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Ever spent 5 minutes embarrassingly looking all over your bag to find a store points card in front of a long line at a cashier and then found out you left it home? Now you have a solution, a single smart card that puts all your cards in one so you never have to worry about missing a card.

Having worked for multiple financial clients, I’ve witnessed and been part of the battle for digital wallet. Yet this week, the creator of Coin, a seven-person startup in San Francisco stunned the world. Mobile payments remain a much sought-after nut to crack for technology companies both large and small. Any firm able to facilitate person-to-person or person-to-business transitions at mass scale stands to gain significant profit off those payments.

There are two things to note with the emergence of Coin:

One, the breakthrough is through a small startup, not a major financial institution. This is yet another great example of how tech is slowly (or rather rapidly) eating away what used to be a gated community of big banks. With the emergence of PayPal, Square, BitCoin and now Coin, the threat to the traditional financial industry is not only real, but tremendously urgent.

Two, the solution is a smart one. Coin is fabricated with a patent-pending magnetic strip that can change depending on what card one wants to use. The battery in Coin, said to last up to two years, powers a small display screen that shows which saved card will be charged, along with its expiration date. Cards are entered into Coin after being swiped on a Square-like dongle plugged into a smartphone. It is bridging wireless digital technologies such as bluetooth and NFC with the physical attributes of traditional cards. You can still swipe the Coin card as you would normally do with a traditional credit card, lowering learning curve and minimizing the impact to established user conventions and behaviours.

This is only one more step closer to a bigger overhaul of our financial world. Soon enough cards may disappear altogether and with it, comes iris or finger print payments, smart watch payments, etc. etc. The internet of things and big data will further facilitate micro-transactions that will change every corner of our world. The future of our financial engagement is super fascinating.


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