Coinbase, in partnership with Shift Payments, has announced the release of its first bitcoin debit card product, the Shift Card. The new offering is basically a Visa debit card, which allows Coinbase users who are domiciled in the U.S. to shop at various online/offline retailers with their bitcoin balances. Coinbase customers in 24 states are currently eligible for the new card program, with only 1000 residents in California being allowed to participate.
The Shift card makes spending bitcoin much easier. Users will be able to use the card at any worldwide merchant that accepts Visa.
“Thanks to Shift Payments, it’s now possible to use bitcoin to buy gas, groceries, and much more. With the Shift Card, you can now spend bitcoin anywhere in the world that VISA is accepted.”
A $10 insurance fee, payable only in bitcoin, will be required of eligible applicants. Since the program is still in its early stages, Coinbase has decided to not charge any fees for domestic transaction. However, there is a $2.50 charge for ATM cash withdrawal and a $3.50 charge for international withdrawals. International transactions also require an additional 3% Visa currency conversion surcharge.
Meg Nakamura, a spokesperson for Shift, was quoted in a WIRED article regarding any potential complications that may arise from VISA:
“VISA can always shut whatever it wants down. But I have assurance from the VISA teams that they are supportive of what we’re doing and the product we’re launching.”
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