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Coin launches new second-gen smart card with NFC; all current users get free upgrades

Updated Dec 19th, 2018 9:04PM EST
Coin 2.0 Release Date
Image: Zach Epstein, BGR

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Coin was the first company to announce a smart card solution capable of replacing all of the credit cards in your wallet with a single device that could securely store account data and switch between accounts on the fly. The company attracted a huge amount of attention from the media and raised millions through a crowdfunding campaign, but then things took a turn. Coin ran into manufacturing issues and missed its target launch date, angering would-be early adopters in the process.

Now, Coin is looking to make amends in two key ways. First, the company is preparing to launch a new second-generation smart card with new features never seen before in any rival offerings. Second, and most importantly, Coin will provide its new and improved card to all current Coin customers free of charge.

FROM EARLIER: I just replaced every credit card in my wallet with Coin

To say Coin learned from its previous mistakes is an understatement.

Customers fumed when the company delayed the release of its first-generation card. After initially promising to release the device during the summer of 2014, Coin finally began shipping in April 2015. And still, even months later, some customers who ordered early Coin units still didn’t have their devices.

With Coin 2.0, all that changes — the device will begin shipping immediately, on the very same day it was announced.

Coin 2.0 includes several important enhancements, but one in particular steals the show: Coin 2.0 will include NFC capabilities. This will allow Coin user to tap their cards on a payment terminal to pay with compatible cards. It will also add EMV compliance with cards that support it; of note, Coin 2.0 still won’t support chip and PIN technology.

Despite the addition of NFC, Coin 2.0 will cost $100, just like its predecessor.

The company supplied the following Q&A alongside its announcement:

  • When will Coin 2.0 be available?
    • Coin 2.0 devices with NFC hardware are starting to ship as of August 26th, 2015. If you are an existing customer, you can check estimated ship date in the mobile app’s settings menu or through the company’s website.
  • How does NFC Early-Access-Mode work?
    • Coin 2.0 will ship with Early-Access-Mode live. Customers will be able to transact with “Tap to Pay” NFC with select payment cards, starting with a limited number until additional partnerships are finalized. The mobile app will clearly outline which payment cards are eligible.  
  • What happens to customers whose Coin 1.0 has already been delivered?
    • Customers who received the first version of Coin will be able to sign up for Coin 2.0 with NFC capability and added features free of charge.  They can do so in “Settings > Coin 2.0” menu in Mobile App.
  • All existing customers can receive a Coin 2.0 device free of charge. What about everyone else who purchases a Coin for the first time?
    • Customers receiving their Coins in the mail from today onward will be getting Coin 2.0s.  New customers that purchase a Coin by the end of the year will receive a Coin 2.0 automatically.
  • How is Coin 2.0 improved from the first version?
    • Coin 2.0 incorporates NFC technology along with a variety of new features, such as:
      • Ability to give payment cards a nickname that appears in the app and on Coin 2.0’s e-paper screen
      • An improved electronic stripe that performs better at gas stations and other merchants
      • Over-the-air software updates that will add EMV capabilities and new features, keeping Coin future-proof
      • A display that is twice as fast
      • A form factor that is thinner than older Coins by up to 8%
  • Why does Coin 2.0 use NFC instead of “chip and pin” technology?
    • EMV over NFC, known as “Contactless EMV” is the future of EMV-compliant payments, and is also used by Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, and Android Pay.  Coin 2.0 will be able to make EMV-compliant payments with NFC that are even more secure and convenient than “chip and pin” transactions.
  • How will “Chip and Pin” plastic cards work with Coin?
    • Coin 2.0 will support “Chip and Pin” cards via “Tap to Pay” NFC capability. The mobile app will clearly outline which payment cards are eligible.
    • As the USA merchants upgrade their terminals to Chip and Pin, they will also simultaneously support “Tap to Pay” NFC payments.
  • When will the over-the-air update happen for Coin to be EMV compliant?
    • We will keep customers informed as we complete partnership agreements with various financial institutions.

“As new security measures are coming to the U.S., we wanted our device to be one step ahead as well,” Coin CEO Kanishk Parashar said in a statement. “Our customers have always been our number one priority and by offering them all Coin 2.0 free of charge, we want to reinforce just how important they are to us.”

Customers can request an upgrade to the new Coin 2.0 card from within the Coin mobile app for iOS or Android devices, and all customers who make new purchases made on the Coin website moving forward will receive Coin 2.0 cards. Additionally, all current orders that have not yet been fulfilled will be replaced with Coin 2.0 cards.

It is unclear how long it will take to upgrade all current Coin users to the new Coin 2.0 card.

Zach Epstein
Zach Epstein Executive Editor

Zach Epstein has been the Executive Editor at BGR for more than 10 years. He manages BGR’s editorial team and ensures that best practices are adhered to. He also oversees the Ecommerce team and directs the daily flow of all content. Zach first joined BGR in 2007 as a Staff Writer covering business, technology, and entertainment.

His work has been quoted by countless top news organizations, and he was recently named one of the world's top 10 “power mobile influencers” by Forbes. Prior to BGR, Zach worked as an executive in marketing and business development with two private telcos.