One of the leading U.S. bitcoin exchanges, Coinbase, has announced today that users can now use the company’s debit card offering, called Coinbase Card, with Apple Pay according to a news release.
“You can now use your Coinbase Card with Apple Pay and Google Pay to make it even easier to spend crypto at home and on the go,” shared Coinbase, per the release. “Starting this week, we’ll invite select customers off the waitlist to begin earning up to 4% back in crypto rewards.”
The Coinbase Card allows users to draw on their Coinbase balances of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies to make purchases. The exchange automatically converts all cryptocurrency to U.S. Dollars and transfers the funds to the debit card ––minus conversion fees–– for usage in purchases and ATM withdrawals.
Starting next week, users will have the option to add their Coinbase Card to Apple Pay as soon as they’re approved for the card. As a result, Coinbase will indirectly allow millions of Americans to pay for their everyday purchases with bitcoin through Apple Pay via the new feature.
The news comes after Apple has recently shown interest in a “cryptocurrency specialist” through a recent job post, suggesting that the company may be working towards adding bitcoin payments to Apple Pay. But until direct transactions become a reality, Coinbase users can already enjoy paying with bitcoin while reaping some rewards.
There are some caveats to the card’s reward system; the user also has to pay a 2.75% fee for every Coinbase Card transaction. While the bitcoin exchange promises up to 4% back in rewards, that figure only applies to receiving non-bitcoin cryptocurrencies.
Those who choose to use bitcoin are awarded 1% back, which would mean losing money after accounting for the card fees. However, if one expects the earned bitcoin to outpace any other returns regardless of percentage rewards earned, then this may not be necessary to take into consideration. In addition, if desired, Coinbase Card users can avoid paying the debit card fee by using USDC, Coinbase’s dollar-pegged stablecoin.
More broadly, the combination of America’s most widely used bitcoin exchange with the most popular smartphone company in the country could spur a broader usage of bitcoin debit cards, increasing payments made with bitcoin in the U.S.