We are, I believe, in an interstitial zone when it comes to payments. Credit cards are still king – just ask Square – and NFC is just a dream in most countries. That’s why Coin is so interesting. It’s a credit-card-sized device that holds other credit cards, allowing you to swap from card to card and even store gift cards inside its ultra-thin innards.
The card itself is as thin as a regular credit card. To use the card you select a payment type with the button and just swipe. The Coin card “mimics” your read credit or gift card. The technology is tightly packed inside the card’s plastic case. It uses low-power Bluetooth to connect to your iOS device that is coupled with a standard credit-card reader. You swipe your cards into the system and you’re done. The device holds up to eight cards.
Engineer Kanishk Parashar is leading the Y-Combinator-backed company alongside investor and board member Manu Kumar. Parashar cut his teeth in payments with a startup called SmartMarket, but this product seems to be his winner.
The company isn’t new – a company called Flint is already in this space and I suspect a bigger player will probably beat Coin to the mass market. However, it’s a cool idea in a cool package and, clearly, the idea has caught fire.
You can take a look at the product here; it ships this summer.