The concept of Bitcoin debit cards has intrigued many digital currency enthusiasts for quite some time now. Due to regulatory requirements, most of the companies offering this service have not been eligible to ship cards to the United States. Shift Payments seems to have cracked the code to solve this issue being the first company to issue a US Bitcoin Debit Card.
Shift Payments – The Shift Bitcoin Debit Card
Bitcoin debit cards have been usable in the US for quite some time now, although ordering them as a US resident has been an impossible task up until now. Granted, users could order a card and have it reshipped by a friend to their address. But at the same time, a new problem is created, as raising the card limits is not possible due to an address mismatch.
It has taken quite some time until a first US-issued Bitcoin debit card made an appearance but it looks like Shift Payments has found the solution. Even though very few people had heard of this company until this announcement, the service they offer seems to be legitimate. After all, the company did receive US$120k in seed funding during July of 2014.
The main goal of Shift Payments has always been to create an easy and convenient way to spend digital currencies. Until Bitcoin becomes a mainstream payment method around the world, users have to jump through various hoops before making a purchase with the digital currency. Bitcoin debit cards alleviate most of that pressure and they can be used at millions of locations throughout the world.
One of the best parts about having a Bitcoin debit card is how it can be used both online and offline, as it will act like any other Visa card. Services like Paypal can be verified with these cards and as long as there is enough funds in the card’s balance, consumers can buy anything they want through point-of-sale terminals or online checkout.
As you would come to expect, ordering a Shift Bitcoin debit card is not free of charge, as the issue cost is currently US$10. In addition, there are separate fees for US-based ATM transactions (US$2.50), international transactions (3%) and international ATM transactions (US$3.50). Most of these fees are fairly low compared to other companies, though.
Even though the Shift Bitcoin debit card is available to all US states – activations in California are limited for the time being – it is advised to fund the card through either Coinbase or Dwolla. Coinbase is only available in certain US states due to regulatory and legislative requirements. For more detailed information, click here.
Last but not least, all Shift Cards are subject to a spending limit of US$1,000 per day. While this threshold will be more than sufficient for most people, users can always contact Shift Payments Support to raise the daily spending limit to the level they need.
Bitcoin Debit Cards Boost Digital Currency Adoption
Despite Bitcoin debit cards not being a perfect solution to boost digital currency adoption, it certainly gives the average consumer something to think about. A bank-issued debit card is subject to higher fees compared to their Bitcoin counterparts, and the feeling of spending digital currency in the real world is simply amazing.
That being said, the concept of Bitcoin debit cards is nothing new. Even though it has been a struggle for US residents to get their hands on one of these cards, the question remains whether or not many users will decide to give it a try. Exciting times are ahead of us in the Bitcoin world, that’s for sure.
Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Shift Payments
Also published on Medium.