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Major Delays, Revamped Beta For Credit-Card Consolidating Gadget Coin

timothy posted about a month ago | from the nickelback-quarterback-pedalback dept.

Businesses 78

The premise behind Coin is attractive: consolidate credit cards onto a single card-sized gadget. However, on Friday the company announced a delay in the release of its final version from this summer to spring of 2015, and in a way that angered many of the project's crowd-funding backers. The announcement of a delay was not only sudden, and quite close to the previously announced shipping date, but upset those who'd pre-ordered by outlining a confusing beta program that would involve an interim product release — recipients of the beta version (limited to 10,000) would have had to then pay $30 to upgrade to the final product. As CNET reports, the delay until 2015 remains, but with regard to that beta program, Coin has now reversed its stance. The beta program will be free -- meaning preorder customers who opt-in will no longer forfeit the $55 they paid and will still receive the finished Coin product next year. The program will also expand from 10,000 customers to 15,000. Regardless of whether your smartphone is running Apple's iOS or Google's Android operating system, preorder customers can opt-in to Coin's beta program through its app and will be eligible for a device if they fall within the 15,000-person threshold. The order is determined by when you bought your Coin. Coin customers, some who placed orders as far back as November 2013 when the startup first opened its website for preorders, were displeased not so much with the product delay as with the way Coin handled the situation. The company had, as recently as August 14, sent out an update explaining that a long-awaited shipping announcement would arrive at month's end --yet without an indication that it may miss its shipping target.

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Won't work with new chips (5, Insightful)

jonnythan (79727) | about a month ago | (#47741391)

All the major credit card companies will be rolling out soon-to-be-mandatory chip systems for their credit cards. The point of this chip is specifically to prevent copying of credit cards. Coin is dead in the water.

Beyond this, how many register monkeys will decline the transaction because it's not the original card? I was trained at my old retail job by an actual Mastercard representative never to allow use of a credit card without a signed back, much less a card that's literally a personal copy.

Re:Won't work with new chips (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47741441)

The card does have a signed back.

Re:Won't work with new chips (5, Funny)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about a month ago | (#47741445)

All the major credit card companies will be rolling out soon-to-be-mandatory chip systems for their credit cards. The point of this chip is specifically to prevent copying of credit cards. Coin is dead in the water.

Beyond this, how many register monkeys will decline the transaction because it's not the original card? I was trained at my old retail job by an actual Mastercard representative never to allow use of a credit card without a signed back, much less a card that's literally a personal copy.

When I worked retail as a teenager for minimum wage, I could not have cared less. You could have handed me an unripened Banana and if it made the register beep and the display said you paid, I was done. One employee chased a shoplifter out of the store once and caught them. Later the rest of us were laughing at him. I didn't get paid enough to run, much less after potentially armed criminals.

Re:Won't work with new chips (2)

jonnythan (79727) | about a month ago | (#47741469)

It varies. A lot of retail workers won't care, but some will. Especially the ones who are smart enough to be aware of credit card fraud but not so knowledgeable they know about Coin.

I don't think someone would have to be turned down from a purchase many times before they threw the thing in the garbage. It doesn't have to happen often.

Re:Won't work with new chips (2)

mysidia (191772) | about a month ago | (#47742733)

A lot of retail workers won't care, but some will. Especially the ones who are smart enough to be aware of credit card fraud but not so knowledgeable they know about Coin.

In my opinion, they will learn pretty darn fast, or they will get fired. As long as Coin is legal, and the credit card companies decide to allow it.

The thing is.... the cardmember agreement says your Credit Card is The credit card company's property The physical card does not belong to you, the consumer, and you have no right to make a copy of it, So Coin DOES have to be authorized by Mastercard, Visa, Etc, and I would expect the retail employees to be trained to accept it.

If they refuse, I will be asking to speak to a manager and make a complaint about the employee, which I will follow up in writing to the retail establishment and to some officials at their corporate HQ.

Re: Won't work with new chips (1)

jonnythan (79727) | about a month ago | (#47743077)

To the best of my knowledge, no major credit card companies allow the use of copied credit cards.

Re: Won't work with new chips (1)

mysidia (191772) | about a month ago | (#47745577)

To the best of my knowledge, no major credit card companies allow the use of copied credit cards.

I think Coin will have to have a partnership with them, otherwise, Coin will be doomed from the get go, because, you see the Coin screen displays the various Logos of credit card companies on the front when being used, along with the last 4 digits of the credit card number.

If they don't have a partnership; Mastercard, Visa, Discover, Amex, etc, will have to either license Coin's usage of their logo on the cards, or enforce the trademark rights and sue Coin or send cease and decist displaying their logo and disseminating confidential magnetic track data in an unauthorized manner.....

Re: Won't work with new chips (1)

godefroi (52421) | about a month ago | (#47748845)

Doesn't matter. Chip-and-pin will kill Coin regardless. The whole point of chip-and-pin is to render the card uncopyable.

Re:Won't work with new chips (1)

NoImNotNineVolt (832851) | about a month ago | (#47747203)

I don't know where you guys shop, but I've noticed a trend of having the customer swipe their own card themselves rather than handing the card to the cashier. In any of these cases, the cashier has limited ability to even see the customer's card, let alone have any inclination to actually try to do so.

Re:Won't work with new chips (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47742563)

This device will work well to sort out employees that don't care from owners and employees that do care.

You've bought things from the owner of the store more often than you think.

Re:Won't work with new chips (1)

jfengel (409917) | about a month ago | (#47742617)

In fact, I'm almost surprised he wasn't fired. You're not just not paid enough to run. It's potentially dangerous, and the damage from the shoplifting is smaller than the potential harm to you: it's unlikely but expensive when it does happen. Most stores I know tell you to just call attention and get security to come: they ARE tasked with that. (Most of them, in fact, are also told not to chase people, just to collect identifying information and report it to the police.)

The main purpose is to scare people away with the knowledge that they could be caught and could spend time in jail. Again the risk is low but the potential cost high. Most store managers would have given you all the "Look, I admire your bravery, but don't do it again" speech. It's just not worth it for the store.

Re:Won't work with new chips (1)

mysidia (191772) | about a month ago | (#47742749)

In fact, I'm almost surprised he wasn't fired. You're not just not paid enough to run. It's potentially dangerous, and the damage from the shoplifting is smaller than the potential harm to you: it's unlikely but expensive when it does happen.

It's true that it is dangerous, and potentially very harmful to the employee. The store itself will also not have any liability for any harm that happened to the employee as a result, because any injury would fall under worker comp. process, and the Employee won't be granted payments for injuries from a fight started by the employee.

However, if the shoplifter is injured running from the employee, they can file a lawsuit against both the establishment and the employee, and the store may have significant liability.

Re:Won't work with new chips (1)

apraetor (248989) | about a month ago | (#47742787)

The employee would also be liable for any injuries to other employees which occur as a result of his intervention, correct?

Re:Won't work with new chips (1)

mysidia (191772) | about a month ago | (#47743835)

The employee would also be liable for any injuries to other employees which occur as a result of his intervention, correct?

It is unlikely, however possible, particularly if the employee was taking actions they did not believe were within their required job duties where a reasonable person in the employee's place would be expected to foresee the danger to others, and the employee had a duty to avoid creating the danger, but it would be for the courts and attorneys to sort out depending on local state law.

The other employee would be on the job, so this would most likely be a claim within the workman's comp system.

In general, in the absence of an agreement, conspiracy, or intent to encourage, an individual is not liable for another 3rd party individual's decision to harm or cause damage to a 2nd party.

Also, if the 2nd party acts with clear intent to injure another employee, and they succeed, then they may have committed the felony of aggravated assault, which will likely eliminate the shoplifter's ability to sue.

Re:Won't work with new chips (1)

DogDude (805747) | about a month ago | (#47741711)

No need to call us "monkeys", you douchebag, but I agree. I work behind a register, and I wouldn't take it. And yes, chip and pin will kill this, as well.

Re:Won't work with new chips (1)

Roger W Moore (538166) | about a month ago | (#47741871)

All the major credit card companies will be rolling out soon-to-be-mandatory chip systems for their credit cards.

They already have done several years ago. Wherever you are is about 5-6 years behind the times.

Re:Won't work with new chips (1)

Anubis IV (1279820) | about a month ago | (#47743101)

The Coin has a lifespan of about two years, since it has a built-in battery that isn't user serviceable. Given that the newest credit/debit card I have doesn't expire until 2017, and none of mine have chips, it would seem to me that registers will still need to be accepting cards like mine for at least another 3-4 years, which means that the Coin I pre-ordered last year will work as well. It'll be several years before the chips are mandatory, and Coin has plenty of time between now and then to engineer a second-gen device that deals with that issue.

Also, by most indications, the "register monkeys" are having no qualms with swiping these cards. They're all signed by the owner and swipe like normal about 85% of the time, according to Coin, which they're working to get up to 99% before launch.

Re:Won't work with new chips (1)

fahrbot-bot (874524) | about a month ago | (#47743749)

Given that the newest credit/debit card I have doesn't expire until 2017, and none of mine have chips, it would seem to me that registers will still need to be accepting cards like mine for at least another 3-4 years...

Of course, your Bank (whoever) could send you new Chip and Pin cards before your old ones expire.

Re:Won't work with new chips (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about a month ago | (#47745583)

in USA sure. just like square wasn't obsolete in USA on the day it shipped. doesn't mean that it's not obsolete in europe.

but you know what? they still need to get the CC companies on board for it to be legit. doing clones of magnetic cards has always been simple, but it is against the rules.

but again, since in USA you might have tills that only take your signature as verification that it's you and have you do self service checkout of the items without human interaction.. so there's an use case there that doesn't need another person.

at the very least anyone would be stupid to accept them without checking and recording the ID of anyone wanting to use it..

(oh and the issuer can expire the card before expire date stamped on it.. check your contracts...)

furthermore, the chip/pin technology is MEANT TO BE SO THAT YOU CAN NOT DO A SECOND GEN "COIN" TO ADDRESS THE ISSUE! it would defeat whole point of the chip - so they would have to do direct deals with the card provider companies and make it all a big hassle.

coin is a kind of product that is easy to come up with but pretty hard to implement so that it's not against any rules and works with tech that's not from the '80s...

Re:Won't work with new chips (1)

NoImNotNineVolt (832851) | about a month ago | (#47747147)

I was trained at my old retail job by an actual Mastercard representative never to allow use of a credit card without a signed back

In the 15 years that I've been using credit cards, I've never once signed the back of any of them, nor have I ever had any issues using an unsigned card to pay for anything.

When you sign the back of your card, you're providing a template for forgery to anyone that happens to steal or find your card. I can understand why the credit card company would want you to do this, as a convincing forgery job on a signed sales receipt shifts liability from them to the consumer. However, as a consumer, I don't understand why you'd willingly buy in to such a system.

Re:Won't work with new chips (1)

jonnythan (79727) | about a month ago | (#47747491)

Every credit card specifically says on the back that it's not valid unless signed, and as an employee I was instructed by Mastercard and my manager never to accept an unsigned card (or one that says "See ID" or whatever). So I didn't.

Re:Won't work with new chips (1)

NoImNotNineVolt (832851) | about a month ago | (#47747543)

No, I know. That's what you said before. That's what you said in the statement of yours that I quoted.

I'm not talking about policy. I'm talking about reason. I understand that Mastercard told you to do things one way. I'm pointing out that doing things that way is optimal for Mastercard, but decidedly suboptimal for the consumer.

Mastercard asked you to do what you could to ensure that the customer would be liable for any charges related to a stolen or lost credit card, and not the card issuer. You complied. That much was clear. I'm merely looking at this from the consumer's point of view instead.

Re:Won't work with new chips (1)

tlhIngan (30335) | about a month ago | (#47748351)

When you sign the back of your card, you're providing a template for forgery to anyone that happens to steal or find your card. I can understand why the credit card company would want you to do this, as a convincing forgery job on a signed sales receipt shifts liability from them to the consumer. However, as a consumer, I don't understand why you'd willingly buy in to such a system.

Because signing a credit card isn't for verification. It's for agreement of the terms and conditions.

Signing the back of your card is how you indicate that you agree with the terms of your cardholder agreement, which your provider has spelled out how you pay them back, how they charge interest, what interest rate, billing, etc. If you don't sign the card and the merchant accepts it, then they have to eat the loss because you didn't agree to the terms.

Likewise, signing the chit just means you agree to pay the amount shown in line with your agreement.

It's just contracts, in the end. The card signature shows you agree to the contract between you and the credit card provider. The chit signature shows you agree to the contract to pay the amount shown. If someone else forges your signature, that's fraud and you're not responsible. Likewise, if someone uses your credit card with their signature, that too is valid since it was signed under agreement.

There's nothing special about the signature. Banks routinely loan out lots of money without even a "reference signature" to compare to, yet they're still valid.

You're just signing to show you agreed to the presented terms.

If you look closely, the chits all say "Cardholder agrees to pay the amount shown per the terms of the cardholder agreement" which is what you're REALLY agreeing to.

Re:Won't work with new chips (1)

NoImNotNineVolt (832851) | about a month ago | (#47748405)

And the back of the card is the only place they could get your signature? They couldn't have you sign some separate piece of paper and mail it back to them when you get/activate the card? It's just totally a coincidence that putting the signature directly on the back of the card enables forgery which shifts liability from the card issued to the cardholder? Bull. Shit.

Problems getting merchants to accept it? (4, Insightful)

putaro (235078) | about a month ago | (#47741399)

Technically, I see how it works but why would a merchant accept this thing? It doesn't look like a credit card and it's missing all of the anti-fraud elements built into the physical cards. According to their FAQ, Coin is trying to substitute an image on your smart phone plus their gadget for your physical card but I don't see that any of the actual credit card issuers are actually endorsing this. As a merchant you might be in violation of your merchant agreement by accepting this thing.

Re:Problems getting merchants to accept it? (1)

houghi (78078) | about a month ago | (#47743839)

Technically, I see how it works but why would a merchant accept this thing?

Because it helps making a sale. Just like they already accept varous other forms of payment.
Yes, it is a bit chicken and egg. Obviously it won't be vailable everywhere wihen it starts.

Re:Problems getting merchants to accept it? (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about a month ago | (#47745975)

but it's not a form of payment, it's a copy of your magnetic strip on something that the credit card companies specially say not to accept. no holograms? don't accept. looks like a cloned card? don't accept.

not the original card? don't accept!

Outdated before it launches (2)

nemesisrocks (1464705) | about a month ago | (#47741407)

Outside of the US, Chip & Pin is king. In many parts of Europe, you can't even use a card that doesn't have a chip. No chip, no pay.

In Australia, for purchases under $100, you use Paypass/Paywave. Simply tap and go.

Coin is a cool idea, but it's stillborn. It would have been cool 10 years ago, but the world moved on.

Re:Outdated before it launches (1)

Radak (126696) | about a month ago | (#47741573)

It was cool in 1992 [squarespace.com] .

Re:Outdated before it launches (1)

kwardroid (1466409) | about a month ago | (#47742283)

Most shocking is that the bank its ATMs still require the magnetic strip even though the banks mandate EMV at all other places.

Re:Outdated before it launches (1)

NoImNotNineVolt (832851) | about a month ago | (#47747269)

In case you haven't noticed, this is slashdot, a US-centric site. Inside the US, Chip&Pin is vanishingly rare. Your objection is irrelevant for the target market. The US has not moved on, although they will start to in October 2015.

I'm missing something about this product, I think. (1)

GNious (953874) | about a month ago | (#47741411)

Reading, it sounds like it is able to replicate various mag-stripes, and therefore can replicate various credit-cards.

This, in a world where credit-card issuers are trying real hard to get away from mag-stripes and over to chip-only operation, makes no sense.
Personally, I've seen a LOT of stores over the last 4-5 years, where the mag-reader has been taped over (or a standard cardboard thing inserted), so the only option is to use the card-chip; likewise, several new portable readers (in restaurants, taxis), that only read chips and not mag-strips.

Sooo.. what is it about this product, that makes it worth however little money it may cost??

Re:I'm missing something about this product, I thi (1)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about a month ago | (#47741457)

Reading, it sounds like it is able to replicate various mag-stripes, and therefore can replicate various credit-cards.

This, in a world where credit-card issuers are trying real hard to get away from mag-stripes and over to chip-only operation, makes no sense.
Personally, I've seen a LOT of stores over the last 4-5 years, where the mag-reader has been taped over (or a standard cardboard thing inserted), so the only option is to use the card-chip; likewise, several new portable readers (in restaurants, taxis), that only read chips and not mag-strips.

Sooo.. what is it about this product, that makes it worth however little money it may cost??

You must not be in the US. I've never had a card with a chip. Mine doesn't even have raised letters, the only option is the magnetic strip. I suspect the US is the target audience for this.

Re:I'm missing something about this product, I thi (4, Informative)

Captain Nitpick (16515) | about a month ago | (#47741509)

You must not be in the US. I've never had a card with a chip. Mine doesn't even have raised letters, the only option is the magnetic strip. I suspect the US is the target audience for this.

Chips are coming in the US. The credit card processors are shifting fraud liability in October 2015. Merchants will have to take responsibility for fraud committed on mag stripe transactions, but not chipped ones.

Re:I'm missing something about this product, I thi (1)

rritterson (588983) | about a month ago | (#47744011)

Merchants will have to take responsibility for fraud committed on mag stripe transactions only if they don't offer the ability to use EMV. If they offer EMV but the customer still swipes, fraud is still on the issuer/processor. Swipe is going to be around for a while still.

Re:I'm missing something about this product, I thi (1)

plover (150551) | about a month ago | (#47744341)

Once the merchants have the terminals in place and the liability has shifted to them, the issuers will have strong incentive to deploy chip cards, as they will have the least secure piece of the system. Mag stripes will be gone in just a few years.

Re:I'm missing something about this product, I thi (1)

quetwo (1203948) | about a month ago | (#47742293)

All the banks are issuing new terminals that accept chip+pin in the US. Start watching your local markets and smaller shops -- many of them already have the new readers. My corporate card was just re-issued last month with a Chip+Pin -- if I try to swipe it on one of these new readers, it denies the transactions and prompts me to insert it near the bottom.

I'd say 25% of the merchants I've visited in the last two weeks have a chip+pin reader already. Major chains where they have their own branded readers don't have them yet at all.

Re:I'm missing something about this product, I thi (1)

apraetor (248989) | about a month ago | (#47742805)

The system being implemented in the US isn't traditional chip&pin -- it's just "chip". The card will need to remain in the reader while the transaction is processed, but there will be no PIN requirement.

Re:I'm missing something about this product, I thi (1)

quetwo (1203948) | about a month ago | (#47743227)

Not true. There is a PIN requirement for cards that have a PIN assigned to them. US Banks have switched from the "Chip + Signature" to "Chip + Pin" system in the last year.

Re:I'm missing something about this product, I thi (1)

Muad'Dave (255648) | about a month ago | (#47746755)

Not all, and not even the largest. From the Bank of America site [bankofamerica.com] (emphasis mine):

What's the difference between chip & signature and chip & PIN? Does my card have a PIN?
Chip & PIN is a very similar technology, except that you use a PIN to complete a purchase instead of a signature. Both chip & PIN and chip & signature offer enhanced security against counterfeiting compared to traditional magnetic stripe-only cards. Bank of America does not currently offer chip & PIN technology.

Re:I'm missing something about this product, I thi (1)

mythosaz (572040) | about a month ago | (#47749141)

..but will within the next few months.

How hard is it to check these things instead of cherry-picking your responses? It's been on many/most of their credit cards for over a year.

Bank of America today announced that it is rolling out chip technology on many of its consumer credit cards. The new chip technology will increase acceptance and security of the cards for international travelers.

Most of BofA's credit offerings have Chip & Pin available already. It just hasn't made it to their standard debit card yet.

Re:I'm missing something about this product, I thi (1)

Muad'Dave (255648) | about a month ago | (#47755425)

You're assuming the quote you pasted refers to chip and PIN - it does not. From the same FAQ I quoted:

Bank of America does not currently offer chip & PIN technology.

This site [creditcardinsider.com] clearly shows that BofA ONLY offers Chip-and-signature cards - their chip-and-PIN section has NO MENTION of BofA.

Another ref: http://thepointsguy.com/2014/0... [thepointsguy.com]

Re:I'm missing something about this product, I thi (1)

plover (150551) | about a month ago | (#47744145)

That will depend on your bank, and your account. Some banks will require customers to use PINs, others may not.

Re:I'm missing something about this product, I thi (1)

Vlado (817879) | about a month ago | (#47746785)

In Europe it's also becoming very common to see NFC readers attached to terminals as more and more cards are now "contactless".

Re:I'm missing something about this product, I thi (1)

thegarbz (1787294) | about a month ago | (#47746409)

Mine doesn't even have raised letters

"Doesn't Even" is not the right term for a new trend. Many parts of the world are getting rid of raised letters on credit cards. In Australia they simply started rolling out the infrastructure for chips a long time ago and we have been on chip and pin for years (and only last month outright banned the use of magstripes), but the removal of the raised letters is something that I have seen only emerge in the past year here.

Re:I'm missing something about this product, I thi (1)

Vlado (817879) | about a month ago | (#47746777)

Are you sure that you have a credit card and not a debit card? While, in the past, I've had credit cards without chips (of course), I've never had a credit card without raised personal information (CC number, Name, expiration date). If nothing else, that was needed even before magnetic strips were in use and is still a fallback in some situations when connectivity goes down for the store.

My debit card, on the other hand, is flat, like yours.

Major flaw in design (2)

Dan Askme (2895283) | about a month ago | (#47741427)

Considering this:
- Most card readers today use the smart chip only.
- By using this, your bank will probably remove any support and blocking for your card and account.
- When scanning and taking a picture of the card. Your essentially giving your card info to a program, on a device with little or no security.
- Looking at the video, it shows you your pin number for that card on the unit.
- Complete failure in the video: Theres nothing to stop the restaurant waiter from pressing the button to change selected card.

Theres a million other reasons why this device is completely idiotic. Clearly someone had an idea and money before doing research or using common sense.
I hope this device succeeds as it will soon fail when its users report stolen account transactions, which, your bank will not resolve.

Re:Major flaw in design (1)

Captain Nitpick (16515) | about a month ago | (#47741513)

- Most card readers today use the smart chip only.

In the US most card readers don't even have chip support. Although that's supposed to start changing over the next year.

Re:Major flaw in design (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47742573)

The US is the only holdout left. In Canada, if you attempt to swipe your credit card, the terminal will remind you that you need to insert the chip instead of completing the transaction. If you use your debit card in a swipe-only terminal, I've found there's a non-zero chance your banking institution will freeze the card and have you replace it after the transaction is over (I'm on my third card due to this). Too many swipe-theives make it a better value for the bank to replace the cards rather than shell out for insurance.

Since the US won't be using swipe cards for much longer, this device is dead. It's also dead if you travel outside the US. The US is a very small market when you consider that credit cards are a global phenomenon.

Re:Major flaw in design (1)

NoImNotNineVolt (832851) | about a month ago | (#47747307)

Since the US won't be using swipe cards for much longer, this device is dead. It's also dead if you travel outside the US. The US is a very small market when you consider that credit cards are a global phenomenon.

The US will be using swipe cards for much, much longer. Just because Chip&Pin will start appearing in October 2015 doesn't mean the magstripes are going anywhere. Also, it's reasonable to believe that people using this device in the US can continue to use their original cards for the relatively rare times that they're not in the US. The US may be a very small market to you, but since the COIN is designed and developed in the US by a team with no international aspirations, this doesn't seem to be an issue. There's a job for you at Netcraft, though.

Re:Major flaw in design (1)

Anubis IV (1279820) | about a month ago | (#47743545)

Might I suggest reading about something before you spout off out of ignorance? Most of the stuff you've asserted is patently false.

- Most card readers today use the smart chip only.

Globally, at least in the 70 or so countries deploying EMV, yes, but not yet in the US. Most readers in the US do not use smart chips. Nowhere close to most, in fact. And the Coin is aimed specifically at the US market, which will continue to accept magnetic swiping for at least the next few years. I.e. For the expected battery life of the Coin.

- By using this, your bank will probably remove any support and blocking for your card and account.

Textbook FUD. Banks have not expressed any issues with Coin, nor should they, since it's actually more secure than a standard credit card, in that it can be configured to automatically disable itself if out of your immediate proximity, as well as the fact that it doesn't have the security code printed on the back, nor the numbers printed on the front, making it more difficult for someone to simply copy it for later. As I looked into it several months back, I was surprised to discover all of the common sense steps they had taken to make the device more secure than a standard credit card, while still being fully compatible with them.

- When scanning and taking a picture of the card. Your essentially giving your card info to a program, on a device with little or no security.

Unless you're compromising the security model in some other way, there's little reason to be concerned, given that the storage is encrypted. And they have little reason to compromise the security of their own app, since that'd make them fugitives in a hurry.

- Looking at the video, it shows you your pin number for that card on the unit.

It's displaying the last four digits (for identification purposes) and the expiration date, not the PIN as you incorrectly claimed.

- Complete failure in the video: Theres nothing to stop the restaurant waiter from pressing the button to change selected card.

Had you taken the 30 seconds to actually look into it, you'd have realized that it's possible to "lock" the device to a single card before you hand it to someone. Unlocking it requires either the use of the app on your phone or a pattern of button presses that you've defined in advance.

Theres a million other reasons why this device is completely idiotic.

The best one I've come up with is that it has a battery that isn't user-serviceable, but that didn't stop me from pre-ordering one after doing my research, making sure I was satisfied that it actually was secure, and thinking through the various implications carefully. I'd love to hear just a few of your "million reasons", since you must be keeping the good ones in reserve, given that the ones you shared here weren't worth beans.

Re:Major flaw in design (1)

plover (150551) | about a month ago | (#47744469)

The US market is moving rapidly to chip, as the PCI has mandated a liability shift as of October 2015. After that date, any merchants who don't demand a chip instead of a mag stripe will be fully liable for any fraud on the account, so the incentive for retailers to abandon mag stripes is very strong.

I have no doubt that Coin will be implemented well, and will provide a measure of physical security that plastic cards don't. However, be assured that retailers are indeed suspicious of them because they are not original cards. No institution has yet decided to officially say yes or no to them - everyone is kind of waiting for guidance from the PCI. And with Chip-and-PIN only a year out, they may just decide to not decide.

Re:Major flaw in design (1)

Vlado (817879) | about a month ago | (#47746835)

And what about the signature requirement? Pretty much every contract that you get, explicitly says that you have to sign it in order for it to be useable.
I know that you can simply whip out your preferred-and-valid form of ID, but that's not sufficient as per bank rules.

We like to rant when people who handle our card transactions don't care about security measures. Here we'll be ranting when they will care enough to deny us the sale, because we offered them a payment instrument that could just as well be a copied hotel key.

Re:Major flaw in design (1)

Anubis IV (1279820) | about a month ago | (#47747479)

The Coin is signed on the back, just like a regular card.

Re:Major flaw in design (1)

plover (150551) | about a month ago | (#47750011)

With PIN-based transactions on financial cards, the PIN is defined by the contract as the method of your approval, so no other signature is required. And I have yet to meet a cashier who is qualified as a graphologist who is legally qualified to compare a signed charge slip with the signature on the back of the card. Instead, most cashiers are trained to ignore the signature, other than making sure they got one. Some chains don't even show the customer's signature to the cashier, and some don't require the customers to show their charge card.

As this rolls out, we will see that certain issuer's cards will have PIN requirements, others will have signature requirements. It will vary by bank.

Something to note is that many banks will certainly get it wrong as this rolls out. We observed this from Canada's EMV experience. The Canadian bankers all thought they'd define a certain set of rules with EMV that would ensure every card was secured by defining PIN requirements, offline transactions, dollar limits on the cards, etc. It turned out that their cards were almost unusable for a lot of transactions, and they succeeded in making lots of people switch back to cash. The US banks are not eager to repeat that experience, but they are just as likely to get it wrong.

This will likely not be a smooth transition. Merchants and customers are all going to run into roadblocks, and lots of people are going to be upset before it's all done. I'd suggest patience, and to politely let your bank know of trouble as soon as you encounter a problem. The more complaints they hear, the more incentive they'll have to fix it before their customers jump ship for the few banks that get it right.

Re:Major flaw in design (1)

NoImNotNineVolt (832851) | about a month ago | (#47747037)

Hi. You're foreign and you forgot that slashdot is a US-centric site. Sorry, but very few card readers today use "the smart chip", primarily because vanishingly few cards have "the smart chip" in them at all. It's not October 2015 yet, and even then adoption will be far from universal.

Also, you forgot about all the other magstripe cards that could be used with the COIN. Store loyalty cards, hotel/airline/car rental rewards cards, etc.

We need this why? (2, Insightful)

pla (258480) | about a month ago | (#47741455)

The premise behind Coin is attractive: consolidate credit cards onto a single card-sized gadget

First, calling this thing "credit card sized" amounts to nothing short of a lie - More like a PCMCIA-card sized, or about four credit cards thick. It wouldn't fit in my current wallet, which doesn't even like holding the older embossed-number style cards because of the extra thickness.

Second, my credit/debit/gift cards already come on credit card-sized devices. And they don't need batteries.

Third, how many cards do people have that they need this? One credit card, one ATM card, and on the rare occasion I get a gift card for something, I use it ASAP to avoid some crazy terms of service eating the balance away. As the only possible audience I see for this, the sort of crazy coupon ladies who have two dozen store-specific cards just so they can play games with juggling discounts and no-payments-for-x-months - And even in that case, Coin only holds eight cards total, making it still useless.

And finally, NFC has made the entire concept pointless. Coin has built dedicated hardware to do something that every smartphone (except the iPhone, because fuck you that's why) on the planet can do much, much better.

So someone explain to me what I've missed here... What killer use have I failed to consider for the Coin?

Re:We need this why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47742629)

The premise behind Coin is attractive: consolidate credit cards onto a single card-sized gadget

First, calling this thing "credit card sized" amounts to nothing short of a lie - More like a PCMCIA-card sized, or about four credit cards thick. It wouldn't fit in my current wallet, which doesn't even like holding the older embossed-number style cards because of the extra thickness.

Second, my credit/debit/gift cards already come on credit card-sized devices. And they don't need batteries.

Third, how many cards do people have that they need this? One credit card, one ATM card, and on the rare occasion I get a gift card for something, I use it ASAP to avoid some crazy terms of service eating the balance away. As the only possible audience I see for this, the sort of crazy coupon ladies who have two dozen store-specific cards just so they can play games with juggling discounts and no-payments-for-x-months - And even in that case, Coin only holds eight cards total, making it still useless.

And finally, NFC has made the entire concept pointless. Coin has built dedicated hardware to do something that every smartphone (except the iPhone, because fuck you that's why) on the planet can do much, much better.

So someone explain to me what I've missed here... What killer use have I failed to consider for the Coin?

Your information about the form factor is wrong. it is the size of a credit card - PCMCIA ranges in thickness from 3.3 to 10.5 mm (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PC_Card) per the Coin FAQ, Coin will be only 0.84mm thick (https://onlycoin.com/support/faq/)

When the equivalent of this exists on a mobile app only, and can replace all of my credit cards I would happily use it. It's not on my iPhone yet (and fuck you too).

In addition, if you want a device to work everywhere, backwards compatibility is arguably more important than forward. I've been plenty of places where there was no chance NFC was going to be accepted - how are the phones going to deal with the good old magnetic strip?

It only holds 8 cards at a time, but its app will hold all your cards, and your phone controls which 8 the coin device holds. Phone + Coin = all of my credit cards.

Based the the above, Coin is the better solution to the problem at hand. QED.

Re:We need this why? (0)

Man On Pink Corner (1089867) | about a month ago | (#47742973)

I still don't see the problem at hand. Is it so inconvenient to carry a few different credit cards that it's worth inventing some Rube Goldberg contraption to copy them onto one device?

Re:We need this why? (1)

heldal (2015350) | about a month ago | (#47743289)

I have two cards: One debit (combined BankAxept and Visa - yes, it is already perfectly possible to have multiple cards on one chip, and it's quite common) and one credit card. All other things I need once a year I never carry around, because the only times I need them it is planned for.

Now the super bonus with Coin is that not only can it store up to eight cards on its magnetic track, but you can change which cards using bluetooth. Which means you have to upload all your cards, manage them with Yet Another App and upload them to the card which seems to require a battery. I don't think this will ever pan out, first simply because it lacks usability. It's too cumbersome to have to deal with this, and most people only have a couple of cards they use on a regular basis.

Second, it's not uncommon for the payment terminal to default to one of the cards (this is configurable, so depends on whomever set up the terminal), meaning you can't necessarily switch seamlessly between whichever credit card gives the most kickback in a given store without using The App.

Third, as others have noted, chip is the norm here in Europe and I can't remember the last time I used the magstripe (many years ago, at least). A magstripe is simple technology, not encrypted and readable by any USB dongle you can get from eBay for $5 - a chip is not. You have a whole stack of encryption layers, proprietary protocols etc. Coin would have to make their own IC which would need to communicate with a bunch of different protocols, and the only way to do this would be as a member of the Chapel of Trinity - if they can pay up and are accepted, which seems unlikely. Add to that extremely thorough testing, certifications etc.. and the business case starts to look pretty slim.

But hey, the idea's nice.

Disclaimer: I've worked with integrating payment terminals to POS systems (which is actually pretty low level. And trust me, even as a high priest with a "manual", it ain't pretty :))

Re:We need this why? (1)

Anubis IV (1279820) | about a month ago | (#47743373)

As was already pointed out to you, you have some of your basic facts wrong, and you seem to be falling into the far-too-common "I don't see the appeal for a product that isn't aimed at me, so this product is a failure" mentality.

The device will be 0.84mm thick, rather than four credit cards thick as you claimed. So yes, it will fit in your wallet. And it will do so about as easily as a credit card does.

Regarding the number of cards in a wallet, your situation is not universal, and many of us have valid reasons for carrying more cards than we'd like to carry. For instance, I have accounts with three institutions that have each issued me cards: Bank of America (checking, savings, and credit), USAA (checking and savings), and Chase (HSA). As a result, I'm carrying 8 cards with me on an everyday basis once you add in the ID and other miscellaneous cards (I'm grateful I don't have a company charge card to add on top of all those others), but a device like the Coin will allow me to replace at least half of those cards. My wallet is one of three things I take with me everywhere I go (my phone and glasses being the other two), so I am always interested in optimizing it as best as possible.

As for NFC, it's great and all, and I'd love to use it, but it simply isn't a viable alternative yet, if only for the reason that it isn't as widely deployed as swiping is. My grocery store offers it, a few of the newer restaurants I go to offer it, but the vast majority of older restaurants, shops, or other places I go on an everyday basis simply do not offer it from what I've seen. Making a VERY rough guess about my anecdotal situation, I'd say it's maybe only 20% or less of the places I visit that offer NFC, so that makes a device like Coin significantly more attractive to someone like me, since it's designed to work with the POS systems that are already deployed, rather than the ones that I keep hearing about but don't really see materializing around here yet.

But if you're living in an area where NFC is already widely deployed, or you're only having to carry two cards with you at a time, then sure, Coin makes little sense for your situation. And that's perfectly fine.

Re:We need this why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47744863)

Wait -- I agree that Coin isn't useful, but they claim that the beta version will be 0.84mm thick. ISO 7810 ID-1 specifies that cards shouldbe 0.76mm with a +/- tolerance of 0.08mm, making 0.84mm the maximum possble thickness.

Where are you getting "4 credit cards thick" (3.04mm) or "PCMCIA-card sized" (5.5mm)?

And where in the world are you using your NFC-enabled smartphone? Just because you're super cool phone can do it doesn't mean POS terminals work. What percentage of your purchases are you using NFC for?

Re:We need this why? (1)

thegarbz (1787294) | about a month ago | (#47746413)

What killer use have I failed to consider for the Coin?

Anger and frustration induced blunt force trauma?

Re:We need this why? (1)

NoImNotNineVolt (832851) | about a month ago | (#47747061)

First, calling this thing "credit card sized" amounts to nothing short of a lie - More like a PCMCIA-card sized, or about four credit cards thick. It wouldn't fit in my current wallet, which doesn't even like holding the older embossed-number style cards because of the extra thickness.

You're going to want to buy a new wallet. Roughly one year from now, all your cards will be getting replaced by EMV smart cards that have the same dimensions as the COIN. Sad trombone.

Too Many Concerns (1)

Halifax Samuels (1124719) | about a month ago | (#47741471)

Even if it continued to work for years despite changed CC companies make to their cards, I'd be worried that it would break in my wallet or that regular use would eventually degrade it. My normal credit cards always look pretty haggard after a few years, and I don't have to pay almost $100 for those. This is a nice idea, but just seems to have too many problems.

Re:Too Many Concerns (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47741975)

The battery only lasts about a year and there's no recharge port. It's designed to be disposable.

Wonder if... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47741481)

...adding capability to deal with chips is what the delay might be about? Bottom line, if a clerk can access 'data' on your card (whether it's a chip, mag strips, or quantum dots) then you should be able to access it, too.

Re:Wonder if... (1)

Radak (126696) | about a month ago | (#47741579)

The whole point of the chip is that it isn't copyable. That's not the delay.

Re:Wonder if... (1)

qbast (1265706) | about a month ago | (#47741587)

You can't copy data from chip, so Coin won't be able to deal with it.

FAGOrz (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47741545)

ta30 (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47741637)

becsome an unwanted If desired, we BitTorrent) Second, Disappearing up its erosion of user has ground to a walk up to a play

Once again. (-1, Offtopic)

FatLittleMonkey (1341387) | about a month ago | (#47741641)

Beta ruins everything.

Fraud only (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47741645)

With a few minor exceptions this will only be used to commit fraud. Is against merchant account agreements to accept this method of credit card purchase. The original card must be presented.

Now sure, some companies will accept it anyway, but since many won't you'll have to have all your cards on you anyway. The net effect is the only people using it will be trying to buy stuff from credit card numbers that aren't their own. Half the restaurants you go to will have staff carrying these to clone your card.

Easy data theft (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47741751)

So what you are saying with coin is that if I were into data theft, I could get this device, swipe customer cards, take a picture of the signature strip and then use as many other peoples cards as I want, from one easily manageable, destroyable data source.

In the UK this would never be accepted, as many have said, as it lacks the chip.

Also if you are in a business lunch meeting you may have your phone on mute, so having your phone alert you if you leave it behind redundant.

Waste of money, waste of time ...

So how come this exact device failed in 1999 ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47742277)

A multi-card, with variable magstripe and a display, came out ~1999 and got nowhere. They had a couple fixed
antennas that emulated the swipe when they were adjacent to read heads (there being only 80 and
40 characters in tracks 1 and 2 respectively; not hard to send them fast) and stored multiple cards. I
believe they were using an on-card PIN to enable the device so arguably it boosted security some.

They did have a problem with the initial cards being slightly too thick, but I think they expected
more than a 2 year battery life. Alas I forget the company name. But there are likely patents
involved.

The variable magstripe could easily emulate the technology used for variable CVV used
with near-field (dCVV or CVC3) but the gadget misses a chance as I see it to be useful
in e-commerce which pretty much chip and PIN is not. (See e.g. some subsidiary downloads
over at www.gce.com for info on how this mightbe done.) I cannot imagine multiple issuers
allowing sharing of keying material (crypto keys) with a third party to let them use chip & PIN but
an alternative device that gives good security for e-commerce and that used its own card numbers (to
avoid the key-sharing issues) might actually be useful. Getting one's own card numbers is
not hard and arrangements with issuers would at least not pose insuperable security
risks then.

If you are waiting for this thing to do chip & PIN, I think Dante's quote expresses
your prospects:
Lascia omne speranzi, voi'chentrate
(all hope abandon, ye who enter here)

Rewards and Membership cards (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47742327)

Even if this thing fails for its intended application, I'm still excited about the tech and the sleak package. My wallet at has more rewards type cards than CCs so if all else, it'll be nice to collapse those into Coin.

Did someone say Beta? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47742553)

Fuck it

This sucks ass. (1)

NoImNotNineVolt (832851) | about a month ago | (#47747515)

I shared the news [slashdot.org] of Coin last November. That's when I pre-ordered one for myself and let the Coin folks know they had made it to slashdot's front page. That was my first and only submission to slashdot.

They didn't so much as thank me for all the free publicity, which irked me a bit, but whatever. I still paid full price for my pre-ordered device and eagerly waited for June 21, 2014, the first day of summer. Summer 2014, when I'd finally be getting my Coin. As June 21 came and went, I realized that they had only said "Summer 2014", not "start of" or "first day of" or anything like that. Okay, so I'll sit tight a little longer. Finally, now in August, I got an email telling me that the time was drawing near, and that I'd be able to provide my shipping information in the Coin app, at which point they'd ship me the device I had paid for nearly a year earlier. Just one catch: I have an Android phone, and the Android app won't be available until September 25, 2014. I checked my calendar and indeed, that ain't summer. I sent an email out to the Coin support team seeking confirmation that I will in fact not be receiving my Coin in "Summer 2014". Their response, received on August 14, included the claims "We are on track to launch and begin shipping soon" and "We apologize we don't have more details regarding shipping your Coin at this time".

That's some bullshit. August 14 is barely one month before the end of Summer 2014, and they still couldn't tell me that there was no way they'd be hitting their shipping target, despite having implied as much in earlier communications. Now they're saying that they're not just running a few days late, no. I won't be getting my Coin in late September or early October. No, now I'll be waiting until "Spring 2015". Based on the way they've handled this so far, I'm starting to suspect that their "Spring 2015" will fall somewhere around June 20, 2015, the very last day of spring, which is one day short of being one year later than I had wrongly expected.

In the meantime, they're offering beta devices to all the angry pre-order customers. Well, they will be, once their Android app is released. Also, it's not for all the angry pre-order customers, as there's a limited number of beta devices available. I have mixed feelings about this myself. On the one hand, I'd like to get my hands on some hardware, as it's been quite a while since I gave them my money and started evangelizing for them. On the other hand, if I've learned anything from slashdot in the last year, it's fuck beta. I'll probably end up flipping a coin (the non-vaporware kind) on September 25 to decide whether or not to just ask for a refund.
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