PayPal veteran Kanishk Parashar has founded a new company called Coin, which aims to build a better credit card.
Unlike contactless payment technologies, which tried to change the way we use our cards, Coin is trying to reduce all the debit, credit, gift and loyalty cards that clog up a wallet into one single piece of plastic. Basically it is a universal credit card that can reprogram its magnetic stripe on the fly to match any card you load into it.
It is about the size of a standard credit card but contains an interface that allows the user to cycle through stored cards. There is a small screen, which displays the user’s name, expiration dates, security codes and any other information that a merchant would need to accept a transaction, although not a signature.
The device connects to iOS or Android smartphones via Bluetooth. The app along with an accompanying mag-stripe dongle, allow new cards to be loaded and existing cards to be managed. This means there is no need for an internet connection in order for it to work.
All of the data is secured by 128-bit encryption, with Bluetooth adding the extra layer of protection needed for such sensitive information. If the device loses radio contact with the phone, it will lock and send an alert to the user. If the phone battery dies or Bluetooth loses connection, then Coin can be unlocked with a code.
The device is powered by a non-replaceable battery, which is said to last two years. Parashar says it is designed to take a lot more abuse than the average credit card, being shock and water resistant. Also the strip will not demagnetise in the presence of other magnets, credit cards or electronics.
Coin, which has the backing of Y Combinator and K9 Ventures, still needs to raise funds to manufacture the device. Therefore Parashar is seeking to raise $50,000 through crowdfunding. But rather than going through Kickstarter or Indiegogo, it is taking pre-orders through its website. The first to pledge will get the device for $50, that’s a reduction of 50 percent compared with the $100 retail price. Parashar expects the first shipments to reach buyers next summer.
[Image via genius-inc]