The Device That Could Replace ALL Your Credit Cards?

There’s been an interesting little gadget floating around the interwebs these days – called Coin – and at first I was pretty blown away by it too: It’s an all-in-one credit card holder for all your debit cards, credit cards, gift cards, loyalty cards and membership cards.

As Coin’s website puts it:

Instead of carrying several cards, you carry one Coin.

It’s sleek, it’s *new*, and it looks damn sexy. And I know everyone’s going ga-ga for it because its promo video has been watched a staggering 5 MILLION times so far:

I was strongly considering signing up for it as I normally would after being oooh’d and ahhh’d by things (Bling H20 anybody?), but after a few seconds of stepping back and hitting pause, I started asking myself a few questions.

“Does this REALLY help me out that much?”
“Is the $100 it costs actually worth it??” (PS: It’s currently 50% off if you pre-order w/in next few days)
“How many cards do I even *have*??”

To Coin, or Not to Coin?

It’s that LAST question up there that matters the most to me. We all know we don’t *need* a gadget like this as we’ve been doing fine for centuries now, even though it would be damn cool to have, but the question of the # of cards is a pretty important one. And obviously caters to the (enormous) gang of people who DO carry a ton of them everywhere they go. Especially those super consumers!

(So, pretty much, this device is for all those people who *shouldn’t* be buying it, haha… OR, those travel hackers who sign up to one card a day and reap all the free benefits like flying around the world in first class while getting hotel rooms comped everywhere they go too – those guys are hardcore!)

Over the years I’ve been trying to cut down on all my “things” in general to be more minimalistic, and this certainly has influenced my financial doings as well. Like, how we’ve made the following changes:

  1. Keeping all accounts under one roof. [With USAA, of course]
  2. Keeping all expenses on one main credit card. [Another shout to USAA]
  3. And keeping all savings into one main savings account. [Also, USAA – hot damn!]

Now on one hand you’d think this Coin contraption would then of course make sense – after all, you can swap out ALL your cards for one fancy pants one instead! – but really what’s the point if you’ve already cut down on most of your cards already?

I will say, however, even with me cutting down as much as possible, I’m still left with 3 total cards in my money clip day in and day out: Our main credit card, our main debit card (as to pull cash out as needed), and my business Amex card. So it *would* dwindle them down to just 1 main card for sure, but going from 3 cards to 1 rather than 13 is a pretty drastic difference. I’m not sweating the burden of hauling around 3 little pieces of plastic every day, haha… And plus that card wouldn’t even fit in my money clip I don’t think?

Questions About Coin

This brings us to a multitude of other questions that would arise too:

  1. Does this fit in a money clip? Or snuggly in a wallet?
  2. What happens if someone steals it?
  3. Can anyone change the card type on the screen when you hand it over to pay?
  4. What if it runs out of batteries? (Does it even use batteries?)
  5. How easy is it to damage?
  6. What if you lose it?
  7. Is there a warranty you can buy w/ it to get a free replacement?

And so on and so forth… They do answer a lot of those questions in their Q&A section (I won’t spoil the fun and tell you which ;)), but regardless it’s catered to a whole bunch of people who at the end of the day really isn’t me. Except for purposes of blogging about it since it does fall smack in the middle of money AND sexiness no matter how you slice it. Perhaps I’ll try it when it becomes FREE later ;)

(Speaking of slicing things – did any of you ever watch that David Blaine special last week where he was doing magic tricks for celebrities?? It was off the chain!!! He hid a card in the middle of a peace of freakin’ FRUIT and made Harrison Ford cut it open to find it all curled up in there and blurt out an expletive! Haha… It was bad ass. But I digress…)

10 People Coin is For:

So who’s the card really for? Here are my guesses:

  1. People who have a lot of credit and debit cards (d’uh)
  2. People who have TOO MANY credit and debit cards (this sounds like what I just said, but it’s not – some people have a lot of credit cards on purpose, while others just have too many because they don’t like to pay attention)
  3. People with a ton of rewards cards and it’s overloading their key chain
  4. People who don’t have money clips (I know, I know, I’m obsessed with this one, but I really don’t think it would get along in there! It would prob break in a week!)
  5. People who just want the latest greatest thing
  6. People who like spending money
  7. People who hack travel rewards (like these guys over at Noob Traveler – they’re dope)
  8. People who will buy it because it’s 50% off so it’s “saving” them money (you laugh, but there are a lot of people who confuse spending a lot of money with saving a lot of money! ;))
  9. People who think this will help them get laid (again, these people are out there, haha…)
  10. People who are just curious… I would fall the closest into this category.

I’m sure I can think up more, but I’ll save you the time and drivel ;) The point is, this is one new fancy pants card out there, and you should stop for a few before you rush to go buy it. Even IF it’s 50% off (but if you do end up wanting it for real – hurry up and get it before the deal goes away!!!)

Regardless, I’m sure these folks won’t have a lick of trouble selling these things out. This is America after all, and we sure do love some game-changing technology. Especially those which promise us time saved and convenience. Just think of all our iPhones!! You know how much freedom we now have because of those? I have all the time in the world now – I’m never on that thing.

Oh wait…

Now who wants to sign up for this thing? :)

PS: I don’t make any money if you buy Coin or not, though I did want to sign up to their affiliate program to do so! Turns out you have to BUY IT first to be able to though – those sneaky bastards ;)

PPS: Big ups to Daniel from Sweating The Big Stuff who first told me about this – You’re always on top of things, brotha! You’ll have to tell me how it is when you get it in the mail. Since I know for a fact you bought it now that I’m up on the affiliate scheme ;)

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  1. My Money Design November 25, 2013 at 5:48 AM

    Interesting idea, but don’t they already have payment apps for your phone that are intended to replace having to carry around credit cards. Plus I’ve never really felt like carrying 2-3 credits cards in my wallet was that big of an annoyance.

    1. J. Money November 25, 2013 at 3:23 PM

      Yeah, I’m sure there are – and will have more coming out too. Maybe this is for those people who don’t like waving/scanning their phones? They also don’t have to train any stores/staff to use it since it does seem to act and look exactly like a normal credit card – and that’s some pretty powerful stuff. (Probably the best thing they have going for them)

  2. Broke Millennial November 25, 2013 at 7:25 AM

    That’s a big not thank you. I don’t have enough reward cards and debt/credit cards for it to be annoying to carry them around. Seems like a waste of money, especially as My Money Design pointed out that we’re well on the way to “having an app for that,” particularly with reward cards.

    Also, I’m sure the spokesman is the creator or something but really — he had about as much charisma as a dead fish. Why is he doing the commercial? I didn’t even want to finish watching the thing.

  3. Brian November 25, 2013 at 7:51 AM

    This isn’t a new idea. Wallaby is fairly similiar (except they try to choose the card that earns the best rewards for you) and so is Echo. Neither has really been able to get too much done with it from what I can tell and I am not sure Coin is going to get very far.

    I churn credit cards and this might be helpful, but odds are I won’t even think about it. Keeping track of what I have isn’t that hard…

  4. Sheri November 25, 2013 at 7:55 AM

    I like a company that has a sense of humor. While this still makes me worriedin re: fraud capabilities– thereare people who can make fake credit cards, they do seem to have pretty good safeguards in place.


    Q. My soufflés keep collapsing! What can I do?

    A. In order for the meringue to peak properly we suggest adding a little lemon juice to the béchamel. This strengthens the mixture and prevents tragedy.

    1. J. Money November 25, 2013 at 3:17 PM

      Haha…. nice – I hadn’t caught that one ;)

  5. Brian@ Debt Discipline November 25, 2013 at 8:01 AM

    Defiantly sound convenient but security/ fraud first comes to mind. I think I will stick with a couple of card in my pockets. If we all had coin cards it would make for some very boring wallet crashers posts.

  6. David K. November 25, 2013 at 8:04 AM

    Well, I’ll be the first to bite – I actually bought two, as both my gf and I fall under category 1. Between a business card, debit, two rewards AmEX cards, discover (for sam’s club), and a backup visa, I’ve got a lot of plastic in my wallet. I’m satisfied with their security claims, and I don’t consider myself to ‘shop too much’ – I just maximize the rewards available. So, yes, I bought one.

    Anyone else in that category?

    1. J. Money November 25, 2013 at 3:18 PM

      Cool – I hope it works out real well for ya :) Will you let me know once you’ve received and tested it out? Might be worth a follow up post once they’re out there in the real world.

  7. Andy@artofbeingcheap November 25, 2013 at 8:06 AM

    I like the idea of only having to carry around 1 thing. I’ll like it better when a smart phone app can do this without the card.

    1. Mel November 26, 2013 at 2:46 PM

      I think this will be a lot more popular once it integrates with smartphones too. You already can use your phone at several retailers to pay, so I don’t imagine it’s too far away. Security aspects make me super wary though… I’d rather a few Guinea pigs give it a go for a while. Although I am excited to hear their reports.

      And Broke Millennial, Key Ring is a good, free app that lets you load in all your rewards cards and just use the app to find them and pay – it would be even better though if you just had a “universal” bar code or QR code or something instead of having to still swipe through your listed rewards cards to find the right one (gosh, how inconvenient, right? ;o).

  8. Laurie @thefrugalfarmer November 25, 2013 at 8:07 AM

    No Coin for me – I’m stuck in “old peoples” world where people should just use cash, dammit, but the David Blaine special sounds super cool. :-)

  9. Holly@ClubThrifty November 25, 2013 at 8:15 AM

    I churn credit cards for sing-up bonuses so this probably wouldn’t work for me!

  10. Jade November 25, 2013 at 8:20 AM

    It sounds cool (read: I would buy one) but for anyone else reading this not in the States – they don’t support EMV (chip cards) yet! So it would only be useable for loyalty cards here in Canada and a lot of Europe.

  11. Free Money Minute November 25, 2013 at 8:28 AM

    Not worth the cost to me. I try to limit myself to charging to just one credit card anyway (to consolidate any rewards). Cool idea if the cost wasn’t so high.

  12. nicole November 25, 2013 at 10:07 AM

    I thought it was cool before I read their FAQ. Now the more I read about Coin the less I like it. First off, it only stores 8 cards. If you have a lot of loyalty cards, that just won’t do. I use CardStar on my phone for those anyway. Secondly, it only displays the last 4 digits of the card. I’m not sure about you, but I don’t necessarily have those memorized in order to identify which card is which. Thirdly, it sounds like unless the card is far enough away from your phone then someone could change the card you selected. I don’t like that at all. But finally, it only lasts 2 years and needs to be replaced. So it’s a recurring $100 fee every two years. No thank you!

    1. J. Money November 25, 2013 at 3:19 PM

      Ahhhh, look at that – good finds!

  13. Debt BLAG November 25, 2013 at 10:12 AM

    At $100 fee for a device that they expect to last just a couple years, the numbers don’t add up for me at my spending levels. Perhaps for people that spend a lot more (maybe someone who uses their cards for business) and so get more rewards, it would make sense.

  14. Debt BLAG November 25, 2013 at 10:16 AM

    Also, I love #7. In my mind’s eye, it reminds me of a husband who comes home from Kohl’s with several bags full of clothes and home decor they don’t need and will never use, then proudly exlaims to his wife, “I just saved you $396 on sales! You’re welcome.”

    1. J. Money November 25, 2013 at 3:21 PM

      Yup :) And I’ve fallen into that trap plenty of times before too. Saving money isn’t always *saving* money!

  15. Francisco Rodriguez November 25, 2013 at 11:20 AM

    i read a review elsewhere that you can only have up to 8 cards on it at a time, which isnt too bad since im not usually working with more than that. The big problem i have is the$100 price tag and the battery dies after 2 years and you have buy another one. No thanks

  16. Mike November 25, 2013 at 7:22 PM

    I too seriously considered buying one at their early bird rate of $50, but then I reconsidered for a bit because the cards I carry in my wallet works fine. Additionally, I don’t think the COIN device actually has you name printed on it, so if you’re making a large purchase, cashier normally want to verify the name on the card with a photo ID, which obviates the need for the COIN device.

    That’s my take on the device.

    1. J. Money November 26, 2013 at 1:43 PM

      Interesting – hadn’t thought about that part yet, you could be on to something there. Would be really hard to verify the owner of it as-is!

  17. This Life On Purpose November 25, 2013 at 10:53 PM

    That’s really cool! I wonder how long before it catches on. We can’t use it in Canada though because we have the chip and pin (EMV) system, which is not supported. Plus I don’t think it’s worth the $100 price tag for only 2 years. Maybe someday..

  18. Christine @ ThePursuitofGreen November 25, 2013 at 11:59 PM

    It’s a very cool concept but I really don’t have that many cards and I don’t want to pay for it! I’m sure a lot of places are having trouble using it too and some places might not take it at all. I have my purse to throw things into anyway and cards are the lightest part of it all.

    J$, maybe you can get a murse if anything.

    1. J. Money November 26, 2013 at 1:43 PM

      Never!!! Haha…

  19. Musa @ My Personal Finance Journey November 26, 2013 at 7:40 AM

    This is a good one.I have so many credit cards that I think it would be a great solution for me. I can’t forget the day I carried my MasterCard among others, only to discover that the one I needed most, Bank of America Visa Card, is the one I had forgotten!!

    1. J. Money November 26, 2013 at 1:44 PM

      It def. sucks when you forget to bring the correct one on ya… Another reason to slim down to just a cple though? :)

  20. Daniel November 26, 2013 at 3:43 PM

    Hell yah I bought one! Now all I have to do is sit patiently for…about 8 months. Can’t wait!

    I would actually prefer the wallaby card, but it’s not out yet, so I had to settle for the first one to market.

    9. People who think this will help them get laid (again, these people are out there, haha…)
    If you whip this thing out and refer to it as your “black card,” you definitely fall under this category

    1. J. Money November 26, 2013 at 3:59 PM

      Haha… hadn’t thought of that idea! You’re totally gonna try it, aren’t you? ;)

  21. James Lathrop November 27, 2013 at 6:03 AM

    I did get one of these. The reason is I have 3 reward credit cards that I use. I use Wallaby to see which one will give me the most rewards based on where I am at. Wallaby will be coming out with a card that you use instead of your credit cards and then it charge which ever credit will give you the best reward. So that means no more looking it up, just swipe. So the end goal is to have my wallaby card on this card with all my grocery rewards cards and get rid of my wallet.

    1. J. Money December 2, 2013 at 11:30 AM

      I like the sound of it, in theory :) Let us know how it works once you’re playing with it in real-time my man.

  22. Andrew@LivingRichCheaply November 27, 2013 at 3:27 PM

    Sounds like a cool idea. I do have a decent amount of credit cards that I use based on what gives me the best rewards. It would be a hassle if you lose it right? And I don’t know if I’d pay for it…I’d take if I can get it for free!

    1. J. Money December 2, 2013 at 11:31 AM

      Yeah, I bet they do free versions down the road if it becomes super popular… Always a way to make money once you have people eating it up!

  23. Mike Carlson December 1, 2013 at 11:38 AM

    The cost doesn’t sound attractive to me. Though I like the convenience it is trying to imply.