Review 6 – Shift Payments Debit Card

Shift Payments Debit Card

I’ve been working with Bitcoin since December of 2013. Ever since I got started I wondered how long it would take for someone to partner with Visa or MasterCard to get a debit card backed by a Bitcoin wallet. To me it was a no-brainer. To others, well…

I’ve seen lots of promises that this was coming, but none came through. I heard that Xapo was getting one, but the card won’t work in the US. I heard that Bitwage was getting one, but I never got mine. I’m guessing because it’s partnered with Xapo. I heard that BillPayForCoins was getting one, but that company seems abandoned. I still hear rumor of some, but eventually I quit chasing them down.

I heard various reasons why this setup wouldn’t work. I read that there were regulations preventing it. I read that Visa and MasterCard were shunning Bitcoin. I read that card companies and payment processors felt threatened by crypto and wouldn’t allow Bitcoin in their space. I read a lot of things, but saw very little on the official side. It all seemed to be hearsay and conjecture.

I heard various arguments as to why this would be good or bad for Bitcoin. Some people hoped that it would cause mass adoption. Others argued that we should leave the old system behind and not work with it to advance both systems. As usual, the vocal ones were all for it or wanted nothing to do with it, choosing sides and burning bridges. The voices on the fence were rather quiet, but there were a few.

But I still wanted one.

shift_1Then I heard about one that was actually shipping to the US: Shift. As always, I was excited and signed up. I waited patiently over the Thanksgiving holiday and, when it didn’t arrive, I figured it was just another failed promise. But I emailed their support staff at 1:30am on a Saturday to tell them that I’d been waiting three weeks. And, to my surprise, they emailed me back that day at 3:30pm apologizing that I hadn’t yet received my card. I received a notification that it was in the mail on Monday, 2 days later. It came in the mail the next Saturday. My issue was resolved in a week.

I’ve been waiting to use this card because I wanted to write a review on it. I was waiting to write a review on it because I had other reviews I wanted to write first. However, a user on the Bitcointalk Forums was asking whether this card was a scam or not, so I decided to bump this one to the front. And I’m happy to report that the card works and is not a scam.

You can read the process of setting up the Shift card in my Tutorial section. Setting up a Shift debit card is easy. Using it is even easier.

My wife and I were out today and I stopped at a gas station to fill up the car. I also went into the store to pick up a bottle of pop and a bottle of water. I took them to the counter and the cashier rang them up. She then swiped my Shift card. I guess she ran it as a credit card because I was not asked for a PIN like I would have been had she ran it as debit. No matter. As the purchase was under a certain amount, I wasn’t even asked to sign. I was simply notified by my phone that the transactions had occurred. This is exactly how a transaction with a credit card works today. There was absolutely no hassle. I didn’t have to ask if they accepted Bitcoin. I didn’t have to explain what it was or why they should accept it. It just worked.



Just to show that it works, here is a copy of my receipt for the bottle of pop and bottle of water I bought today.


Transaction in Shift app.

And here is the transaction in the Shift app.


Transaction in Coinbase app.

And here is the transaction in the Coinbase app.

The gas station at which I made these purchases just made a transaction that involved Bitcoin and they didn’t even know it.

Posted in Debit Cards, Reviews, Services


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