Coinbase Card Review (2019)

Coinbase Card Review (2019)
  • Ease of Use
  • Payment Options
  • Speed
  • Fees
3.8

Summary

While the Coinbase Card makes spending your cryptocurrency quick and easy, it isn’t the cheapest way of spending your cryptocurrency with a debit card in the UK. You’ll be charged an issuance fee of £4.95, a cryptocurrency exchange fee of 2.49%, and additional transaction fees outside the UK.

I’d recommend you check out cheaper alternatives like Wirex instead.

Coinbase announced their cryptocurrency debit card, dubbed ‘Coinbase Card’, on 11 April 2019. It’s now available to all residents in the United Kingdom.

But how does it work? And how does it compare to alternatives?

Find out my experience with it in this Coinbase Card review.

Advantages & Disadvantages

Advantages

  • Makes it quick and easy to spend cryptocurrency anywhere
  • Seamlessly connects to your Coinbase crypto wallets

Disadvantages

What is Coinbase Card?

Coinbase Card is a Visa debit card which is connected to your Coinbase account. It allows you to spend any cryptocurrency which is stored in your Coinbase account.

You don’t need to keep your balance in GBP for this to work. Coinbase will automatically convert your preferred cryptocurrency on-demand to cover your purchases.

You can currently buy things in-store and online using bitcoin (BTC), ethereum (ETH), litecoin (LTC), or bitcoin cash (BCH) that you have stored in your online Coinbase account.

Full list of cryptocurrencies supported on Coinbase

You can currently only spend from your bitcoin (BTC), ethereum (ETH), litecoin (LTC), and bitcoin cash (BCH) wallet balances (held on Coinbase) with the Coinbase Card.

Coinbase currently supports the following cryptocurrencies:

  • Bitcoin (BTC)
  • Ethereum (ETH)
  • Litecoin (LTC)
  • Ethereum Classic (ETC)
  • Bitcoin Cash (BCH)
  • Ripple (XRP)
  • 0x (ZRX)
  • Basic Attention Token (BAT)
  • Zcash (ZEC)
  • Augus (REP)
  • Stellar (XLM)
  • USD Coin (USDC)

In their own words…”[Coinbase Card] lets customers in the UK spend crypto as effortlessly as the money in their bank”

Here are some other features:

  • Contactless
  • Instant card freeze (through the app).
  • Track your spending (with summaries and receipts).
  • Instantly pushes a notification whenever your card is used.

Coinbase Card: Getting Started

Want a Coinbase Card? You’ll need to setup a Coinbase account first.

If you don’t already have a Coinbase account, signup through this link to get a £7 bonus when you make your first £100 purchase.

Coinbase supports more and more cryptocurrencies and is one of the cheapest and easiest ways to buy bitcoin (BTC) in the UK with a bank transfer.

It’s a no brainer. Get Started Now.

Before you begin, make sure that:

To get started, head over to the Coinbase Card website and download the app.

Once you’ve installed the app, you’ll have to verify your phone number and connect the app to your Coinbase account before you can order your Coinbase Card.

Once you’ve ordered it, it should be with you in 5-7 business days. When it arrives, you just need to load-up the Coinbase Card app and select ‘Enable physical card!’ at the top.

To change the cryptocurrency converted on-demand when you make a purchase with the Coinbase Card, just click the highlighted symbol in the Coinbase Card app and pick your preferred cryptocurrency wallet.

Tap the card in the Coinbase Card app and you’ll be taken to a settings screen.

As you can see below, you can:

  • Get your PIN code
  • Show card details (requires fingerprint configuration on phone)
  • Freeze card
  • Report card lost or stolen
  • Get help (via phone and email)

I’ve made a few online transactions with my Coinbase Card without any issue.

When you make the purchase, you’ll receive a push notification on your phone and show a summary of the purchase in the Coinbase Card app.

One purchase I made on Amazon didn’t immediately appear, but the others I made did.

Supported Countries

Coinbase Card is only available to residents in the United Kingdom at the moment.

Coinbase Card Fees

I’ve picked out the most important fees below.

For more details, check out the Coinbase Card FAQ.

FeesAmount
Card Issuance Fee£4.95
ATM Withdrawal Fee (Domestic)Free (up to £200/month)
1% (any amount over £200/month)
ATM Withdrawal Fee (International)Free (up to £200/month)
2% (any amount over £200/month)
Transaction Fee (Domestic)Free
Transaction Fee (Inside EU)0.2%
Transaction Fee (International)3%
Crypto Liquidation Fee2.49%

Spending Limits

These are the spending limits I’ve picked out.

LimitAmount
Daily Spending Limit£10,000
Monthly Purchase Limit£20,000
Yearly Purchase Limit£50,000
Daily ATM Withdrawal Limit£500

Coinbase Card: Things To Know

Do you have to order a physical Coinbase Card to use the virtual card?

You won’t be issued with the virtual card details until you order a physical card.

Where is Coinbase Card accepted?

Coinbase Card should be accepted everywhere that a normal Visa debit card is accepted (in the UK and internationally). I didn’t have any problems when I tested it in a few shops (in-store and online).

When shopping in some places, your card might initially get charged more than you expect.

I reached out to Coinbase for some clarity on this. This happens when merchants (at the time you make the payment) don’t know the final bill. To ensure you can cover the transaction cost, these merchants will hold a larger amount.

How are refunds treated?

If you refund a purchase, you will receive a refund directly to your cryptocurrency balance which is “calculated using the fiat currency value of the transaction at the prevailing exchange rate”.

In other words? You might not receive an equivalent amount of cryptocurrency back if you make a refund and the GPB-to-crypto exchange rate has changed. However, you will receive an equivalent amount back (valued in GBP).

What about chargebacks?

You’ll have to pay a £20 fee to process a chargeback (which sucks). As noted above, you’re also refunded the fiat value of the purchase – not the original cryptocurrency amount you spent.

Other things to know...

No PIN code is required to access the app on your phone, but you can’t see card details on your phone unless you have a fingerprint scan stored on your phone.

Alternatives: Coinbase Card vs Wirex

Wirex (Dark Green) Full Logo

In the United Kingdom, Wirex is the leading crypto debit card which is available.

Like the Coinbase Card, you can spend any cryptocurrency stored in your Wirex account with a Visa debit card – in the UK, but also internationally.

Here’s a quick comparison of them both.

Coinbase CardWirex
Card Issuance Fee£4.95Free
Account Management FeeFree£1/month
Crypto Exchange Fees2.49%0.5%
ATM Withdrawal FeeFree (up to £200/month)
1% (any amount over £200/month)
£1.75 (up to £250/day)
Cashback0%0.5% (paid in BTC)

Having tested both, I prefer Wirex.

Learn more in my full Wirex review.

Summary: Best Bitcoin Debit Card?

I was thrilled to hear about the Coinbase Card. We don’t have many great bitcoin debit cards, so I was excited to test it out.

And while it makes spending your cryptocurrency quick and easy, it isn’t the cheapest option. Every single time you make a purchase in the UK, you’ll be charged 2.49% in cryptocurrency exchange fees.

That really sucks.

As highlighted above, Wirex provides wholesale cryptocurrency exchange rates (with no fees). Whenever I’ve bought or traded cryptocurrency with Wirex, I’ve paid no more than 0.5% above the real crypto-to-fiat exchange rate.

If you’re desperate for a crypto debit card, I’d check them out first. They’re not perfect, but they are cheaper (and I’ve personally never had any problems with them).

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