Bitcoin wallet and merchant services provider Coinbase has introduced a debit card allowing users to spend bitcoin anywhere that Visa is accepted.
The concept of bitcoin debit cards is not new; they have been periodically launched by a number of crypto companies during the past couple of years. However, according to Coinbase, its card is the first to be issued in the US. It will be available for users located in states where Coinbase services are offered, which currently number 24.
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Coinbase touts the card for making it possible to spend bitcoin at over 38 million merchants worldwide- something that “has not been possible in most cities in the US.”
The card, called “Shift Card”, was launched in conjunction with a company called Shift Payments. The company’s sole message on its home page is its Bitcoin Debit Card for Coinbase. It also states payment card support for Dwolla, a low-fee payment processor offering real-time transfers. Dwolla recently partnered with CME to streamline payment operations.
There is a one-time $10 fee (paid in BTC) for the Coinbase debit card, and currently no annual or transaction fees. Coinbase says that in the future, it may charge fees to Shift for the conversion of bitcoin to fiat, which will in turn be passed on to the consumer.