Fitbit Kills Off Its ‘Coin’ Payment Service; Devices To Become Useless When Batteries Die

Image courtesy of Coin

Last year, wearable fitness tracker/fitness watch company made a surprising acquisition, buying the payment company Coin with no plan to continue its products. Instead, Fitbit planned to kill off Coin’s own product and integrate the company’s payment technology into its own wearable devices. Now the service will be shutting down next month, and Coin magnetic stripe devices will work for as long as their batteries last, or until your payment card number changes.

Coin never really caught on, but it was a cool idea before the chips that make contactless mobile payment work became commonplace at retailers and in our phones. It was a small device the size of a normal credit card, which could imitate a magnetic strip, allowing you to carry multiple forms of payment, including credit cards, debit cards, and gift cards, on one device.

If your Coin device is no longer working, that’s too bad: upgrades to a Coin 2.0 device or exchanges of devices that no longer work ended yesterday, Jan. 31, 2017. The mobile app will stop working on Feb. 28, and after that, users will no longer be able to add new cards to their devices or swap out cards that have expired.

The universal credit card idea lives on in the Samsung Pay devices that work with magnetic stripe readers at retailers that don’t have NFC-equipped card terminals, but it isn’t quite the same. At least the devices themselves will keep working after Coin itself turns out the lights and until the batteries die, unlike cloud-based services that stop working when the companies behind them turn off the servers.

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