Previously, we wrote the blog post, “The Digital Payment War, Round 1”, where we looked at the differences between the old school PayPal and the new school Square Cash methods of digital payment. While we didn’t officially declare a winner, Google Wallet and Coin are a couple more contenders to our “Best Online Digital Payment Method Ever in History” award.
First, let’s take a look at Coin, a new technology that is turning heads in the digital payment realm. Coin is a brand new product that attempts to solve the convenience issue of having to carry multiple credit cards (gift cards, rewards cards, etc.) in your wallet. Coin is a physical card, practically the same size as the average credit card, that digitally stores information for up to eight of a user’s cards. The user scans their cards and account information via the accompanying card scanner and iOS/Android smartphone app, which stores an unlimited number of cards’ information. That information is then digitally transferred to the Coin card to be used just as a credit would; stored in a wallet and swiped by any credit card machine. When making purchases, users can use the onboard button to switch through which card they’d like to activate for the purchase.
Each Coin card requires a battery to allow for electronic switching between cards, and to power an onboard Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) that allows for the Coin to be connected to each user’s smartphone. The battery lasts an average of two years, and battery recharges are not possible. Therefore, users need to purchase new Coin cards every time their battery dies.
A few questions come to mind when talking about Coin. First, how secure is it? Since every card is equipped with BLE and connects to the user’s smartphone, it can sense the distance between it and its owner. If a user were to leave a location and forget their Coin card, they’ll receive an alert on their phone about it. If their Coin is ever lost or stolen, it can be easily deactivated with the accompanying smartphone app to prevent fraudulent purchases. Another question to ask is, how durable is the card? Coin says that the card is as durable as any other credit card. It is sturdy, and can be carried in a wallet and sat on. Coin is water resistant, but probably won’t last an accidental machine wash or a jump in the pool. Also, Coin should not be exposed to high powered magnetic fields or severely bent, so as not to destroy the electronics inside.
All in all, Coin seems like a great solution to wallet card-clutter. It promises to be a convenient solution, while maintaining good security. Coin currently costs $50, and will not be ready for shipment until Summer 2014, so we’ll all have to wait to see how effective the technology actually is. You can learn more from their website here.
Google seems to have the uncanny ability to develop systems that make everyday tasks easier, and they’ve certainly done it again with Google Wallet. Google Wallet taps into both digital and physical payment realms to create a whole new financial experience. It creates unique personal financial accounts that can be accessed with any web browser or the accompanying smartphone app using Google email accounts. This service lets users make purchases online and offline, send money to friends with a simple email, and track all purchases with the easy-to-use Google interface. Here’s how it works.
Every Google Wallet account is designed to be linked to a user’s checking or savings account in order to digitally exchange money. Users can stock their Google Wallet accounts with as much money as they’d like, to be spent anywhere you can possibly spend money. The accompanying Google Wallet card can be used anywhere MasterCard is accepted, and draws money directly from the Google Wallet balance. There is an option to directly link users’ debit and credit cards to the Google Wallet card to make transactions for a 2.9% per-purchase fee. The card even works with ATMs to withdraw cash. Up to $5,000 can be spent per 24-hour period with the card.
Digitally, users can make purchases and receive money online with Google Wallet. Many retailers, including Google itself, have started offering payment options at checkouts to pay directly with Google Wallet accounts.
The Google Wallet app makes all of these actions even easier by allowing users to add money, make purchases, transfer money, and more in the palm of their hand. What’s more, the app allows users to track their purchases in real time, and even store and manage loyalty card information. The app scans loyalty card barcodes and information and stores them in a convenient menu tab to be accessed and scanned in-store on demand. Some retailers have even started implementing in-store Google Wallet readers, allowing these eligible smartphone users to simply wave their phones in front of the readers to make their transactions, using NFC (near-field communication) technology.
It’s free to sign up and use Google Wallet. The accompanying app and MasterCard are even free! Google also guarantees the security of Wallet transactions and accounts. Users are notified with their smartphones about every purchase made, and accounts are monitored and can be locked down immediately if any suspicious activity is detected. All in all, through Wallet, Google provides an easy way to condense your physical wallet into a single card and mobile app.
While Coin and Google Wallet are both appealing, it’s hard to hand out the TMS “Best Online Digital Payment Method Ever in History” award, as Coin hasn’t officially been released, and Google Wallet is just making its way into practice for consumers. One thing is for certain, technology is making financial transactions much easier to operate, track, and manage. We’re excited about the future of digital payments!
How do Coin and Google Wallet compare to PayPal and Square Cash? Which is your preferred method of digital payment? Let us know in the comments!