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Businesses The Almighty Buck Hardware

Major Delays, Revamped Beta For Credit-Card Consolidating Gadget Coin 78

Posted by timothy
from the nickelback-quarterback-pedalback dept.
The premise behind Coin is attractive: consolidate credit cards onto a single card-sized gadget. However, on Friday the company announced a delay in the release of its final version from this summer to spring of 2015, and in a way that angered many of the project's crowd-funding backers. The announcement of a delay was not only sudden, and quite close to the previously announced shipping date, but upset those who'd pre-ordered by outlining a confusing beta program that would involve an interim product release — recipients of the beta version (limited to 10,000) would have had to then pay $30 to upgrade to the final product. As CNET reports, the delay until 2015 remains, but with regard to that beta program, Coin has now reversed its stance. The beta program will be free -- meaning preorder customers who opt-in will no longer forfeit the $55 they paid and will still receive the finished Coin product next year. The program will also expand from 10,000 customers to 15,000. Regardless of whether your smartphone is running Apple's iOS or Google's Android operating system, preorder customers can opt-in to Coin's beta program through its app and will be eligible for a device if they fall within the 15,000-person threshold. The order is determined by when you bought your Coin. Coin customers, some who placed orders as far back as November 2013 when the startup first opened its website for preorders, were displeased not so much with the product delay as with the way Coin handled the situation. The company had, as recently as August 14, sent out an update explaining that a long-awaited shipping announcement would arrive at month's end --yet without an indication that it may miss its shipping target.
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Major Delays, Revamped Beta For Credit-Card Consolidating Gadget Coin

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  • by jonnythan (79727) on Sunday August 24, 2014 @07:53AM (#47741391) Homepage

    All the major credit card companies will be rolling out soon-to-be-mandatory chip systems for their credit cards. The point of this chip is specifically to prevent copying of credit cards. Coin is dead in the water.

    Beyond this, how many register monkeys will decline the transaction because it's not the original card? I was trained at my old retail job by an actual Mastercard representative never to allow use of a credit card without a signed back, much less a card that's literally a personal copy.

    • by Charliemopps (1157495) on Sunday August 24, 2014 @08:04AM (#47741445)

      All the major credit card companies will be rolling out soon-to-be-mandatory chip systems for their credit cards. The point of this chip is specifically to prevent copying of credit cards. Coin is dead in the water.

      Beyond this, how many register monkeys will decline the transaction because it's not the original card? I was trained at my old retail job by an actual Mastercard representative never to allow use of a credit card without a signed back, much less a card that's literally a personal copy.

      When I worked retail as a teenager for minimum wage, I could not have cared less. You could have handed me an unripened Banana and if it made the register beep and the display said you paid, I was done. One employee chased a shoplifter out of the store once and caught them. Later the rest of us were laughing at him. I didn't get paid enough to run, much less after potentially armed criminals.

      • by jonnythan (79727)

        It varies. A lot of retail workers won't care, but some will. Especially the ones who are smart enough to be aware of credit card fraud but not so knowledgeable they know about Coin.

        I don't think someone would have to be turned down from a purchase many times before they threw the thing in the garbage. It doesn't have to happen often.

        • by mysidia (191772)

          A lot of retail workers won't care, but some will. Especially the ones who are smart enough to be aware of credit card fraud but not so knowledgeable they know about Coin.

          In my opinion, they will learn pretty darn fast, or they will get fired. As long as Coin is legal, and the credit card companies decide to allow it.

          The thing is.... the cardmember agreement says your Credit Card is The credit card company's property The physical card does not belong to you, the consumer, and you have no right to ma

          • To the best of my knowledge, no major credit card companies allow the use of copied credit cards.

            • by mysidia (191772)

              To the best of my knowledge, no major credit card companies allow the use of copied credit cards.

              I think Coin will have to have a partnership with them, otherwise, Coin will be doomed from the get go, because, you see the Coin screen displays the various Logos of credit card companies on the front when being used, along with the last 4 digits of the credit card number.

              If they don't have a partnership; Mastercard, Visa, Discover, Amex, etc, will have to either license Coin's usage of their logo on th

              • by godefroi (52421)

                Doesn't matter. Chip-and-pin will kill Coin regardless. The whole point of chip-and-pin is to render the card uncopyable.

        • I don't know where you guys shop, but I've noticed a trend of having the customer swipe their own card themselves rather than handing the card to the cashier. In any of these cases, the cashier has limited ability to even see the customer's card, let alone have any inclination to actually try to do so.
      • by jfengel (409917)

        In fact, I'm almost surprised he wasn't fired. You're not just not paid enough to run. It's potentially dangerous, and the damage from the shoplifting is smaller than the potential harm to you: it's unlikely but expensive when it does happen. Most stores I know tell you to just call attention and get security to come: they ARE tasked with that. (Most of them, in fact, are also told not to chase people, just to collect identifying information and report it to the police.)

        The main purpose is to scare people a

        • by mysidia (191772)

          In fact, I'm almost surprised he wasn't fired. You're not just not paid enough to run. It's potentially dangerous, and the damage from the shoplifting is smaller than the potential harm to you: it's unlikely but expensive when it does happen.

          It's true that it is dangerous, and potentially very harmful to the employee. The store itself will also not have any liability for any harm that happened to the employee as a result, because any injury would fall under worker comp. process, and the Employee won't

          • by apraetor (248989)
            The employee would also be liable for any injuries to other employees which occur as a result of his intervention, correct?
            • by mysidia (191772)

              The employee would also be liable for any injuries to other employees which occur as a result of his intervention, correct?

              It is unlikely, however possible, particularly if the employee was taking actions they did not believe were within their required job duties where a reasonable person in the employee's place would be expected to foresee the danger to others, and the employee had a duty to avoid creating the danger, but it would be for the courts and attorneys to sort out depending on local state law

    • by DogDude (805747)
      No need to call us "monkeys", you douchebag, but I agree. I work behind a register, and I wouldn't take it. And yes, chip and pin will kill this, as well.
    • All the major credit card companies will be rolling out soon-to-be-mandatory chip systems for their credit cards.

      They already have done several years ago. Wherever you are is about 5-6 years behind the times.

    • The Coin has a lifespan of about two years, since it has a built-in battery that isn't user serviceable. Given that the newest credit/debit card I have doesn't expire until 2017, and none of mine have chips, it would seem to me that registers will still need to be accepting cards like mine for at least another 3-4 years, which means that the Coin I pre-ordered last year will work as well. It'll be several years before the chips are mandatory, and Coin has plenty of time between now and then to engineer a se

      • Given that the newest credit/debit card I have doesn't expire until 2017, and none of mine have chips, it would seem to me that registers will still need to be accepting cards like mine for at least another 3-4 years...

        Of course, your Bank (whoever) could send you new Chip and Pin cards before your old ones expire.

      • by gl4ss (559668)

        in USA sure. just like square wasn't obsolete in USA on the day it shipped. doesn't mean that it's not obsolete in europe.

        but you know what? they still need to get the CC companies on board for it to be legit. doing clones of magnetic cards has always been simple, but it is against the rules.

        but again, since in USA you might have tills that only take your signature as verification that it's you and have you do self service checkout of the items without human interaction.. so there's an use case there that d

    • I was trained at my old retail job by an actual Mastercard representative never to allow use of a credit card without a signed back

      In the 15 years that I've been using credit cards, I've never once signed the back of any of them, nor have I ever had any issues using an unsigned card to pay for anything.

      When you sign the back of your card, you're providing a template for forgery to anyone that happens to steal or find your card. I can understand why the credit card company would want you to do this, as a convincing forgery job on a signed sales receipt shifts liability from them to the consumer. However, as a consumer, I don't underst

      • by jonnythan (79727)

        Every credit card specifically says on the back that it's not valid unless signed, and as an employee I was instructed by Mastercard and my manager never to accept an unsigned card (or one that says "See ID" or whatever). So I didn't.

        • No, I know. That's what you said before. That's what you said in the statement of yours that I quoted.

          I'm not talking about policy. I'm talking about reason. I understand that Mastercard told you to do things one way. I'm pointing out that doing things that way is optimal for Mastercard, but decidedly suboptimal for the consumer.

          Mastercard asked you to do what you could to ensure that the customer would be liable for any charges related to a stolen or lost credit card, and not the card issuer. You comp
      • by tlhIngan (30335)

        When you sign the back of your card, you're providing a template for forgery to anyone that happens to steal or find your card. I can understand why the credit card company would want you to do this, as a convincing forgery job on a signed sales receipt shifts liability from them to the consumer. However, as a consumer, I don't understand why you'd willingly buy in to such a system.

        Because signing a credit card isn't for verification. It's for agreement of the terms and conditions.

        Signing the back of your c

        • And the back of the card is the only place they could get your signature? They couldn't have you sign some separate piece of paper and mail it back to them when you get/activate the card? It's just totally a coincidence that putting the signature directly on the back of the card enables forgery which shifts liability from the card issued to the cardholder? Bull. Shit.
  • by putaro (235078) on Sunday August 24, 2014 @07:56AM (#47741399) Journal

    Technically, I see how it works but why would a merchant accept this thing? It doesn't look like a credit card and it's missing all of the anti-fraud elements built into the physical cards. According to their FAQ, Coin is trying to substitute an image on your smart phone plus their gadget for your physical card but I don't see that any of the actual credit card issuers are actually endorsing this. As a merchant you might be in violation of your merchant agreement by accepting this thing.

    • by houghi (78078)

      Technically, I see how it works but why would a merchant accept this thing?

      Because it helps making a sale. Just like they already accept varous other forms of payment.
      Yes, it is a bit chicken and egg. Obviously it won't be vailable everywhere wihen it starts.

      • by gl4ss (559668)

        but it's not a form of payment, it's a copy of your magnetic strip on something that the credit card companies specially say not to accept. no holograms? don't accept. looks like a cloned card? don't accept.

        not the original card? don't accept!

  • by nemesisrocks (1464705) on Sunday August 24, 2014 @07:56AM (#47741407) Homepage

    Outside of the US, Chip & Pin is king. In many parts of Europe, you can't even use a card that doesn't have a chip. No chip, no pay.

    In Australia, for purchases under $100, you use Paypass/Paywave. Simply tap and go.

    Coin is a cool idea, but it's stillborn. It would have been cool 10 years ago, but the world moved on.

    • by Radak (126696)

      It was cool in 1992 [squarespace.com].

    • Most shocking is that the bank its ATMs still require the magnetic strip even though the banks mandate EMV at all other places.
    • In case you haven't noticed, this is slashdot, a US-centric site. Inside the US, Chip&Pin is vanishingly rare. Your objection is irrelevant for the target market. The US has not moved on, although they will start to in October 2015.
  • Reading, it sounds like it is able to replicate various mag-stripes, and therefore can replicate various credit-cards.

    This, in a world where credit-card issuers are trying real hard to get away from mag-stripes and over to chip-only operation, makes no sense.
    Personally, I've seen a LOT of stores over the last 4-5 years, where the mag-reader has been taped over (or a standard cardboard thing inserted), so the only option is to use the card-chip; likewise, several new portable readers (in restaurants, taxis),

    • Reading, it sounds like it is able to replicate various mag-stripes, and therefore can replicate various credit-cards.

      This, in a world where credit-card issuers are trying real hard to get away from mag-stripes and over to chip-only operation, makes no sense.
      Personally, I've seen a LOT of stores over the last 4-5 years, where the mag-reader has been taped over (or a standard cardboard thing inserted), so the only option is to use the card-chip; likewise, several new portable readers (in restaurants, taxis), that only read chips and not mag-strips.

      Sooo.. what is it about this product, that makes it worth however little money it may cost??

      You must not be in the US. I've never had a card with a chip. Mine doesn't even have raised letters, the only option is the magnetic strip. I suspect the US is the target audience for this.

      • by Captain Nitpick (16515) on Sunday August 24, 2014 @08:30AM (#47741509)

        You must not be in the US. I've never had a card with a chip. Mine doesn't even have raised letters, the only option is the magnetic strip. I suspect the US is the target audience for this.

        Chips are coming in the US. The credit card processors are shifting fraud liability in October 2015. Merchants will have to take responsibility for fraud committed on mag stripe transactions, but not chipped ones.

        • Merchants will have to take responsibility for fraud committed on mag stripe transactions only if they don't offer the ability to use EMV. If they offer EMV but the customer still swipes, fraud is still on the issuer/processor. Swipe is going to be around for a while still.

          • by plover (150551)

            Once the merchants have the terminals in place and the liability has shifted to them, the issuers will have strong incentive to deploy chip cards, as they will have the least secure piece of the system. Mag stripes will be gone in just a few years.

      • by quetwo (1203948)

        All the banks are issuing new terminals that accept chip+pin in the US. Start watching your local markets and smaller shops -- many of them already have the new readers. My corporate card was just re-issued last month with a Chip+Pin -- if I try to swipe it on one of these new readers, it denies the transactions and prompts me to insert it near the bottom.

        I'd say 25% of the merchants I've visited in the last two weeks have a chip+pin reader already. Major chains where they have their own branded readers

        • by apraetor (248989)
          The system being implemented in the US isn't traditional chip&pin -- it's just "chip". The card will need to remain in the reader while the transaction is processed, but there will be no PIN requirement.
          • by quetwo (1203948)

            Not true. There is a PIN requirement for cards that have a PIN assigned to them. US Banks have switched from the "Chip + Signature" to "Chip + Pin" system in the last year.

            • by Muad'Dave (255648)

              Not all, and not even the largest. From the Bank of America site [bankofamerica.com] (emphasis mine):

              What's the difference between chip & signature and chip & PIN? Does my card have a PIN?
              Chip & PIN is a very similar technology, except that you use a PIN to complete a purchase instead of a signature. Both chip & PIN and chip & signature offer enhanced security against counterfeiting compared to traditional magnetic stripe-only cards. Bank of America does not currently offer chip & PIN technology.

              • by mythosaz (572040)

                ..but will within the next few months.

                How hard is it to check these things instead of cherry-picking your responses? It's been on many/most of their credit cards for over a year.

                Bank of America today announced that it is rolling out chip technology on many of its consumer credit cards. The new chip technology will increase acceptance and security of the cards for international travelers.

                Most of BofA's credit offerings have Chip & Pin available already. It just hasn't made it to their standard debit ca

                • by Muad'Dave (255648)

                  You're assuming the quote you pasted refers to chip and PIN - it does not. From the same FAQ I quoted:

                  Bank of America does not currently offer chip & PIN technology.

                  This site [creditcardinsider.com] clearly shows that BofA ONLY offers Chip-and-signature cards - their chip-and-PIN section has NO MENTION of BofA.

                  Another ref: http://thepointsguy.com/2014/0... [thepointsguy.com]

          • by plover (150551)

            That will depend on your bank, and your account. Some banks will require customers to use PINs, others may not.

        • by Vlado (817879)

          In Europe it's also becoming very common to see NFC readers attached to terminals as more and more cards are now "contactless".

      • by thegarbz (1787294)

        Mine doesn't even have raised letters

        "Doesn't Even" is not the right term for a new trend. Many parts of the world are getting rid of raised letters on credit cards. In Australia they simply started rolling out the infrastructure for chips a long time ago and we have been on chip and pin for years (and only last month outright banned the use of magstripes), but the removal of the raised letters is something that I have seen only emerge in the past year here.

      • by Vlado (817879)

        Are you sure that you have a credit card and not a debit card? While, in the past, I've had credit cards without chips (of course), I've never had a credit card without raised personal information (CC number, Name, expiration date). If nothing else, that was needed even before magnetic strips were in use and is still a fallback in some situations when connectivity goes down for the store.

        My debit card, on the other hand, is flat, like yours.

  • Considering this:
    - Most card readers today use the smart chip only.
    - By using this, your bank will probably remove any support and blocking for your card and account.
    - When scanning and taking a picture of the card. Your essentially giving your card info to a program, on a device with little or no security.
    - Looking at the video, it shows you your pin number for that card on the unit.
    - Complete failure in the video: Theres nothing to stop the restaurant waiter from pressing the button to change selected car

    • - Most card readers today use the smart chip only.

      In the US most card readers don't even have chip support. Although that's supposed to start changing over the next year.

    • Might I suggest reading about something before you spout off out of ignorance? Most of the stuff you've asserted is patently false.

      - Most card readers today use the smart chip only.

      Globally, at least in the 70 or so countries deploying EMV, yes, but not yet in the US. Most readers in the US do not use smart chips. Nowhere close to most, in fact. And the Coin is aimed specifically at the US market, which will continue to accept magnetic swiping for at least the next few years. I.e. For the expected battery life of the Coin.

      - By using this, your bank will probably remove any support and blocking for your card and account.

      Textbook FUD. Banks have not expre

      • by plover (150551)

        The US market is moving rapidly to chip, as the PCI has mandated a liability shift as of October 2015. After that date, any merchants who don't demand a chip instead of a mag stripe will be fully liable for any fraud on the account, so the incentive for retailers to abandon mag stripes is very strong.

        I have no doubt that Coin will be implemented well, and will provide a measure of physical security that plastic cards don't. However, be assured that retailers are indeed suspicious of them because they are no

        • by Vlado (817879)

          And what about the signature requirement? Pretty much every contract that you get, explicitly says that you have to sign it in order for it to be useable.
          I know that you can simply whip out your preferred-and-valid form of ID, but that's not sufficient as per bank rules.

          We like to rant when people who handle our card transactions don't care about security measures. Here we'll be ranting when they will care enough to deny us the sale, because we offered them a payment instrument that could just as well be a

          • The Coin is signed on the back, just like a regular card.

          • by plover (150551)

            With PIN-based transactions on financial cards, the PIN is defined by the contract as the method of your approval, so no other signature is required. And I have yet to meet a cashier who is qualified as a graphologist who is legally qualified to compare a signed charge slip with the signature on the back of the card. Instead, most cashiers are trained to ignore the signature, other than making sure they got one. Some chains don't even show the customer's signature to the cashier, and some don't require t

    • Hi. You're foreign and you forgot that slashdot is a US-centric site. Sorry, but very few card readers today use "the smart chip", primarily because vanishingly few cards have "the smart chip" in them at all. It's not October 2015 yet, and even then adoption will be far from universal.

      Also, you forgot about all the other magstripe cards that could be used with the COIN. Store loyalty cards, hotel/airline/car rental rewards cards, etc.
  • We need this why? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by pla (258480) on Sunday August 24, 2014 @08:08AM (#47741455) Journal
    The premise behind Coin is attractive: consolidate credit cards onto a single card-sized gadget

    First, calling this thing "credit card sized" amounts to nothing short of a lie - More like a PCMCIA-card sized, or about four credit cards thick. It wouldn't fit in my current wallet, which doesn't even like holding the older embossed-number style cards because of the extra thickness.

    Second, my credit/debit/gift cards already come on credit card-sized devices. And they don't need batteries.

    Third, how many cards do people have that they need this? One credit card, one ATM card, and on the rare occasion I get a gift card for something, I use it ASAP to avoid some crazy terms of service eating the balance away. As the only possible audience I see for this, the sort of crazy coupon ladies who have two dozen store-specific cards just so they can play games with juggling discounts and no-payments-for-x-months - And even in that case, Coin only holds eight cards total, making it still useless.

    And finally, NFC has made the entire concept pointless. Coin has built dedicated hardware to do something that every smartphone (except the iPhone, because fuck you that's why) on the planet can do much, much better.

    So someone explain to me what I've missed here... What killer use have I failed to consider for the Coin?
    • by heldal (2015350)

      I have two cards: One debit (combined BankAxept and Visa - yes, it is already perfectly possible to have multiple cards on one chip, and it's quite common) and one credit card. All other things I need once a year I never carry around, because the only times I need them it is planned for.

      Now the super bonus with Coin is that not only can it store up to eight cards on its magnetic track, but you can change which cards using bluetooth. Which means you have to upload all your cards, manage them with Yet Anot

    • As was already pointed out to you, you have some of your basic facts wrong, and you seem to be falling into the far-too-common "I don't see the appeal for a product that isn't aimed at me, so this product is a failure" mentality.

      The device will be 0.84mm thick, rather than four credit cards thick as you claimed. So yes, it will fit in your wallet. And it will do so about as easily as a credit card does.

      Regarding the number of cards in a wallet, your situation is not universal, and many of us have valid reas

    • by thegarbz (1787294)

      What killer use have I failed to consider for the Coin?

      Anger and frustration induced blunt force trauma?

    • First, calling this thing "credit card sized" amounts to nothing short of a lie - More like a PCMCIA-card sized, or about four credit cards thick. It wouldn't fit in my current wallet, which doesn't even like holding the older embossed-number style cards because of the extra thickness.

      You're going to want to buy a new wallet. Roughly one year from now, all your cards will be getting replaced by EMV smart cards that have the same dimensions as the COIN. Sad trombone.

  • Even if it continued to work for years despite changed CC companies make to their cards, I'd be worried that it would break in my wallet or that regular use would eventually degrade it. My normal credit cards always look pretty haggard after a few years, and I don't have to pay almost $100 for those. This is a nice idea, but just seems to have too many problems.
  • I shared the news [slashdot.org] of Coin last November. That's when I pre-ordered one for myself and let the Coin folks know they had made it to slashdot's front page. That was my first and only submission to slashdot.

    They didn't so much as thank me for all the free publicity, which irked me a bit, but whatever. I still paid full price for my pre-ordered device and eagerly waited for June 21, 2014, the first day of summer. Summer 2014, when I'd finally be getting my Coin. As June 21 came and went, I realized that they

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