I envision a future where our work computers, home entertainment systems, and wallets (or over-sized purses for the ladies) are all powered, controlled, and accessible via our smartphones.
Corporate IT support is currently letting more and more employees integrate their own devices into their daily work flow. Home Automation and Home Theater companies get it and are steadily pumping out devices that let us control many aspects of our homes with a few taps on a mobile app. Mobile Payments … it’s coming along but very slowly because in my opinion, there are “too many cooks in the kitchen.”
In other words, all of the companies looking to capitalize on this new trend are trying to force users into their own closed off, proprietary systems that don’t talk to each other and make it hard for vendors, merchants, and businesses to accept purchases via a smartphone. Currently, to buy something with your smartphone, you have to be at the right store, with the right mobile payment service, and with the right smartphone in order to complete a financial transaction without pulling out cash or credit (or check???).
That is confusing to the average consumer who just wants to show their phone to the cashier, or wave their phone over something and keep walking. Until the companies can agree on a mobile payment standard that’s accepted by financial institutions, merchants, and consumers alike, we are stuck with good ol’ plastic as the most advanced way to make a purchase.
Enter Coin, a “why didn’t I think of that” crowdfunding project, that essentially lets users combine all of their credit cards, debit cards, and reward & gift cards, into one card that can be used just like a normal credit card.
The user simply scans all their cards into the accompanying mobile app by swiping each card with an attached reader, similar to those Square and PayPal Here credit card readers. For added security, users will also have to take a picture of the front and back of the card (with your smartphone of course).
The app syncs to a physical card via Bluetooth that the user can hand to any merchant to pay for purchases, or shove into an ATM to withdraw funds. To select the correct credit card to make a purchase, the user taps a button on the physical Coin card to display the card’s nickname on a small LCD display before making a payment.
Since the Coin card is connected to the smartphone app (that holds all the credit card information) via Bluetooth, if you leave your credit card somewhere by mistake, or your card is stolen, it can be set to deactivate when it looses the Bluetooth connection between your smartphone. According to the developers, Coin will look, feel and act as a normal credit card, with the exception of being able to toggle between up to 8 cards, and will last for two years under normal usage.
Coin is starting off as a pre-order crowdfunding campaign for $50 (pledge funds will be withdrawn immediately) that is projected to launch Summer 2014. When officially available for all, Coin will retail for $100.
Of course, if your phone dies, so does the ability to use Coin, and thus, all of your credit cards. Technology just like everything else in life, comes with its own set of advancements and complications. The mobile battery issue is something that will plague any other technology trend that looks to put the smartphone square in the center of our daily lives. Even the mobile payments trend that companies are currently clamoring to corner will have to deal with this issue, even if one of them successfully become the de facto method of actually using your smartphone to make a payment.
Whether we like it or not, mobility is the future, as seemingly everything we do nowadays has “an app for it.” So I wouldn’t be surprised if a company finally cracks the smartphone battery life code in the near future, if it means our smartphones will literally be able to do everything, even lock and unlock your car doors, pay for a tank of gas, and buy your favorite travel munchies, all while making sure the house lights and iron are off, and the alarm is activated during a road trip.
How do you feel about technology like Coin potentially giving your smartphone so much power and control over your life?