How Smartcard Coin Bounced Back From Near Failure To Partner With Visa And MasterCard

by Sarah Grotta 0

You may have heard of the product Coin that allows consumers to store all of their card credentials on a single piece of plastic. The Coin product resides between having multiple physical cards and a universally accepted mobile wallet. After loading card data onto the Coin card, consumers can select which card Coin represents at the Point of Sale. According to an article in Forbes, the product had a bit of a rocky start, but has now fixed its technical issues and can be accepted a more merchants with fewer glitches:

Tony Pham, Vice President of Marketing at Coin, is upfront about their hiccups:

“People have not been shy about sharing the feedback,” he says. “But it was good for us to take a step back. Perfect doesn’t exist. None of these systems are 100 percent compatible.”

He’s referring to point-of-sale devices: the hardware used at checkout counters to swipe your credit card. As the US has shifted to EMV, or chip technology, these devices need to be updated. Plus with the introduction of Apple Pay last year, stores have slowly shifted to NFC enabled payment systems.

With Coin 2.0, the company wants to show that they’ve learned from their mistakes and are still keen on tackling the payments behemoth. The new version is thinner, can handle NFC, and works at places like gas stations and ATMs, which the first design struggled with.

Now that their initial launch issues are behind them, Coin is not only gaining consumer attention, they are also now working with MasterCard and Visa to provide the payment aspect for new wearables technology:

However, going forward, the startup is finding new avenues for innovation. This year, they tied up with MasterCard (in a non-exclusive partnership) to turn wearables into payment devices. The credit card giant has launched a new project, Commerce for Every Device, to link everything to a payment system. Coin is their partner in bringing that payment option to select fitness trackers and watches; Coin will help provide the software and hardware embedded in the devices.

“We’re a financial technology company that facilitates smart payments. Now, we can help wearable companies bypass all the hurdles we faced by giving them our platform and expertise,” Pham says.

Overview by Sarah Grotta, Director, Debit Advisory Service at Mercator Advisory Group

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