Credit card giant Visa has previously thwarted almost all attempts to have its card and its name tied to anything related to cryptocurrency. Its position has softened slightly in recent times, driven possibly be the realization that its continued fee increases were chasing away customers (or, perhaps, they just believe in keeping their friends close and their enemies closer). Regardless of the reason, Visa has apparently agreed to a deal with Coinbase (NASDAQ: COIN) to allow a new Visa-branded debit card for the cryptocurrency exchange’s clients in the UK.
According to a Coinbase blog post, “We’re excited to announce the launch of Coinbase Card, a Visa debit card that lets customers in the UK spend crypto as effortlessly as the money in their bank.
“Coinbase Card is powered by customers’ Coinbase account crypto balances, giving them the ability to pay in-store and online using bitcoin, ethereum, litecoin, and more. Customers can use their card in millions of locations around the world, making payments through contactless, Chip and PIN, as well as cash withdrawals from ATMs. When customers use their Coinbase Card, we instantly convert crypto to fiat currency, such as GBP, which is used to complete the purchase.”
This, if it isn’t yanked like other Visa-branded crypto products in the past, will go a long way toward allowing crypto fans to use their digital assets the way they were intended—as currency. The cards are issued by Paysafe Financial Services Limited for UK customers only, but there are plans to roll out the cards across Europe in the near future. Paysafe is registered with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) in the UK.
Coinbase has also introduced the Coinbase Card app for Android and iOS devices. When the app is linked to the card, the balance in the Coinbase account will be available through the app and users can select which digital asset to use when making a purchase. The app also provides receipts, transaction summaries and additional purchase details.
Visa may have gotten spooked after its most recent fee increase. U.S.-based supermarket chain Kroger announced that it was withdrawing Visa payment capability from 134 of its stores, the second time the chain pulled away from Visa. There have been a number of deals that have seen crypto become more accepted as a payment alternative in retail establishments, which could also be causing Visa to change its tune. The company has even gone so far as to form its own blockchain division and has been recruiting individuals to work at the company on a blockchain or crypto project.
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