Enabling Technologies

Coin card is not the first and only one, flashback Omne card

Credit cards, debit cards, prepaid cards – consumers are carrying, and having to keep up with, an increasing number of cards. Despite the efforts of big players like Google, Isis and Paydiant and startups Kuapay and ZooZ to create electronic wallets, plastic still rules, as is evident with the success of Square’s platform. Consumers could choose to store all their cards on a single card and manage it with the smartphone through BLE via San Francisco-based Coin or Omne Card.

Coin was founded in 2012 by Kanishk Parashar (CEO). The startup is backed by investors such as Y – Combinator, K9 Venture funding and Osama Beider, former head of Google Wallet. A pre-order campaign had been planned by Coin for November 15, and the plan was to top out at $50,000. Within 40 minutes, Coin surpassed the goal. So here is a live case study for Omne Card that having a cool product is not the only thing. If you didn’t make a big bang, well, you are not there. The second battleground both companies face going forward is growth hacking.

Coin is a thin credit card sized device which enables users to store other credit cards, debit cards, gift cards, loyalty cards, coupons, rewards etc. in its dynamic magnetic strip. The company calls its card – ‘Midnight’.

Here is a video showing how Coin works:

  • Users can load a card into Coin’s companion Android or iOS by clicking a picture of the card, swiping it across Coin’s headphone jack dongle and then toggling it on or off whenever it is needed by the user.
  • The user has to squeeze a button on the card to turn it on and rotate to the desired by using a small rectangular screen. Coin can then be used to pay at a retailer or merchant like any credit/debit card.
  • There is no limit to the number of cards that can be stored on the Coin app. The device can sync with 8 cards which can be used immediately. Toggling of cards in and out of Coin takes only a few seconds thanks to BLE (Bluetooth Low Energy) connectivity. The original plastic is not needed. This means a user can load everything he/she needs at home and walk out with a single card in their hand.
  • Coin uses 128-bit and 256-bit encryption on its mobile application, server and the card itself. If the Coin is forgotten at home, the app communicates with the users mobile informing him that he has left it behind. If it loses contact with the user’s phone for a certain period of time, Coin will deactivate itself.

Kanishk Parashar, the CEO of Coin had earlier dipped his nose in the payments space with a startup called SmartMarket. It pulled up customer’s photos on an app and let them pay through their mobile device. According to Kanishk, their app was downloaded by a large number of people but they never got traffic – no payments were going through their platform.

Lets Talk Payments had recently written about Omne card that changes magnetic stripe via smartphone. Omne uses a unique technology that allows the magnetic stripe on the back of the Omne card to change into any verified card loaded by the user onto the Omne Mobile Wallet App. You can save all your cards and use the one according to the purchase situation.

Another card which and basically performs the same functions as Coin and Omne and to be released in 2014 is Echo, by Protean Payment.  The Echo system enables users to scan all the magnetic data from their cards into their smartphone and then sync any three cards to the user’s Echo. The Echo takes on the “personality” of that card by pressing one of the three buttons on it. The Echo can then be swiped just like the user would normally do with his card. Users can easily sync the Echo to their phone to change cards at any time. Protean Payment too uses Bluetooth Low Energy to connect Echo to the user’s smartphone.

Flint also operates in this space. However, it is a slightly different and limited concept wherein you can make a payment by allowing the merchant to take a picture of the card.

LTP View: Although, Omne Card solutions have been in the market for some time now, Coin is generating a lot of buzz.  Being a Y Combinator company helps. Omne has gone a step further in security though, by providing small buttons at the lower end of the card through which a user can input a lock code or PIN and only then use the preset card. Coin has not yet been released,  so there is a lot of room for innovation before the final product is out.

Chiraag Patel

Chiraag Patel is a Senior Reporting Analyst and the Editor of Bitcoin and Virtual Currency channels at Lets Talk Payments. He is an engineer with deep interest in MMORPG, Virtual Banking, Game Currency and Virtual Cash. Chiraag enjoys Reading& Blogging with focus on New Innovation, Technology & Startups in the Payments Space.

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