Are Fees Killing the Bitcoin Debit Card Dream?

August 4, 2014 07:29 UTC

For the past five years, Bitcoin users have been innovating and creating better ways to make Bitcoin accessible to everybody. In the beginning, it was near impossible to exchange U.S. Dollars for Bitcoin. Now, of course, we use one click of a button on Coinbase, and our transaction completes. It’s fast, easy and simple.

There’s another frontier ahead though that puts users in a difficult boat: using their Bitcoin. Sure, when spending money online through Expedia or Dell it’s really easy. One copy and paste and you’re on your way. The next big problem is brick-and-mortar stores; to which the Bitcoin businesses have come up with a plan to overcome. Enter: The Bitcoin Debit Card. It’s too bad the dream is dying before it can even begin, though.

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Xapo, an online Bitcoin wallet company, guarded by high-tech vault security, recently announced that they would be producing a Bitcoin debit card. This card would allow for point-of-sale transactions to take place and ATM withdrawals. It would link with your Xapo account pull directly from it whenever the card is used.

ANX, a Hong Kong-based Bitcoin company and exchange, also recently announced their Bitcoin debit card that was ready ship almost immediately; making it the official first Bitcoin debit card in existence. It carried all of the benefits of the Xapo card but was simply ready for take off sooner.

Two companies, one concept. The Bitcoin community has been ecstatic for this innovation and the future it held. Unfortunately, the fees behind each of these cards may put them out of favor before they even become truly integrated.

Xapo Fees

In the beginning, Xapo told users that there was only a $15 shipping fee for them and that merchants would pay their traditional debit and credit card fees as normal. Recently; however, this has been proven to be untrue with Xapo’s new fee schedule. The new fees leave many users to believe this is a “bait-and-switch” technique, and have hard feelings. The fees are as follows:

As you can see, these are very different than the initial promise. In fact, these are completely different. Transaction fees, monthly fees, ATM fees that in combination with double ATM fees from the bank or provider. This shift has left a bad taste in many peoples mouths.

Ever since the release of this fee schedule, Xapo has faced a public relations fiasco that it should be desperately trying to dig itself out of against the Bitcoin community.

ANX Fees

ANX launched their debit card with little time to spare. As an already well-established company, they didn’t need to wait on investors like Xapo may have had to. Ken Lo, the CEO of ANX, sat down with CCN to talk about their debit card in an exclusive interview. They stated their fees outright, but the fact that fees still exist may be a problem for the Bitcoin community.

Their fees are as follows:

The fees are in different places, but they look comparable to Xapo’s fees. While it’s understandable that a company has to make money somehow, the Bitcoin community seems to have rejected the idea or notion of fees in general. In fact, that’s almost the very reason Bitcoin was created.

Will This Kill the Bitcoin Debit Card?

It’s hard having your dreams crushed a bit. It certainly is interesting to see what the aftermath will be after the community makes the decision to either use the card or leave it behind. This does leave an opportunity for companies to battle with their fees though.

Competition has proven well for Bitcoin in the past. The competition between Bitpay and Coinbase has pushed both companies to innovate and bring the community products and services beyond their wildest dreams.

The Bitcoin debit card will not die. This new outrage offers the opportunity for either ANX, Xapo or another company to bring the community a debit card with little to no fees. Whether or not they will is left to the company and the community demand.

Featured image by Shutterstock.

@thelivingaspect

Clay Gillespie a writer and reporter for many different platforms across the tech industry. He holds a B.S. in Public Relations from Ball State University, and freelances for different clients in technology and cryptocurrency. For more information, visit his personal website, claygillespie.com.