Instead of finding shops and merchants that accept bitcoin, wouldn’t it be nice if you use a debit card that will tap into your wallet to easily purchase goods and services?
Well, that’s exactly what the Shift card has to offer, and more.
If you have been searching for a visa debit card that’s tied to your bitcoin wallet, you are probably considering getting a Shift card. Well, it’s a good thing that we are here to help.
Today, we’re going to talk about everything you need to know about Shift.
What Is The Shift Card?
The Shift Card (ShiftPayments.com) is a debit card which basically functions like a standard VISA card. Like an ordinary VISA debit card, you can use the card for both online and offline purchases.
The card is connected to your Coinbase account along with other cryptocurrency accounts – so you can easily top it off at your convenience. It claims to be the “first U.S. bitcoin debit card.”
As of this writing, only residents of the United States may apply for a Shift debit card. In order to spend your bitcoin via Coinbase, the cardholder must be a resident of the following states:
AK, AL, AR, AZ, CA, CO, DC, DE, FL, IA, ID, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MA, MD, ME, MI, MO, MS, MT, NC, NE, NH, NJ, NM, NV, NY, ND, OH, OK, OR, PA, RI, SC, SD, TN, TX, UT, VA, VT, WA, WI, WV
How Does It Work?
The card works like any other debit card.
When you use the card to purchase anything, the equivalent value of bitcoin (based on the current value of bitcoin on Coinbase) will be debited from your Coinbase wallet.
So basically, it’s like using a standard debit card but instead of the purchase being debited to your bank account, it taps from your bitcoin wallet instead via Coinbase. The value of your purchase will be deducted from your BTC balance, then it will be converted into U.S. dollars based on the current exchange rate.
So just like a standard VISA debit card, you can use the Shift card as soon as you get it. You don’t need to do anything special just to make it work, other than the standard procedure of activating the card. This means that you can use the card at any merchant that accepts VISA. There’s no more need to look for merchants that accept bitcoin for payment.
The card works offline, online, and even for international purchases. You may even use the card at ATMs for cash withdrawals.
As of this writing, Shift has a daily withdrawal limit of $$$. If you are spending via a Dwolla account, your daily ATM withdrawal limit is $$. If you’re using your Coinbase account, the daily ATM withdrawal limit is $. If you want to increase your daily spending limit, you can contact customer support at ShiftPayments.
How Do I Get A Shift Visa Card?
To apply for a Shift VISA card, you need to have either a Coinbase or Dwolla account. If you live in an eligible state, getting your shift card is as simple as completing a two-step sign up on the ShiftPayments website.
From the ShiftPayments website, you have the option to connect your Coinbase or Dwolla account. Connecting your account is as simple as logging into your Coinbase or Dwolla account. Once that’s done, you will be required to authorize Shift Payments to debit from your Coinbase wallet.
You can specify which wallet to spend from. As mentioned, the daily spending limit is $1,000. However, you can limit the spending limit to any amount below $$$. You will then proceed to order the card by verifying your identity and providing the payment authorization of $ for the issuance of the card.
For your reference, here are the fees that you need to know when signing up for Shift VISA card:
|Plastic Card Issuance Fee:|
|Domestic Cash Withdrawal Fee (applies to both ATM and Over The Counter “OTC” withdrawals):|
|$ (per transaction)|
|International Cash Withdrawal Fee* (applies to both ATM and Over The Counter “OTC” withdrawals):|
|$ (per transaction)|
|International Transaction Fee:|
|3% of total (per transaction)|
|Card Replacement Fee:|
|$$ (per Card issued)|
Once you have ordered your card, it will take 5-7 business days before it arrives at your doorstep. The cards are usually mailed every Monday-Friday at around 5 pm PST. So if you ordered the card after that time cutoff, your request will be processed on the following day.
Things You Might Not Like About Shift
While Shift is definitely one of the most popular Bitcoin debit cards for U.S. residents, it’s far from perfect.
1. It’s not designed to be used with other coins
The Shift VISA is marketed to be the very first Bitcoin debit card and we’ve found out that it just doesn’t play well with other coins. While you can certainly use it with other coins such as Ethereum and Litecoin, they are not officially supported.
So I’d be wary to use Shift if you’re planning to use other cryptocurrencies other than bitcoin. The last thing you’ll want is to be treated like a 2nd-class citizen.
2. There’s no hurry to support other currencies
In relation to the first point, it seems that Shift is in no hurry to add official support for other currencies.
I mean, the Shift pay card has been around for a couple of years now and Coinbase has added support for other currencies at around the same amount of time. So it’s easy to assume that, by now, Shift should already have support for many other currencies.
Perhaps they don’t just want to support other currencies due to lack of resources. Or maybe, they don’t plan for additional support due to regulations and record keeping. Regardless of the reason, the lack of support for other currencies will severely limit the functionality and longevity of the card.
3. Chargebacks and deposits are settled in BTC
Each time you use the Shift card as a credit card, it will take out a small deposit which will later be charged back after payment is cleared. So for instance, if you used the card to pay for gas, there’s a small deposit that will be taken out of the card. The problem is that the deposit will be done with BTC. So when the funds are deposited back, it’s in the form of bitcoin back to your Coinbase wallet.
While this is certainly no big deal, it can be rather annoying to have your funds pile up in an unused wallet. The same thing also happens with refunds. Any refunds you’ll receive will be charged back to your BTC wallet.
Is My Personal Information Safe?
According to ShiftPayments, sensitive information such as Social Security Number, Date of Birth or Home Address are not saved on a disk. As for your Passwords and OAuth tokens, they will be stored in a bank level AES-256 encryption on the company servers.
Plus, all traffic goes through SSL in order to prevent third parties from spying on your connection. Even employee access is severely restricted, and all employees are subjected to background checks.
Is The Shift Debit Card Any Good?
The Shift Card is one of the more popular bitcoin debit cards available today – and for good reason.
It’s the pioneer debit card for BTC users, so it’s definitely a reliable option. The card can be used at any merchant or establishment that accepts VISA, and it has relatively low fees when compared to traditional credit cards. For instance, you will not be charged for POS transactions and there are no monthly fees. There are transaction fees but they are quite manageable. The most expensive fee for getting the Shift is the $20 issuance fee.
Unfortunately, it seems that the card is not so keen on supporting other currencies.
So if you are going use other coins other than BTC, you might want to look elsewhere. However, if you’re planning to exclusively bitcoin, the Shift debit card is a solid option.
Have you used the Shift debit card? Have you used any other bitcoin debit cards? Feel free to share your thoughts and experiences using the comment box below.