Chances are if you open your wallet, you will have a wide variety of credit, debit, gift and other cards tucked away inside. What if you could upload all these to a single card where you could access them all? That’s right. Instead of 4 credit cards, 2 debit cards and 2 gift cards all sitting in your wallet, you could have a single card that will hold all the information of the different cards, and it can be used just like you would use all the other cards. That is what Coin does. Take a look at how it works:
Now that you’ve seen it, my guess is that it sounds like a fantastically convenient idea. Really, who wouldn’t want to carry around less plastic in their wallet? Unfortunately there are a number of problems which arise when you look at the fine print, and even though it may seem like a nice idea, it makes little financial sense to actually get one. Here are a few of the reasons why…
The first reason that you won’t want to get this is the cost. Does it really make sense to pay $100 just so you can consolidate your credit and other cards? That’s an awful high premium simply to create a little extra space in your wallet.
You might want to argue that $100 may seem like a lot up front, but if you use it for 20 years, the real cost is only $5 a year. That, all of a sudden, doesn’t seem so unreasonable. The problem is that that Coin card won’t last 20 years. It will only last 2 years under normal use meaning that it will need to be replaced every two years or so when the battery dies (there is no way to insert an new battery — you need to buy a whole new card). Thus, the card will cost you about $50 a year which is still a pretty high premium for a little wallet space.
Card Number Limits
If you’re the type that has a ton of different cards, maybe even with the price it would make sense just to get them all organized. If you had 50 different gift cards from a variety of retailers in addition to your debit, credit and store cards, having an easy place to organize them all might be worth paying an bit of extra money. Unfortunately, each Coin card only holds up to eight different cards. If you had 50 cards, the best Coin could do is whittle them down to 7 Coin cards at the price of $700.
Those three issues alone should make it clear that there really isn’t any financial gain in getting one of these cards, and in reality you’re getting locked into a service that you’ll continually have to pay into over time. Then there are numerous other issues. Coin is not waterproof (although it is water resistant) so if you’re at a coffee shop and accidentally spill your drink on your wallet, all of a sudden all your plastic cards don’t work. This would not be the case if you had your regular credit cards.
In the same sense, if Coin malfunctions for any reason, you lose all the forms of payment that were stored in it. If for some reason one of your credit cards isn’t working, you can always use another one that’s in your wallet. While these may seem like minor issues, they only seem that way if the situation doesn’t ever happen to you. If it does, then all of a sudden it becomes a huge issue.
While the concept is nice, the reality is that it makes little financial sense to ever get one of these. My guess is that Coin will appeal to those who like to be early-adopters of technology. These people may see the price worth being it so they are able to show their friends the new toy that they have. And while that may be fun, it’s them simply trying to be the Joneses which is never good for your wallet.