Coin Combines Your Credit, Debit and Gift Cards Into One Gadget

Coin aims to free up some wallet space by merging all your cards into one place.

ByABC News
November 15, 2013, 10:48 AM

Nov. 15, 2013— -- If your wallet's starting to get a little too thick to fit in your pocket, Coin might be able to lighten your load. That's Coin, not coins.

It looks no different than a standard credit card, but is actually a small device that can act as a credit card, debit card or gift card. The device is available for pre-order and expected to start shipping this summer.

Coin CEO Kanishk Parashar said that the company was born from the ashes of the failed company Smart Market. That app, another mobile payment system, failed to notify customers when they were near a store that adopted the app. "There was no need for a card or wallet, but we didn't see payments going through the system," he told ABC News.

Coin isn't another system of payment, but Parashar's way of uniting several different methods of payment into a single device. Coin users plug a magnetic strip reader into a smartphone, swipe their cards, and sync their information through the company's app.

In order to make a payment, users tap a button on the Coin card and pick which account they want to pay with, whether it's a business credit card or a personal debit card. After picking an account, the Coin card is swiped through, no different than any other card.

It may seem a little risky to keep all your financial accounts bound to a single card. However, Parashar and his colleagues have engineered security measures into Coin. All communication between the Coin card, app and servers are heavily encrypted. "All your financial information would be secured," said Parashar.

In addition, Coin cards themselves broadcast a low-power Bluetooth signal that detects where your smartphone is. "It works on the concept of being on a leash," said Parashar. "If you're walking away from your card and go out of range of the Bluetooth, your phone will then set an alert."

But even if you miss that alert, you don't have to worry about other people using your card. After a certain period of time (determined by the user), Coin will automatically deactivate and stop other people from using it.

Coin is currently available for pre-order for $50. It may be a hefty price to pay for a lighter wallet, but Parashar said he is optimistic. "Over time, people will want it."

ABCNews' Sunaina Rajani contributed to this report.