In an announcement today, Bitcoin exchange Coinbase has announced the beta launch of a new feature that will lead to enabling US customers to purchase bitcoin instantly via debit cards.
Coinbase has announced the beta launch of a new feature that will facilitate the purchase of bitcoin(s) instantly with US-based debit cards. The feature is already available for European users of Coinbase who have the means to buy the cryptocurrency through credit and debit cards.
An announcement from Coinbase’s blog read:
Today, we’re launching a new Coinbase product (in beta) to users in the United States. Buy bitcoin instantly with debit cards.
Since there are over 5.2 billion debit cards in circulation, we’re confident this capability will make it significantly easier both for new users to get their first bitcoin, and for existing users to get bitcoin quickly.
The announcement also added that the feature will only be available for 1% of US customers today, while in its beta phase. The eventual rollout over the ‘coming months’ will see the feature enabled for all US customers.
Users who see this feature already enabled in their accounts can add a debit card via the payment methods page on Coinbase’s website. The same can be done from Coinbase’s Android and iOS apps. Once added, users can instantly buy bitcoin via the buy page.
The First Bitcoin Debit Card
Notably, Coinbase was also the company behind the launch of what it claimed as the first US-issued bitcoin debit card in November 2015. The ‘Shift Card’, as it is called, is a VISA debit card that allowed Coinbase users in 24 US states to spend the cryptocurrency online and offline at over 38 million merchants around the world, at the time of launch.
Although reigned in with a $1,000 spending limit at the time of issue, users looking to increase this limit could do so by contacting shift. While the Shift card does not have an annual fee for the card, there is a $2.50 fee for ATM transactions, 3% fee for international transactions and a $3.50 fee for international ATM transactions.
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