In Mobile Wallets Should Fix What’s Broken – And It Ain’t Payments, I’d highlighted why paying by plastic card is natural and how mobile wallets are really not offering any compelling reason for people to use them for making payments. Furtheremore, I’d pointed out in Doubling Mobile Wallet Adoption By Halving Its Scope that merchants really don’t find a strong enough business case for replacing their swipe- or dip-based POS machines with ones that can scan card details off of a smartphone screen, which mobile wallets would require them to do.
That said, carrying all your store loyalty cards and more than a couple of payment cards can be painful.
Cue to the new startup Coin. The Kickstarter-funded project allows you to scan multiple credit, debit, loyalty and gift cards into a single plastic card. Since the card uses magstripe, it works on all existing card readers.
Coin certainly helps you solve the pain of a bulky wallet. And by not demanding new infrastructure at stores, you can be sure that it will work everywhere.
But the question is whether Coin will find enough people willing to pay US$ 100 – or US$ 50 during pre-launch – to solve this problem.
I doubt it.
And I’m not alone. In his Snarketing 2.0 post Coin And The TechCrunch Effect, Ron Shevlin says, “the price point is the other nail in the coffin. Please don’t try to convince me that this convenience is worth $100”.
If Coin’s basic product concept catches on, some VC or the other might be willing to fund giving it away for free with the hope of monetizing the transaction data gathered by Coin card.
On that count, the initial results were encouraging. Coin sold out its US$ 50K pre-launch goal in 47 minutes.
However, in the next two months, the company has booked only a similar amount in pre-orders.
@s_ketharaman we have adapted our plans over time and have taken over 1,000 pre-orders. Our apologies for any confusion.
— Coin (@coin) January 24, 2014
This signals a rapidly flagging interest, as predicted by Shevlin, “I’d bet that many of these people stop using the product shortly after its release next summer”.
Only time will tell what’s the real worth of the pain solved by Coin. Meanwhile, please take the following quick poll to share your thoughts.