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Why Malaysians shouldn’t buy Coin–yet

There’s a lot of talk about COIN, the aptly named card replacement device that promises to end the bulge in your wallet–literally. Basically this handy device is meant to replace all your cards in your wallet, and saving you space in a secure and convenient way. It’s oversold its pre-order a thousand times over, and it’s taking the internet by storm in a way we thought was only possible by horse riding koreans.

However, I’m here to tell you, that as a Malaysian–you want to hold off that pre-order. Now if you want to buy coin to show-off to your less tech-literate friends, then go ahead, but if you’re buying COIN thinking that it’ll simplify your wallet, you’ll be sadly mistaken.

First off, coin will not support Malaysian credit cards–period. They’re FAQ state they do not support EMV cards, in layman terms that means they don’t support the chip-based cards we use in Malaysia. So there, you’ll still have to carry your credit cards–and ATM cards. Now I know some of you might be shouting, that your credit cards still have a magnetic stripe behind it, but that’s more for you to use in a foreign country that doesn’t accept EMV cards just yet, not Malaysian merchant will accept your Malaysian credit card via the a magnetic swipe–which is what Coin is suppose to replicate.

Secondly Coin only works with magstripe cards, and that’s great. As a father of a newborn I can tell you right now, I have a Jusco, Tesco, Watson, Bonuslink, and any other loyalty card you can think of. Technically my new title is ‘uncle’ and I know where the cheapest diapers are to be found. So Coin will help me overcome carrying those bulky loyalty cards around, if I could convince the cashier to swipe my Coin instead of my ‘real’ Jusco card. May have to turn on the ol’ Rozario charm for that one.

You see loyalty cards are issued individually to make it harder to hundreds of people to share the same card and rack up points–it’s inbuilt into the way loyalty schemes are run and inbuilt into calculating the cost of the loyalty scheme, so Jusco and Tesco may simply flat out refuse to swipe your loyalty card on that premise. To them, you’re cloning your card, which is against their terms and agreement. At most you’d be able to swipe your Bonuslink or KadMesra at the petrol station, because that’s outdoor self-serve with no one to refuse you, and the system wouldn’t know the difference from a coin to the ‘real’ card, but other than that at the very least I can say–I’m not sure.

On a separate note, Fuel cards, those cards that Fuel companies issue for you to buy fuel from them–are usually magstripe and can be ‘coin-ed’, but they are usually issued with PINs and once again–they shouldn’t be cloned.

Finally, a lot of cards may seem like magstripe, but they aren’t. Popular Bookstore, and BookXcess both use barcodes on their cards. Meaning the way the card is read is by scanning the barcode printed on the card–not swiping the magnetic stripe. Plus, I just checked both my insurance cards, and they’re not magstripe either, as far as I can tell they’re just cards with my insurance information printed on the card. I understand the ‘Red Alert’ insurance operates with magstripe cards–so that may help.

And just to make matters worse, Coin is not a form of ID, so you’d still need to carry your IC and Drivers License.

So unless you feel like carrying around a 50 US dollar device, to replace your Jusco, Tesco and Bonuslink card–I’d stay away from COIN till they can replace EMV cards, and just to add, the EMV standard was built to be difficult to clone in the first place–so that may take time.

  • Sigmakay

    Coin is still an extra device. What we need is an app that can replace all the loyalty cards, since we already tote our mobile phone around. I believe Thailand has stamps, although this is for freebies and not to rack up points.