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Coin: The Other Black Card

Posted in: Technology

I'd like to introduce you to Coin -- the first universal credit card in the U.S.  This is the other black card -- one that stores multiple credit and loyalty cards in conjunction with a user's smart phone.  With the push of a button, the user can swap from their Visa to their Amex and to their loyalty card for your business with another push.

There are very few better examples of modern technology integrating into everyday must carry items with the promise of making life just a little bit easier.  With the use of a Coin card, the wallet can be lightened as most cards can be consolidated onto it.  Not only is carrying one card convenient, but it's also safer, as the PCI-DSS certified card only displays the last 4 digits of a card number and needs a PIN or proximity to the user's smartphone to work.

There are now 300,000 of these little black cards out in the wild and a fierce word-of-mouth campaign to boot. In the few months I've been using one, almost every cashier questions me and then decides they're willing to pay for one of their own.  If the product didn't sell itself, I'd be asking for commission.

So why should you care as an operator?

While there are only 300k in the wild today, there will be more and the day will come when one ends up in your location and it's not a perfect solution...yet.  Here are a few issues for which you should be aware:

  • The card can be finicky when the time comes for it to be swiped and the user may not be carrying an alternate form of payment;  

  • It does not work anywhere the card where EMV is required or with a motorized dipping mechanism like at an ATM; and

  • It also will not work when POS systems require Track 1 data.

Fortunately, most of the transaction failure issues can be handled with a little training and support. Here are solutions to the most common issues;

  • Coin advises that cashiers swipe the card at a normal speed as it works better than what it's swiped fast.  

  • There are no issuer logos so the credit card type is listed on the little screen.

  • The user's card 'fell asleep' and they need to wake it back up.

In some cases, the Coin team may need to get involved to troubleshoot and can be reached out to by filling out this form for getting assistance in accepting Coin.

This is just the beginning.  Coin is releasing an EMV-friendly version and others are joining the market, so we'll do our best to keep you informed.

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About the Author

Taryn Brice-Rowland

Taryn Brice-Rowland

Taryn Brice-Rowland supports the objectives of all NATSO departments by collecting, organizing and sharing data and information, and by managing data and information systems and technologies.