmartCard Company to issue a list of bigger brand name merchants that did not accept it. However, they should have held off because their Coin 2.0 may not be accepted everywhere right now, but the October 2015 liability laws (regarding card payments) are now in effect in the US. This liability law means merchants are rushing to get chip-and-pin (EMV) card terminals and NFC (contactless) terminals.

The Coin 2.0 SmartCard has a magnetic strip on it that allows it to be swiped into card terminals. However, without getting too technical, the Plastc, Swyp and Stratos SmartCards have a magnetic strip that can be read by all card terminals, and the Coin SmartCard has a strip that can be read by most (but not all) card terminals.

Shows what emv is

The Coin 2.0 SmartCard has EMV in it and it works on EMV card terminals. Since swiping is soon to become obsolete in the US, EMV will replace it, meaning that Coin 2.0 SmartCards will be accepted wherever merchants have a card terminal. In addition, many merchants are rushing out to get contactless card terminals, and the Coin 2.0 card allows for NFC contactless payment.

Paying For Your SmartCard

When you order your card, it also comes with a card reader. The tech you order is very sophisticated, so it is no surprise that the Coin Company charges for purchase and charges a subscription fee for their service. Since the price of their SmartCard and their service changes so often, we have not included a price list on this article.

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There Is Only One Button To Press

In order to keep things simple, the Coin card only has one button. You keep clicking until you reach the card you wish to use, at which point you stop clicking and it is chosen. The card that you stop on is the card that is charged. The app only holds eight cards, so there is not much clicking to do.

The single-button idea is not as bad as it sounds. Any form of accidental clicking/pressing will cause no problems at all, pushing it into ATMs doesn’t hurt it, and the button is highly responsive with a quick reaction time.

Loading Your Cards Onto Your Coin 2.0 SmartCard

Your card comes with a card reader. You may connect the reader to your PC or your Smartphone. Run your credit cards, bankcards, loyalty cards, trade cards and so forth through the reader while the Coin app/software is installed, and it loads your information into the app. The app transfers the card into onto your SmartCard.

You may only load eight cards onto your SmartCard, but adding and removing cards is so easy and so quick that the limited number of cards shouldn’t matter. In truth, the eight-card limit may dissuade some people from using their SmartCard to store loyalty cards.

showing the coin 2.0 smartcard and its app

The Card Will Beep At You

Like an attention hungry Tamagotchi (remember cyber pets?), your Coin 2.0 SmartCard is going to beep at you. Your SmartCard stays in contact with your Smartphone if your Smartphone has the Coin app installed. If your card moves out of a certain radius distance from your phone, the card will start to beep to tell you that you are leaving it behind.

Just like Coin’s competitor apps, if you leave your card and it moves out of radius of your phone, the app will also notify you that you are missing your card. The Coin app tracks the location of your SmartCard, so if you do lose it, you may see the location where your phone last communicated with your SmartCard. For example, if the last time it was in close proximity to your phone was at your house, you might assume that you haven’t lost your card, but that you have maybe left it at home.

Your Card Will Lock And Require Unlocking

If you and your phone move out of range (a pre-determined radius) of your SmartCard, then it will lock. Other people may not use the SmartCard until it is unlocked. You may set up your phone to activate your card whenever you and your phone are near, as this may save you the effort of repeatedly unlocking it by entering its password.

On the other hand, if you do not fancy carrying your phone around with you when you shop, or if your phone battery dies, you may use your SmartCard by entering the password to unlock it before you use it. The password is a series of button presses. Use your SmartCard without your phone by pressing the button with a certain sequence of long and short presses (Morse Code). You may do this to activate it before handing it over to a merchant. Enter sequence wrong three times and it erases the card.

Why Report Your Coin 2.0 Card Lost?

If your card is going to lock itself whenever your phone is not near it, then why bother using the Coin website to report your SmartCard lost or stolen? There are two reasons why you should. The first is so you may order a new SmartCard, and the second is for added security. The card becomes permanently deactivated if it is reported lost or stolen. This means that sneaky thieves may not use your card without you knowing.

For example, if a merchant stole your card, he or she may swipe your SmartCard for personal use whenever you move near the till because your phone is nearby. It is sneaky, and maybe implausible, but it is one way that thieves may get around the locking mechanism. If you have lost your SmartCard or it has been stolen, you may have it permanently deactivated, so all that is left of it is an encrypted mess of scattered information.

Showing the coin 2 smart card as contactless

How Long Does The Battery Last For?

low battery graphic with the words "Good Luck"One of the great things about the simplicity of the Coin 2.0 SmartCard is that it uses very little energy. Even though it may be communicating with your phone all day for months on end, it still uses very little juice, which means the battery will last for two years before it needs replacing. The Coin company has already announced that they are working on a rechargeable battery. The developers are trying to figure out a way of recharging the battery without taking it out of the card, which is trickier than it first appears.

Finally, when you download the app, simply follow the instructions that the Coin company gives you. If you go looking for their app, you are likely to come across other apps with a similar (or the same) name. The Coin app doesn’t do very much compared to the Plastc app and the Swyp app, but the Coin app is definitely the easiest and most intuitive to use.

Conclusion – A Great And Convenient SmartCard

It is great and convenient if you can get your hands on one. It doesn’t have the sophistication and/or flashy appeal that the Plastc SmartCard does, but it does its job efficiently and securely. It is a grown ups version of a SmartCard for people who do not need all-singing all-dancing technology in their pockets. The company has declared on news websites that Coin 2.0 was the last version they were ever going to create, and yet the company has not been dismantled, and some of the key team members have said that Coin may still have a big part to play in the future of the SmartCard industry.

The Coin FAQ is oddly hidden on the Coin website, but it will answer any further questions you have about the Coin 2.0 card and its numerous functions.

About The Author

Ash The Great

After a varied career in different industries from the hospitality industry to the financial consultancy industry, Ash now spends his days working as a professional writer.

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