Finally, One Card to Replace Them All?

I was very excited about 15 months ago when Coin launched for pre-order.

It looked so cool, one card that you load your other credit cards onto via an app. You could carry the one and swipe it, you flip between cards that it represents with a button. This would be convenient for cleaning up my wallet, and for managing gift cards I thought.

There’s no EMV chip, it holds up to 8 cards, and the two-year battery isn’t rechargeable.

Supposedly Coin was going to be shipping last summer but it’s going to be this summer before I get mine. I should probably cancel the order, though I’m curious to try it out, even though it appears to have been surpassed by other offerings that should be in the market at the same time.

I should add here that I’m not part of the Apple ecosystem, so ApplePay is out for me. compared ‘all-in-one’ cards. They note that Wallaby will choose what card to use for you, based on best rewards at a given store. It’s a tool to automate maximizing your category bonuses.

Several readers have recommended Plastc to me.

Plastc has chip and PIN technology, Bluetooth, and can hold up to 20 cards. It’s even water resistant, and it explicitly works with gift cards. They suggest putting work access cards on it too. The battery is wirelessly rechargable and the card is expected to ship this summer.

I’m looking forward to trying this out in my wallet, and hope that Coin ships to me soon too so I can compare.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. “I should add here that I’m not part of the Apple ecosystem, so ApplePay is out for me.”

    you are the minority of frequent flyers in the US.
    ApplePay makes these virtually useless for most. plus it’s much more secure and comes with the phone.

  2. I’ll also add that I’m part of the “beta” program for the Coin card and it’s virtually useless. It doesn’t actually work in most places I try it including at almost every single gas pump I’ve tried. On top of that, add the fact that it will only last two years and it’s kind of a DOA product. I’ll be getting the real version at some point, but I don’t hold much hope for it.

  3. You failed to mention the pesky little issues of a) limits on ApplePay spend, b) the vast majority of merchants do not accept ApplePay and c) there are tons of reports about it not working too well.

    If anything, if Plastc or Coin offer NFC, they make ApplePay useless.

  4. Gary,

    I need to go to Lisbon in the Spring (late May) or summer (mid-June). What’s the best way to get there using miles? I have all the ultimate rewards options, plus Skymiles and AA. Flying out of EWR/JFK.

    Alternatively, should I book an award flight to Madrid and then book a separate itinerary from Madrid to Lisbon?


  5. I cancelled Coin a number of months ago because of the lack of NFC, and the massive delay. Plastc seems to be light years ahead of the Coin. The ideas behind them are fantastic-hopefully the user experience will be the same.

  6. I dont expect this product to work ever (COIN). I thought it was completely dead by the way. Over time Apple pay will work however there has to be compatibility somehow out there. An app based solution like Wallaby might work also. A dorky thing like coin…no way. Lets see what happens in another year from now. Time will tell.

  7. I’m part of the coin beta and I can tell you, it sucks. When it worked it worked at about half the terminals, after just a month of normal usage my coin no longer swipes anywhere, even places it worked before. There is no guarantee for Beta so i can’t even get a replacement. It’s not even heavy enough to be a good paperweight.

  8. That non-rechargable battery scares me. I just know it would die at the most inopportune moment and I wouldn’t have any other cards with me.

  9. Seems distasteful to push a product you’ve never used and add a referral link (disclaimer aside) to something that’s been delayed numerous times.

    At some point you have to chalk this up as a loss and stop peddling this to yor readers.

    This is definitely a DoA product.

  10. @DrStfu – distasteful? I reported that I just ordered one, and that using such a link provides a $20 discount that’s not available otherwise, and I then disclose it as a referral link so that folks know that they can either (1) pay the extra $20 if they’re interested in the product instead of using such a link, (2) find someone else’s referral link if they prefer. For what it’s worth, I used’s referral link to buy it.

  11. @truthiness the best way is to book what’s available, probably Star Alliance maybe through Germany but possible you’d get something through a Skyteam gateway in Europe or via Madrid on Iberia..

  12. I’m so confused as to why I’d want to spend $135 to get my credit cards (which collectively weigh less than an ounce) out of my wallet (which I will need regardless) and replace them with a device that I need to remember to recharge and doesn’t always work.

    Startups are getting dumber and dumber every day.

  13. Thanks for the link, Gary! I’m really excited to see how these “smart” cards end up working out. I love the idea of keeping most of my cards with me at all times and not bulking up my wallet.

  14. Gary,

    I stopped by the Plastc booth at CES (and scored a free Plastc card when they ship). I asked about chip and pin, and although the card has the hardware, they won’t be supporting it at release time. They were vague about when they’ll support it, understandably so because whilst emulating a mag stripe is one thing, emulating a chip is practically impossible without issuer buy-in.

    Although I’ll be using Plastc domestically when I get it, I rate the chances of them getting any support to effectively ‘clone’ chips at close to zero, so chip and pin will only happen if they’re acquired by an issuer or payment processor, and even then only for that issuer.

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