Two Years Later OnlyCoin’s Coin App and Device is a Disappointment

Day 1 Experience with OnlyCoin’s Coin app and Coin device for simplifying Credit Card carrying.

I first heard about Coin back in the Fall of 2013 and pre-ordered my device December 11, 2013. Over the next two years I would receive 14 emails from Team Coin telling me about how the project was going, which was to say it was delayed, had problems, but not to worry my Coin device would be shipping “soon” and then some apologies…

Yesterday on Sept 9, 2015 I finally received my Coin device.

I was very excited as the thought of having to carry only a single card with me was awesome. I quickly opened my package and lifted out my card which had some rather noticeable scratches on it. I chalked that up to perhaps being tested in a reader/swipe device before being shipped. In either case I’m sure things would work just fine…

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I then began the process of loading my cards onto the device and here is where I got to a rather frustrating point.

The issue I ran into was that the Coin app is locked and unlocked with swipe morse code rather than a traditional password. This would be fine except the app does a really crappy job at understanding my swipes and it always takes me a couple attempts to unlock. Sounds like no biggy, but at 3 fails it auto-erases your data – which is great, but also sucks since the app has trouble reading the swipes…

Anyway, once I got into the app I started inputting my cards. Most swiped into the reader without issue, a couple I had to swipe more than once, but none of my cards did I have to enter manually. So far so good, but then I had to authorize them, and this is where I ran into a real challenge. I would select a card, select authorize, it would tell me it would make a transaction between $1-2 but not charge me – got it, sounds fine. I clicked “ok” and went to my Credit Card’s account, logged in and didn’t see anything. Hmm. I then thought maybe it would take some time, so I selected the “Later” option on the amount confirmation from the Coin app.

After getting all my cards inputted into the app, I then decided to check my accounts again to verify them. I logged in and saw the transaction – awesome. I then went to the app, selected authorize and…oh no, it’s going to do a new transaction, that’s not what I want…hmm, so I back out, and look for another option…there isn’t…so I go back to the authorize button, another transaction. Long story short, I end up with five pending transactions for various amounts on my credit card, yet the app doesn’t accept any of those amounts as the valid one.

So I contacted Coin Support.

While I wait to hear back from them, if anyone has any suggestions or comments on how best to authorize the app I’m all ears.

Update 1 – 9/14/15

I heard back from OnlyCoin’s Coin Support and was told that my card reader was defective. They sent me a new one. Shiny, large and black, along with several Coin stickers.

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While I was able to authorize my card(s), I not able to sync my cards to the device as it never turns on. I have again contacted support.

Update 1 – 9/15/15

After speaking with support via email again, it turns out the device needs a lot of pressure (to the point you may feel like you’re going to break it) to get it to “click” and turn on. Once on, I was able to sync my card.

I first headed to the 7-11 across the street to try it out, the card reader there returned an error every time I tried to swipe it. Both when I first swiped it quick as I would a normal credit card, and then slow when I tried to ensure it was contacting the strip well.

I then tried it at my Kaiser office for my co-pay, also at the pharmacy register within Kaiser and neither location could read the card.

I did finally find a McDonalds that could read the card, unfortunately that’s a place I try to avoid these days.

Conclusion

While I did waste $50 on this, I am trying to justify it in that I think the idea of tech like this is good and we should look at investing into this type of technology, but perhaps it’s something a real credit card company should work on. I’m sure Capital One wanted too they could made a device like this that would be able to be read in any reader available.

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