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Long-delayed Coin Shipping to Customers Who Preordered

July 2, 2015

Electronic “universal card” Coin is now shipping to some of the 350,000 consumers who preordered the device, after shipments were launched at the end of April to its backers.

After a successful Coin crowd-funding campaign in fall 2013 – for context, the company points out that its prepaid preorders were triple that of the iPod in its first two months – the launch of Coin had several highly publicized setbacks and missed previous shipping deadlines as it struggled to fine-tune the device and meet demand. The current shipments of the product are more than a year-and-a-half behind original expectations.

Universal cards hold the information from multiple credit and debit cards, loyalty cards, gift cards and, in some cases, even library and gym cards, and they are designed to be usable at any payment terminal that accepts traditional magnetic-stripe credit cards.

The Coin card – a sleek, black plastic device – has a display screen that shows the card brand in use and that card’s expiration date, as well as the last four digits of the Coin owner’s Social Security number. The battery-operated device can hold the information of up to eight cards, which are programmed into the device with a smartphone card reader and a mobile app. (The smartphone does not need to be present when consumers use Coin at retail, restaurant and other locations.)

Universal cards have not yet been universally accepted by consumers, but they are gaining exposure as similar devices have hit the market in the last couple of months, or are expected to later in 2015. With names like Swyp, Wocket Wallet, Plastc and Stratos, the universal cards purport to be a more easily adoptable alternative to stuffed consumers purses and wallets than the mobile payment options of Apple Pay, Google Pay and the like, which haven’t yet been widely adopted. Unlike those mobile payment options, which require retailers and other vendors to invest in specialized equipment, the universal cards require no such investment and are compatible with standard magnetic-swipe readers.

Consumers and technology and customer-experience critics have expressed concerns about universal devices’ tendency to occasionally fail to work at point-of-sale terminals, as well as the potential for security breaches. All of the makers of the devices, however, cite their multilayered security features. The Coin card, for example, requires a code to unlock it, and it erases the contents of the device after three failed PIN attempts.

Coin can be ordered at onlycoin.com and costs $100 plus tax and shipping.

Source: CBS News