Bittylicious, the UK-based site that aims to make buying bitcoins easy, has added Visa and Mastercard credit/debit cards as payment options to make it even easier. According to founder Marc Warne:
“Bittylicious is designed to make the Bitcoin buying process as simple as possible, so we are thrilled to allow users to purchase simply by registering and entering their credit card details. Within just a few minutes, users can be in possession of their own Bitcoins.”
Until now, payments were accepted via wire transfer or mobile payment apps from banks like Barclays and RBS.
There are some strings attached. All transactions will be processed in euros as of now, with GBP added in a few weeks. Only cards whose primary currency is one of the above will be accepted. Also, cards must be 3D Secure enabled, which adds an additional security feature when shopping online. It ensures that the card in question is indeed in possession of the authorized user by requiring password-based authentication. The technology has been subject to some debate, with some assessing that it invites phishing scams.
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Bittylicious appears to make money by charging a markup on the conversion, although Warne said in an interview shortly after the service’s launch that profits on transactions were minimal “at the moment.” Currently, the purchase of 0.054 BTC, which is the maximum limit for a non-UK IP address, costs £14.82. Based on the average bitcoin price of $443 and a USD/GBP conversion rate of 0.59, the market rate is £14.11, making for a 5% premium. Transactions will therefore still be profitable even after merchant fees are charged for credit cards. The hope is also that the added ease of payment will increase business, offsetting such fees.
The value proposition of Bittylicious’ service, over and above and Bitcoin exchange, is their simplifying the process of buying bitcoins, especially for those in the U.K. When they launched, it was not easy to buy bitcoins with GBP. Also, those who are exchange-averse may feel more secure purchasing bitcoins as they would do shopping in any online store.
Lesser known is their providing an option to sell Bitcoin and buy British pounds, effectively making a quasi-exchange of sorts. At the bottom of their homepage, they advertising their seeking of Bitcoin sellers, provided that they meet certain conditions, including “a genuine interest in bitcoins”.