Bitcoin merchant services provider BitPay has introduced its latest product offering, a bitcoin-funded Visa debit card. The prepaid bitcoin debit card allows users to spend their bitcoin anywhere Visa is accepted. The BitPay Card is currently available to customers anywhere in the United States.
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BitPay Launches Debit Card
BitPay’s core business lies in providing services for merchants to accept bitcoin directly from consumers. The company’s new debit card is designed to expand the options available to bitcoin users, enabling them to spend their bitcoin at merchants who do not yet accept it. The card was unveiled at the Consensus 2016 blockchain conference.
BitPay’s debit card announcement may signal a move by the company toward attacking the problem of real-world Bitcoin utility from the opposite end. The BitPay Card is aimed at customers rather than merchants, though both strategies seek to increase bitcoin’s value to users by increasing its ability to be used.
“One of our main goals at BitPay is to make it possible for more people to spend bitcoin in their everyday lives,” BitPay’s Sr. Sales Engineer, Corey Glaze, said.
While Bitcoin payments hold many advantages over debit cards, there is no disputing that cards are much more widely accepted. BitPay’s partnership with Visa means the BitPay Card can be used at millions of merchants worldwide. Users can also withdraw cash from ATMs if they prefer.
Compared to previous Bitcoin-linked payment cards, the BitPay Card offers a competitive fee structure. There are no fees for loading bitcoin onto the card balance or for using the card at a point of sale within the United States. Fees do apply for activities including initial issuance of the card, withdrawing cash from ATMs or transactions requiring currency conversion.
The website where users can manage their BitPay Card account is mobile-friendly so customers can have easy access to their account wherever they are. This benefits customers by making balance information readily accessible and making deposits as convenient as possible.
Deposits can be sent using any Bitcoin wallet and are credited within seconds, making that bitcoin value available for immediate spending or withdrawal through the Visa network. Users can also load the card via payroll direct deposit. BitPay limits daily deposits on the BitPay debit card to $10,000 USD and allows a maximum of $3,000 per day in cash withdrawals.
Because the card balance is prepaid, issuing the card does not require a credit check. Still, in order to comply with banking regulations, users must submit personal information including name, address, date of birth, and social security number. For users who don’t mind sacrificing this level of privacy, the card offers easier access to their bitcoin holdings, making it easier to use for everyday purchases.
What do you think about bitcoin payment cards? Are you using one, and if not would you consider it?
Images courtesy of Consensus, BitPay