Coin gained a hefty fan base with its entrance onto the payments scene last year as a digital wallet that stores multiple payment cards into one device. The product was touted as a secure, convenient way for customers to store all of their cards’ data in one device that itself is about the size and weight of a credit card. Many were quick to jump at the pre-order opportunity, and Coin sold well past its $50,000 target in just 40 minutes.
But the hype was soon squashed thanks to a slew of technical bugs that, more than once, delayed the shipment of Coin. First, shipments were pushed back to the summer; now, Coin says, international customers won’t have a chance of seeing their order until Spring 2015.
A lucky few in the US, however, have finally received their Coin – though customer reactions still appear to be more disgruntled than excited. Now, Coin is doing some damage control. The startup issued an apology Wednesday (Nov. 20) to address the backlash from months of shipping delays. The letter, addressed to those first Coin backers, not only apologies for a “lack of transparency and clarity” to its impatient customers, but also announces the launch of an expanded Coin Beta program.
Coin Beta allows early supporters to test a more limited prototype of Coin to appease consumers while they wait for the real deal. But those who opted-in to participate in Coin Beta criticized the company for being required to pay an extra $30 to receive Coin.
In its apology letter the company says that the Coin Beta program will now be expanded from the San Francisco Bay Area to a nationwide market and will include 50 percent more devices – a total of 15,000. Plus, the company nixed the extra $30 charge to receive the actual product.
Still, it’s too early to tell whether Coin has saved itself from consumer wrath. As early backers in the US finally begin to receive their product, it’s important to note that the first generation Coin will not be an EMV-compliant device. It’s a crucial detail that threatens Coin’s business model – EMV-compliant products come with a chip that many experts say will be standard in US card transactions by the end of next year.
Coin said in a statement that it will not address the EMV compliance issue until the first generation Coin has been shipped. As a company built on the platforms of payments innovation and customer convenience, forcing customers to wait even longer for Coin to catch up with new card technology will not likely go over well.