The new currency: Add this coin to your wallet

Admit it or not, coinmost of us have an oversized wallet warehousing all manner of receipts, credit cards and loose change. So take a minute, all of you, and come to terms with your out-of-control cash carrier. We’ve got a gadget that will slim down your wallet and maybe even your lifestyle (pssst, it also has serious potential for marketers).

Coin is a credit card-sized device that stores up to eight credit, debit, gift, or membership cards, and allows you to rotate between them with the touch of a button. A tiny display on the front of Coin shows the last four digits of the card you’ve used (so far, that includes American Express, Discover, MasterCard, and Visa) and its CVV/CVC number. Coin utilizes basic credit card technology to operate: the device has a magnetic strip that changes on demand and can be used in any conventional reader or ATM. As one reviewer put it, “On the surface, [Coin] takes eight pieces of plastic and turns them into one piece of plastic.” Well, yes, but this invention also promises to revolutionize consumer habits on a larger scale: Coin facilitates purchase power, eliminates clutter and just might help spenders better manage their money.

If the thought of storing all your credit card information in one place makes you cringe, rest easy; Coin syncs with your iOS or Android smartphone, pinging it regularly to “check in.” If the card no longer detects your phone’s signal, Coin becomes inoperable (developers are still working out a way to keep Coin active even when a cell phone’s battery dies). Coin CEO Kanishk Parashar explains, “An online wallet holds your information, and we’re just like that, but on the ground.”

Coin ships with a small reader that enables you to scan up to eight credit cards into the Coin mobile app and a battery life that lasts nearly two years. Like so many new and exciting apps on the market today, Coin is the brainchild of a Kickstarter campaign. The San Francisco startup envisioned a consolidated credit card that would allow consumers to pay anywhere in the same way that the Square Reader—another wildly successful digital transaction tool—accepts any kind of payment. In less than an hour, Coin surpassed its $50,000 fundraising goal.

Coin isn’t for sale yet, but you can pre-order yours (limited quantities available) here. The $100 product certainly has a few kinks to work out. For instance, developers need to ensure that authenticating technology isn’t misused, especially in the event that both a phone and wallet are stolen together.

For those of you emphatically tethered to your big wallets, a standardized payment method already exists. It works with or without a smartphone or an electric charge and it’s universally accepted everywhere. They call it…cash.

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