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Author Topic: Bitcoin Debit Cards  (Read 5385 times)
boconniff40
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March 08, 2012, 05:33:26 PM
 #1

Is there one around yet? I wouldn't mind starting up a new business around this idea.
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BitcoinAndie
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March 08, 2012, 06:00:45 PM
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Yes, I'm interested. Have been thinking about it for while now.  There are a few examples out there, all are flawed.  Issuing branded cards is pretty easy, securing the dat.wallet is more challenging.  Recently figured out how to do this and how much it'll cost. Currently thinking about the demand for and utility of a BTC card. It's a nice to have but at this point, wondering if it isn't just a novelty item?

Here's a list of a few first movers:

http://www.paymyaddress.com/

http://www.bitcoinmoney.com/post/6672058553/amex-reloadable-debit-card

http://bitegg.net/

http://www.spendbitcoins.com/

http://www.bitcoinexchange.cc/transaction.html


PM me if you you want to chat.


When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.
boconniff40
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March 08, 2012, 06:15:10 PM
 #3

those are pretty bad examples actually, i was thinking more of an official bank debit card that is backed by a real bitcoin bank.
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March 08, 2012, 06:23:56 PM
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Is there one around yet? I wouldn't mind starting up a new business around this idea.

Are you referring to a card that has bitcoins stored on the card itself?  Because of the nature of bitcoin, that concept doesn't work -- you need a device to manage the security and facilitate transactions -- and that is something solved with a mobile device.  See BitcoinSpinner on Android as an example.

Or are you referring to a system where the card is simply a credential that will let you spend bitcoins from a bank service.   This has been proposed but because bitcoin is meant to be a a decentralized currency, this approach has few fans to date.  It would also require the merchant to acquire a card swiper that the customer would use to enter a PIN or an NFC terminal or something.  Nobody is working on this, at least not that they are publicly discussing.  Online, of course, this "debit card" concept doesn't apply, and is served by users with a bitcoin client, an online wallet or through payment processing such as that offered by Bit-Pay, Mt. Gox.

One category of a debit card is a USD-denominated physical Visa/MC cards (sent via mail) for making purchases at any merchant but where the cards can be purchased with bitcoins.

The follow are purchased and reloadable with bitcoins:
 - https://www.aurumxchange.com/cards
 - https://www.okpay.com/en/services/debit-card

There are others but I'm not listing them here as I don't know much or anything about them.  They might be found here:
 - https://en.bitcoin.it/wiki/Trade#Gift.2FDebit_Cards
 - https://en.bitcoin.it/wiki/Trade#Gift_Cards

As far as purchasing other USD-denominated cards, there are different categories of that as well:

Virtual, prepaid gift codes (purchased and order fulfilled entirely, online)
 - http://www.spendbitcoins.com (Amazon, Barnes & Noble, GoDaddy, Southwest Air)
 - http://coincard.ndrix.com (Amazon, Best Buy, Dominos, Papa Johns)
 - http://www.btcbuy.info (Amazon, Think Geek, Sears, NewEgg, Drugstore.com)
 - http://www.btcinstant.com (Virtual Mastercard)

Physical gift cards (via mail):
 - http://coincard.com  (new, appears to have site issues currently)

Any there are many prepaid debit cards that can be reloaded with a MoneyPak (e.g. Green Dot, WalMart, AmEx or dozens of others listed here https://www.moneypak.com/WhoAccepts.aspx ).  

You can buy new MoneyPaks here:
 - http://www.btcpak.com

There is even a service for buying bitcoins using your Visa/MC/Amex prepaid debit card:
 - http://www.Get-Bitcoin.com

If you notice, there is lots of need yet unfulfilled.

How about prepaid mobile phone service?   e.g., T-Mobile prepaid cards?  
These can be bought wholesale (e.g., at a discount) and then can probably be sold at a premium even.  But nobody is offering this, at least not in the U.S.  In Thailand, BhatCoin is selling phone cards for Bitcoins.

Or even direct competition with an existing service -- there could be a market to support more yet.

boconniff40
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March 08, 2012, 08:15:17 PM
 #5

Just because it's a decentralized currency that doesn't mean people can't invent cards that automatically link the cards with that individual's wallet and then exchange BTC into USD automatically. Although I'm not sure how one can link an anonymous wallet with an actual debit card account, I'm sure that the banks can set something up themselves. People will have to sign legal documents stating that that particular wallet is truly theirs and proved as such.

Example:
Jimmy walks into a bank to set up a BTC debit card
Bank creates a wallet for Jimmy and then creates a link between the wallet and physical debit card
Jimmy then proceeds to spend at the local mall
Bank charges Jimmy for exchanging BTC to USD as well as for each individual purchase and of course the monthly fee of the card
Stephen Gornick
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March 08, 2012, 08:39:34 PM
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Just because it's a decentralized currency that doesn't mean people can't invent cards that automatically link the cards with that individual's wallet and then exchange BTC into USD automatically.

The only way the bank could do a debit / "charge" to Jimmy to spend his bitcoins would be to have a copy of the private keys from Jimmy's wallet.  So this is essentially no different than jimmy depositing his bitcoins with the bank in advance.  Which is exactly how the prepaid debit cards from AurumXChange and OKPay operate today.  Except that the conversion to USD occurs at the time the funds are "deposited" to the prepaid card, and not deferred until the USDs are spent from the card.

Now instead if what you are describing is that the bank sends a monthly statement to Jimmy who is then obligated to send payment for the charges plus fee well then that is a credit card, not a debit card.   And reportedly, AurumXChange is going to allow that to happen as well (allow you to send bitcoins and have those converted to USDs to be applied as payments to the balance on your existing credit card or your debit card used with your bank even.)

boconniff40
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March 08, 2012, 08:52:56 PM
 #7

Sounds good.

I would just feel alot better if actual banks backed the BTC
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March 08, 2012, 09:37:13 PM
 #8

I would like to point out that our card is the ONLY card in the market that gets loaded INSTANTLY the moment you send your funds to our system, so you can withdraw at any ATM within minutes. This is possible because we have a master contract with the issuer, and do not simply resell cards.

I believe OkPay *might* be instant load as well since they are a registered financial institution so they probably have direct access to the MC network as well.

Roberto
boconniff40
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March 08, 2012, 09:44:16 PM
 #9

WOW you're amazing! That's the kind of people we need!

I'm definitely going to try your card.
boconniff40
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March 08, 2012, 09:47:56 PM
 #10

I AM PRETTY SURE THAT YOU CAN CHARGE MORE PER MONTH.

You have exclusivity.

WTF why do I have to open an account to see the card fees?
boconniff40
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March 08, 2012, 10:17:01 PM
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kkkk i just looked at okpay's debit card and they have higher limits than you. Also there are less charges lol
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March 08, 2012, 10:22:12 PM
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I AM PRETTY SURE THAT YOU CAN CHARGE MORE PER MONTH.

You have exclusivity.

WTF why do I have to open an account to see the card fees?

It is in the contract. Can't show fees to non members Sad got scolded for that! I would like to hear your experience with the OkPay card since I haven't tried it myself. One of my members reported fees to be much higher though (accounting OkPay fees). Not sure though. Is it instant as well?
SgtSpike
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March 08, 2012, 10:23:00 PM
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I would like to point out that our card is the ONLY card in the market that gets loaded INSTANTLY the moment you send your funds to our system, so you can withdraw at any ATM within minutes. This is possible because we have a master contract with the issuer, and do not simply resell cards.

I believe OkPay *might* be instant load as well since they are a registered financial institution so they probably have direct access to the MC network as well.

Roberto

Maybe your service does this, but here's what I'd like to see:
- A debit card loaded with BTC.
- When I swipe the card, the BTC is traded for USD, which is used to give the payment to the merchant.
- I can keep my balance in BTC, but it is converted to USD automatically on an as-needed basis.

So far, all I have seen is solutions that automatically convert the funds to USD as soon as they are received.  Please tell me if yours is any different.
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March 08, 2012, 10:37:32 PM
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I would like to point out that our card is the ONLY card in the market that gets loaded INSTANTLY the moment you send your funds to our system, so you can withdraw at any ATM within minutes. This is possible because we have a master contract with the issuer, and do not simply resell cards.

I believe OkPay *might* be instant load as well since they are a registered financial institution so they probably have direct access to the MC network as well.

Roberto

Maybe your service does this, but here's what I'd like to see:
- A debit card loaded with BTC.
- When I swipe the card, the BTC is traded for USD, which is used to give the payment to the merchant.
- I can keep my balance in BTC, but it is converted to USD automatically on an as-needed basis.

So far, all I have seen is solutions that automatically convert the funds to USD as soon as they are received.  Please tell me if yours is any different.

These suggestions are definitely interesting!

A debit card loaded with BTC.
Right now, we only take vouchers as you pointed out, so no BTC. You have to sell your BTC at MtGox and/or Bitcoinica and then load to the card with a voucher. Loading straight from BTC should be possible very soon.

When I swipe the card, the BTC is traded for USD, which is used to give the payment to the merchant.
This wouldn't be doable, unless you are literally a bank. MasterCard/Visa allows different levels of integration to different levels of Licensure, if that makes sense. Think of it this way: Those debit card programs out there that load your card in 24 hours have access I. Our company has access II (Can transfer balances automatically to the card). Banks have access III (can do pretty much anything, receive charges in real time, can issue refunds, etc. Does not need a pre-funded account to "send balances" out to card holders with the issuer, because they are the actual issuer). I am a customer of a level III. Level I are customers of a level II.

I can keep my balance in BTC, but it is converted to USD automatically on an as-needed basis.
This is partially possible as follows: You would keep a BTC balance with us, and then "load" your card with the needed BTC as you see fit. No much use to this though since once we have direct BTC funding on our site, you will have the ability to load whenever you want.

The reason why we didn't implemented direct BTC funding right now is because you will most probably always get less bang from your BTC than if you trade your BTC directly at an exchanger, and use a voucher to load. The explanation to this is because if we take your BTC and give you USD (of course, picture large scale with our customer base) we will have to immediately sell the BTC for your USD in order to hedge properly. If we have to do that, we need to quote you less than what the exchanger is wiling to give us in order to hedge short time price fluctuations which are very real in the bitcoin world, so there you have it.

Once a mature market for futures and options emerge, we would probably able to hedge that way, and the fees should be less to load with BTC (in some cases, depending the options and futures our system is holding, it might be even cheaper than going through an exchanger).

Let me know your thoughts!
Roberto

 

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March 08, 2012, 10:45:23 PM
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kkkk i just looked at okpay's debit card and they have higher limits than you. Also there are less charges lol

I just checked the fees for the OkPay and they are significantly higher than ours. I can't post fees publicly due to contract requirements, but I will tell you this:

OKPAY FEES:
Card top-up    $3.00 <-- We don't charge a "top up" fee. The issuer charges one, but it is less than that.
ATM withdrawal    2% (min. $3, max. $15) <--- That is just nutty. The issuer charges a FIXED withdrawal fee that is LESS than that minimum.

It is not clear to me what is the fee for "loading" the card. Perhaps none if you load by OkPay, but what if you want to load Liberty Reserve/PerfectMoney/Bitcoin/etc? Then you have to daisy-chain exchangers to get your OkPay account funded, and the fees will go up to the roof. You can load our cards with 11 payment methods (if my memory serves me right).

I guess if you are going to withdraw OkPay balance only, it might be a good tool, but I don't think it would be that way if you intend to load other e-currencies.
boconniff40
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March 08, 2012, 10:50:24 PM
 #16

Can you post up a picture of what the card looks like? You should make it a visually appealing card if you want people to use it. Most people take pride in their cards. Definitely better quality than MoneyMart offers.

I will definitely compare both cards later on.
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March 08, 2012, 10:58:13 PM
 #17

I would like to point out that our card is the ONLY card in the market that gets loaded INSTANTLY the moment you send your funds to our system, so you can withdraw at any ATM within minutes. This is possible because we have a master contract with the issuer, and do not simply resell cards.

I believe OkPay *might* be instant load as well since they are a registered financial institution so they probably have direct access to the MC network as well.

Roberto

Maybe your service does this, but here's what I'd like to see:
- A debit card loaded with BTC.
- When I swipe the card, the BTC is traded for USD, which is used to give the payment to the merchant.
- I can keep my balance in BTC, but it is converted to USD automatically on an as-needed basis.

So far, all I have seen is solutions that automatically convert the funds to USD as soon as they are received.  Please tell me if yours is any different.

These suggestions are definitely interesting!

A debit card loaded with BTC.
Right now, we only take vouchers as you pointed out, so no BTC. You have to sell your BTC at MtGox and/or Bitcoinica and then load to the card with a voucher. Loading straight from BTC should be possible very soon.

When I swipe the card, the BTC is traded for USD, which is used to give the payment to the merchant.
This wouldn't be doable, unless you are literally a bank. MasterCard/Visa allows different levels of integration to different levels of Licensure, if that makes sense. Think of it this way: Those debit card programs out there that load your card in 24 hours have access I. Our company has access II (Can transfer balances automatically to the card). Banks have access III (can do pretty much anything, receive charges in real time, can issue refunds, etc. Does not need a pre-funded account to "send balances" out to card holders with the issuer, because they are the actual issuer). I am a customer of a level III. Level I are customers of a level II.

I can keep my balance in BTC, but it is converted to USD automatically on an as-needed basis.
This is partially possible as follows: You would keep a BTC balance with us, and then "load" your card with the needed BTC as you see fit. No much use to this though since once we have direct BTC funding on our site, you will have the ability to load whenever you want.

The reason why we didn't implemented direct BTC funding right now is because you will most probably always get less bang from your BTC than if you trade your BTC directly at an exchanger, and use a voucher to load. The explanation to this is because if we take your BTC and give you USD (of course, picture large scale with our customer base) we will have to immediately sell the BTC for your USD in order to hedge properly. If we have to do that, we need to quote you less than what the exchanger is wiling to give us in order to hedge short time price fluctuations which are very real in the bitcoin world, so there you have it.

Once a mature market for futures and options emerge, we would probably able to hedge that way, and the fees should be less to load with BTC (in some cases, depending the options and futures our system is holding, it might be even cheaper than going through an exchanger).

Let me know your thoughts!
Roberto
Good response, thanks.  I suppose my point is, I am waiting for a bank to take on Bitcoin, and automatically exchange for USD as needed.  If Bitcoin becomes big enough, it WILL happen, just a matter of time.
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March 08, 2012, 11:05:08 PM
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Good response, thanks.  I suppose my point is, I am waiting for a bank to take on Bitcoin, and automatically exchange for USD as needed.  If Bitcoin becomes big enough, it WILL happen, just a matter of time.

That would be awesome, and hopefully those banks will be ran by cooler people, and not the current banking brethren LOL.
boconniff40
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March 09, 2012, 12:48:18 AM
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Good response, thanks.  I suppose my point is, I am waiting for a bank to take on Bitcoin, and automatically exchange for USD as needed.  If Bitcoin becomes big enough, it WILL happen, just a matter of time.

That would be awesome, and hopefully those banks will be ran by cooler people, and not the current banking brethren LOL.

What is that suppose to mean?
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March 09, 2012, 01:19:17 AM
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Good response, thanks.  I suppose my point is, I am waiting for a bank to take on Bitcoin, and automatically exchange for USD as needed.  If Bitcoin becomes big enough, it WILL happen, just a matter of time.

That would be awesome, and hopefully those banks will be ran by cooler people, and not the current banking brethren LOL.

What is that suppose to mean?

That current bankers suck. I'm not talking the guy on the counter, but the guy calling the shots.
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