Credit Cards


One Card That Claims to Do It All

The creators of Coin may be onto something. The device, scheduled to ship to customers this summer, is the size of a credit card and promises to lighten your wallet by storing data for your credit, debit, loyalty, membership and gift cards. Coin has generated both chatter and cash: Preorders reached a $50,000 goal within 40 minutes of launching last fall.

SEE ALSO: 8 Things Not to Keep in Your Wallet

Coin is the newest entrant in the race for your digital wallet. Wallaby Financial is working on a card that would store payment information for your rewards cards and select the one that gives you the highest payback when you swipe. Mobile wallets such as Google Wallet and Isis digitally collect your cards and let you pay with your phone. But such wallets have struggled to gain mainstream acceptance.

Coin has grabbed attention largely because of the “cool factor,” says Bob Sullivan, a credit card fraud expert and author of Stop Getting Ripped Off. You choose the payment card you want to use by selecting it from a screen on the back of the device. To block theft if you lose your Coin, use a Bluetooth connection that renders the card useless if your cell phone travels more than about 25 feet away from it for a set period (Coin can reactivate once it’s back in range). For now, it’s unclear whether most merchants will accept payments through such a device, or whether banks and credit card issuers will permit data from their cards to be copied to another card.

Given the questions, you may want to wait to see whether Coin and similar products garner widespread acceptance -- especially given Coin’s $100 price tag ($50 if you catch it during a preorder special). Someone will find a successful way to unify our plastic, says Sullivan. We’re just not sure yet who it will be.

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