Coinbase, the largest Bitcoin exchange in the world, has launched debit card payments in the US. The debit and credit card payments were already available to Coinbase’s European customers.
Coinbase released the following statement on its website, saying that from the March 1, Coinbase users in the US will be able to buy Bitcoin via their debit cards:
“Today we’re launching a new Coinbase product (in beta) to users in the United States: Buy bitcoin instantly with debit cards. Since there are over 5.2B debit cards in circulation, we’re confident this capability will make it significantly easier both for new users to get their first bitcoin, and for existing users to get bitcoin quickly.
Note that we are launching this feature to 1% of U.S. customers today, and plan to roll it out slowly to 100% over the coming months. Users with this feature enabled can add a debit card by going to the payment methods page on Coinbase.com, or through the payment method option under settings in our iOS and Android apps. Once a debit card has been added, users can then go to the buy page, and instantly buy bitcoin. If you don’t yet have a Coinbase account, sign up here, and we’ll notify you via email as soon as this product is available for you.”
The Bitcoin subreddit, /r/Bitcoin, has always had mixed feelings with regards to Coinbase, but the general consensus among the community is that this is a positive development.
Reddit user, /u/BIGbtc_Integration, said, “Great stuff. Makin' it easy to buy bitcoin”, a sentiment largely shared by other users.
However, others have their qualms about using debit cards to buy Bitcoin, with /u/dlerium saying:
“Buying on debit is always risky from the consumer perspective because it deducts your funds immediately from your bank account. Buying on credit OTOH [on the other hand] protects the consumer because you at least have Visa/MC protection for instance where you're not liable for fraudulent charges. Plus, you don't have to pay your bill until your bill cycle is up and then you have a few weeks to pay up. All that time allows you to dispute charges.
Debit does have a benefit (think Square Cash) where you can get instant purchases though, so if there are benefits of having instant buying and withdrawals, then that would be good.”
‘Great for newbies’
Cointelegraph spoke to experts to ascertain what those ‘in the know’ thought about this recent decision.
Simon Dixon, CEO of BnkToTheFuture.com, said:
"Buying Bitcoin with a debit card is great for newbies. It'll be interesting to see how they solve the old chargeback problem though which may not be as much fun for Coinbase."
David Mondrus, another expert in the Bitcoin community, has this answer:
“They'll likely take out chargeback insurance or eat the losses. But they do have deep information on the accounts, so they can hypothetically judge the risk well”