Coinbase Launches First Bitcoin Debit Card In The U.S.

Journalist:
Lester Coleman
November 20, 2015

Coinbase has introduced what it claims is the first U.S.-issued bitcoin debit card, the Shift Card. This is a VISA debit card that allows Coinbase users in 24 U.S. states to spend bitcoin online and offline at more than 38 million merchants worldwide, the company announced on its website.

Coinbase noted that merchant adoption of bitcoin has increased in recent years, but it’s still difficult for many people to make regular purchases with bitcoin. Purchasing gasoline or groceries at local outlets has not been possible in most U.S. cities. The Shift Card now makes this possible.

How To Get A Shift Card

To get a Shift Card, Coinbase users can order the card by providing their address and authorizing a $10 issuance fee, paid in bitcoin.

There are no fees associated with domestic transactions beyond the $10 issuance fee for a limited time. Coinbase has a fee schedule on its website.

Users can spend funds from their Coinbase or Dwolla accounts any place VISA is accepted, according to the Shift Payments website. Dwolla is an online payment network.

Coinbase and Dwolla currently charge no transaction fees, but both companies can introduce fees in the future, Shift notes.

Also read: Circle allows prepaid VISA cards to purchase bitcoin

No Annual Or Transaction Fees For Now

Shift does not have an annual  fee for the card, nor does it charge a transaction fee. There is a $2.50 fee for ATM transactions, a 3% fee for international transactions and a $3.50 fee for international ATM transactions.

There is a daily spending limit of $1,000, but users can contact Shift if they want to increase this limit.

There is a $500 daily ATM withdrawal limit for Dwolla accounts and a $200 daily withdrawal limit for Coinbase accounts.

Eligible states are listed on both the Coinbase and Shift websites.

Adam White, Coinbase vice president of business development and strategy, told Wired that Coinbase wants to make it easy to spend bitcoin, and a mainstream debit card based on bitcoin is key to making this possible.

Shift Payments is a company working to make it as easy to spend digital currencies, cryptocurrencies and loyalty points, according to TechCrunch.

Images from Shift Payments.

Last modified (UTC): November 20, 2015 18:54

Tags: coinbase
Lester Coleman

Lester Coleman is a media relations consultant for the payments and automated retailing industries.