Coin

Coin has now changed course and is hoping to earn back trust from customers by offering a free nationwide beta. Yesterday we learned that Coin — the sort of physical digital that aims to replace all the other cards in your wallet — would be shipping soon in limited (and beta) form to those who backed the project. Turns out backers weren't too pleased with Coin's decision and a huge backlash of complaints followed the announcement.

Here's an excerpt from a message Coin CEO Kanishk Parashar just sent to backers:

"We apologize for our lack of transparency and clarity in our communications to you. You, as our valuable backers, should have been the first to know about all product updates. We honestly thought we could make our timeline. We were overly optimistic. The San Francisco Bay Area Coin Beta made it evident that we should conduct a larger nationwide Coin Beta. We need your help with testing nationwide, but realize that this is not a cost for you to bear. Therefore, we will run a nationwide Coin Beta for no cost ($0) to Coin Beta Backers for the first generation Coin and increase the number of Coin Beta devices by 50% to 15,000. We'll do our best to grow this number over time. To clarify, your spot in the Coin Beta program is determined by your pre-order date, regardless of whether you opt-in with the iOS or Android app. We feel responsible to the commitment each of you has given to us by backing Coin and so we haven't spent even one dollar of the crowd funding campaign. All our efforts and production has been supported by equity dollars."

Originally Coin was giving backers two options: a beta route or wait for the "Gold Standard". The beta was a version of the Coin that would ship soon to backers with an 85 percent reliability and without one of the promised features. While the Gold Standard is essentially the version of Coin shipping in spring 2015 that will work 100 percent of the time and include the ability to be notified when you left your Coin behind. It's worth noting, however, that beta testers are able to upgrade to the first generation product once it's available.

We're sure a number of Coin backers will be a little more pleased with Coin's decision to change course and be more transparent with customers. Anyone keeping their Coin after today's announcement?

More: Coin.com

 

Reader comments

Coin apologizes to backers, will run a free nationwide beta

40 Comments

I'm going to keep mine. It's interesting technology and I want to see how it finishes out. I don't have the Claim your Coin e-mail, so I guess I was to late in the ordering queue to qualify for the Beta.

Free or not I would not try this thing at all! That's your money and your accounts why would you do anything "Beta" that involves your money like that?!?! Plus I thought this magnetic thing was a old standard that is going to be dead soon. I don't know not knocking people that do try it but no way will I be playing with my debit/credit cards like that.

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Allegedly all cards will have the added chip next fall, however full adoption will take years, its a matter or replacing several hundred million cards, and several million card readers. I work for a large bank and we have barely begun replacing the cards with chip cards, and only on certain credit products. Mag stripes are here to stay for a good long while and I personally am confidant the coin will be widely accepted through the inital product's 2 year battery life. I am also confidant they will come up with a chip solution when necessary

Funnily enough I work for a bank too, and I have near-zero confidence that a chip solution is possible. In order for Coin to be able to work with EMV, the Coin EMV chip would need to be able to use data belonging to multiple cards - on demand. I don't think EMV allows for this, or frankly for another chip on another device to freely mirror the data. But I could be wrong - it is proprietary technology and I'm not an expert.

Please remember that the big thing coming in Fall 2015 is the liability shift to the retailer. And I believe the larger retailers *will* upgrade their terminals to accept EMV chip cards before then. And then it is up to banks like ours to issue those cards, especially replace existing ones with new chip cards.

My bank has started moving our premier card products to EMV cards. Most POS terminals (and all new ones, for example, newly installed ones at Target) can detect from a magnetic strip swipe if the card has the EMV chip. AND if it does, then the transaction won't go through and the machine will immediately flash a message that the chip will need to be inserted into the terminal for the transaction to proceed. I am talking about the way things are right now. No new terminal (regular terminal, not Square-type readers) being installed out there is a non-EMV terminal. It costs about $1750 each, but I'm gathering that big retailers are willing to bite the bullet.

The coin relies on a weakness of the magstripe system - that it's trivial to copy. EMV isn't vulnerable like that (so far) so it can't work.

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I almost backed this but decided not to. I was using Google Wallet on my Nexus and hoped more places would accept that. Turns out more places do accept it, I got the Google Wallet card and can move funds in seconds with my phone to fund purchases. And the best news is Google found a way around the carrier blocking Google Wallet, not that I have any carrier devices!

Will be interested to see how this device works out.

As opposed to the outright cost of Coin? I've never had to pay money to use my Wallet card. There's no way around that with Coin.
Oh, and Wallet shipped about 6 months ago, works in ATMs, parking meters, etc.
DidbI mention I've had it for more than 6 months already and it cost $0?

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Wallet Balance transfers
Adding money to Wallet Balance from checking account No fee
Adding money to Wallet Balance from credit or debit card 2.9% fee with a $0.30 minimum

Adding money to Wallet Balance from checking account No fee

That's the important line right there. Just use your checking account.

It was DOA long before this. There will be a huge reluctance to accept this - there's too much (perceived) potential for fraud, etc. plus, will it work in ATM machines, parking meters, etc. They've already hinted that it's a "good idea" to carry real cards as backup. Kind if defeats the purpose.

I'm still very excited about this. And as much as they are advertising to use this for credit cards, I always saw a big benefits of using this for gift cards. I always have a ton of gift cards that I never bring with me, and this can solve the problem. Also it would let both my wife and myself to have copies of the cards.

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When initial reviews come in (that are positive enough), I'll get 1.

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Wake me up when they put a chip in it. Magnetic's days are very numbered.

Yes, it's turning a titanic sized ship using a trolling motor, but it will happen one day. I'm not plonking down $100 (or $90, whatever it is) for something that's dated.

If by numbered you mean in the low thousands I agree with you. Getting millions of merchants nationwide to buy brand new expensive card readers for over $1,000.00 a pop is not an easy task.

Also don't be fooled by the safety of the chip card. All it means is that fraud will be committed more for card absent transactions online vs in person. The only one who saves money from that is the big banks who currently eat the loss for card present fraud.

Bare in mind EMV chips on cards have been a requirement in the UK, and I believe Canada, for around a decade now. Granted the UK is a smaller market than the US but it was still a massive undertaking for retailers and banks, the sluggishness of US adoption really is quite terrible.

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Absolutely, this thing is already dead in Asia. Nobody has any cards without a chip. This is purely a US product that is antiquated to say the least....

Hi, i'm sure they pass on their loss to consumers. we absorb the cost by retailers raising prices.
Why do you think you pay more for gas using a card versus cash? Because the merchants get charged for the card's transactions!

I returned mine.. I'll buy it for 100 when they come out of beta. They lost alot of backers with their lies.. Maybe teach them not to be money hungry.

I've gotten burned on more than one project and completely agree. I'm glad I didn't opt in this time.

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Agree. What's sad is each backer email was all lies... And this one too asking for more money then like, oh, no, now we dnt want $30 shows true character.. Ill wait for finished product and reviews..

I, like many others, will be backing out this weekend (along with the 5 others I purchased for friends).
My chief complaint is that the company flat out lied to us with the series of fake updates leading us to believe the product was in its final stages of QC and ready for mass production. Then they offer a half-way apology and promise to demonstrate better ethics in the future?
Wait....you are asking me to trust you with ALL of my financial information, right?

No thanks and I strongly urge all others to do the same.

AGREED.... remember everyone "You've been warned"!! Give them all your info? Not me!!! Peace, i'm out.

I am still looking forward to it.

Actually was quite surprised at the sneering, negative comments during the Android Podcast this week.

It is reminiscent of Luddite views toward online bill paying and banking.

However, AC folks are android mobile phone focused, and may not be the best qualified to offer technical, or even social, opinions on Coin. I was surprised at why and how they brought it up.

As to the fears raised by the AC team and some posters, about their accounts security or usability is puzzling.
-- For security, my card companies have done a remarkably good job of protecting me against theft or fraud and that won't lessen with Coin;
-- For usability, Coin is focused on the 15% of transactions* that are problematic, that will be a fascinating accomplishment.
:-)

* I am not sure that Sam Sabri's otherwise excellent article is correct on one point. The Coin email I received notified backers that 85% of their prototype/beta transactions in the San Francisco area worked, but 15% had problems. I am not sure that they are promising (only) an 85% success rate for those who volunteer to beta.
.

You missed the point. They promised something and failed. That would be OK, but they tried to do an end around that fail, and double down.

Then when the complaints came in the finally went to where they should be at this juncture.

It is not so much what happened, it is what they did

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When someone starts calking the folks on a tech website 'Luddites', you know they're either selling something or flat out full of crap.

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They Lied.... how can anyone trust these people ever again! unless you turn the other cheek? REFUND PLEASE!!!

Would I like to try coin? Yes!!! I backed the project and really did not miss that I had not received it yet. But given the opportunity to refund my investment could not be passed up. I am out.....poor business decisions should not be backed with anyone's money.

I backed out. I didn't like their excuses for the delays (they had to have known months ago that this was going to happen) yet didn't say a word to backers and kept telling us that Summer 2014 was the definite release date. That kind of business is a real turn off and a red flag to me that problems like this a more likely to happen again in the future.

No chance in hell they will be able to provide an EMV/Chip card to replace your credit and debit cards. Think about it, EMV is designed to be secure in order to significantly reduce counterfeit. If it was easy to create a card with the EMV chip information from your credit or debit card that would really defeat the whole purpose now wouldn't it? RIP Coin! Maybe get in your DeLorean and head back to 1999, you might have a chance introducing he technology in that year.

Has anyone received their refund yet? I just received an email back saying they would "review my request and get back to me with a decision soon"
Seriously?!?!!? This company should look into variable interest home loans next...

Your link Coin.com goes to a collector, not an e commerce site. AC seems to be having a tough time with information management.

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I plan on keeping mine. I will even apply for the beta if I am eligible. I think that the delay will enable them to improve accessibility of the Coin, as well as find a way to add emv functionality.

I really believe that Coin has some serious potential. I too have Google Wallet, but I have never used it at a physical retailer. Very few places accept the NFC method and I can't really load multiple cards to it like I can with Coin. Slimming down my wallet for certain occasions will be an invaluable benefit of Coin.

I've backed a number of Kickstarter/indiegogo projects and none of them have been delivered on time. I'm ok with this because some things can never be anticipated and I would rather have a finished product than an incomplete rushed product.

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