Coinbase, the largest U.S.-based cryptocurrency exchange, now offers a debit card that enables users to spend crypto and earn rewards on their purchases. Among the first of its kind, this unique debit card lets you spend your coins like cash without any of the hassle that usually comes with doing that.
Find out more about what the card offers in this Coinbase debit card review.
American customers can soon enjoy a debit card that makes your crypto account as spendable as your bank account. It’s a Visa debit card linked to your Coinbase balance, so you can use the cryptocurrency in that account anywhere a Visa card is accepted. The card automatically converts the crypto to U.S. dollars for each transaction, whether that’s paying for dinner or pulling cash from an ATM.
In addition to being able to spend your crypto balance like traditional currency, the new Coinbase debit card offers:
- A mobile app to track your balance and spending
- Top-notch security via 2-step verification, instant card freeze and other features that keep your crypto balance safe
- Earn up to 4% back on every purchase
- Support for 9 different crypto currencies, including Ethereum, Bitcoin and Litecoin
- Contactless payments
For the rewards, you will be asked to choose your preferred reward option when you open your account. U.S. cardholders have a choice between a 4% XLM back or 1% BTC back on every purchase made with the card. However, you’ll be able to toggle between the 2 offers from the app so you can rack up rewards in both XLM and BTC as you see fit.
Once you set your preferred reward offer, it will be applied to every purchase you make, regardless of which crypto wallet you’re using, and the reward hits your account as soon as the transaction processes. This can take anywhere from 1 to 5 days.
For U.S.-based cardholders, there is no issuance fee upon receiving the card and no annual fee after that. However, you will still face some fees depending on how you use the card:
- 1% fee on withdrawals that exceed your daily limit. The limit is $2,500 in transactions and $1,000 in ATM withdrawals.
- 2% fee when you use the card outside the United States.
- 2.49% cryptocurrency liquidation fee on every transaction for most currencies. USDC is fee-free, but all other supported cryptocurrencies carry the fee.
Fees were a sticking point in the past as the UK and EU debit cards Coinbase offered carry additional fees and supports fewer cryptocurrencies. For anyone based in the U.S., however, the card’s fee schedule is much more competitive—though, still not the cheapest.
While this is not the only crypto debit card on the market, it’s one of the few that allows you to spend your crypto without keeping a fiat currency balance in your account. A fiat currency is a government-issued currency, like the U.S. dollar, and many crypto cards require its users to keep a cash balance of an accepted fiat currency. Coinbase has no such requirement.
The mobile app gives you the convenience and on-the-go control over your account that the best banking apps provide. From the Coinbase app, you not only have the ability to monitor your spending and check your balance.
You can also instantly switch between crypto wallets so that your transactions are funded by whichever coin you choose. The user-friendly app can also send you instant notifications, generate smart receipts and connect you with the Coinbase support team.
Most importantly, card holders can manage their card settings right from their phone. Whether you need to temporarily lock your card, place an immediate freeze on your card or order a replacement for a lost or stolen card, you can do all of that directly through the app.
Pros and Cons of Coinbase Debit Card
Coinbase has a significant edge over its competitors in that it offers the most convenient spending option and airtight security while rounding out those features with a decent range of supported crypto and manageable fees.
Some of its key advantages include:
- No transaction fees on USDC means you do have an option to get around the cryptocurrency liquidation fee.
- Generous reward offers with no minimum account requirements. (Many competitors only offer cashback rewards to accounts that maintain a certain minimum balance.)
- No ATM fees. This is a unique perk as many competitors charge an ATM fee which is added to any fee that the ATM itself might charge.
- Fully-functional mobile app that allows you to choose your crypto wallet, change your rewards, review transaction history and manage your security features all from your phone.
The main areas where Coinbase’s card is a little less competitive are in the range of crypto supported and the fees charged.
While 9 supported cryptocurrency makes it more versatile than a lot of its competitors, it’s far from the broadest range available. A few of Coinbase’s competitors offer more than this.
Customers who prefer to maintain a diversified portfolio of dozens of different coins might find Coinbase lacking. However, for customers who only trade in the major coins like Bitcoin and Ethereum, the 9 cryptocurrencies that are available will likely be more than enough for your needs.
It also bears mentioning that Coinbase’s fees, while far from excessive, are not the lowest on the market. For fee-averse customers, that crypto liquidation fee might feel like too much, but you should note that competitors who offer lower fees also tend to place tighter restrictions and requirements on their cards.
Some low-fee options, for example, are only low fee at the start but once you exceed a certain monthly spend or withdrawal limit, transaction fees will kick in. Others have stricter account minimums and fiat currency balance requirements. So, weigh the added fees against the added restrictions and loopholes before you make your final decision.
Is Coinbase Safe and Legit?
One of the areas where Coinbase shines is in security. Between the 2-step verification, the ability to instantly freeze your card right from your phone, and the many other built-in security features in both the app and the card, it’s among the safest crypto debit cards you can use.
You can contact Coinbase’s customer service by phone or email as well as directly through the mobile app. For the fastest support, you should use either email or the messaging center inside the app.
The company currently doesn’t have any live customer service representatives operating its phone line. The automated phone support does offer some basic services like disabling or re-enabling your account but anything more involved in than that will need to be done via email.
While that might feel like an inconvenience to some, the company is usually good about responding promptly to email support requests.
The Coinbase debit card takes the lead over its competitors when it comes to ease of use and security. It’s one of the few that allows you to switch between crypto wallets as needed and provides some of the strongest security features, all right from its mobile app.
Cardholders also enjoy lower fees and the ability to use their debit card worldwide. While it doesn’t support the widest range of coins, the 9 cryptocurrencies it does support puts it ahead of many of its competitors’ more limited offerings.