The pilot program begins with a few select retailers, in the Bay Area exclusively, that will allow users to get dollars-worth Amazon gift cards in exchange for making every day purchases. For example, users can purchase a coffee or a meal and get a $5 Amazon gift card.
This is a different rewards model than your traditional credit card, which usually offers a percentage of cash back on certain types of purchases (or sometimes all purchases). Instead, the Coin simply turns on different rewards each day, and if you happen to unlock one, you’ll get a real value reward in the form of an Amazon gift card.
“Those [traditional credit card] rewards amount to cents on the dollar,” said Coin founder and CEO Kanishk Parashar. “We’re trying to give users several dollars per distinct transactions for things they’re doing anyway.”
When a user happens to unlock a reward, the Coin will automatically send a push notification to their phone asking if they want to opt-in to the reward. Over time, the user theoretically accumulates Amazon cash that can go toward all kinds of purchases (since Amazon sells just about everything).
“Eventually, the Coin should pay for itself,” said Parashar.
When users update the app, they’ll be able to see a list of available rewards, which might include making a purchase at Peet’s coffee or tweeting that you bought lunch with Coin. In the longer term, with scale, Coin could turn its rewards program into an advertising platform of sorts, enticing users to visit specific retail stores.
Alongside the launch of the rewards program, Coin is also announcing that it will join the Amazon Launchpad ahead of the holiday season, opening up distribution through the massive ecommerce platform.
Coin launched back in November of 2013 as a pre-order campaign. It blew past its goal in just 40 minutes and went on to receive $15.5 million in Series A. But the device didn’t actually ship until April of this year.
By now, options like Apple Pay and Samsung Pay, as well as the introduction of EMV cards in the US, has made the original Coin obsolete. Which is why Coin hurried to launch a next-generation, EMV-compatible version of the card in late summer.
Perhaps the company, which was plagued with delayed ship times and the changing tides of the mobile payments space, is finally hitting its stride with a viable, shipping product. And a new distribution platform in Amazon Launchpad, as well as a new rewards program, certainly doesn’t hurt.
You can learn more about Coin here.