USA residents have limited choice when it comes to using Bitcoin debit, or prepaid, cards. Shift and Bitpay are the two main providers that will let you transfer your Bitcoin to USD for ATM withdrawals and POS spending.
Both cards are not standalone products, but rather operate in close connection to the other platforms Shift works with Coinbase (see Coinbase review) and Dwolla, while the Bitpay card is an extension of the Bitpay payment gateway service.
The table below compares Shift card vs Bitpay and goes over the main aspects of cards usage. The information is taken from the official reference of both companies:
Shift vs Bitpay:
|Interface||Web, apps (iOS & Android)||Web, apps|
|Supported countries||US only||US only|
|Deposit methods||debit cards, bank, wire||ACH, Western union, Bitcoin, Bitpay|
|Deposit fees||free to Coinbase, except $10 wire transfer||$5 for ACH debit|
|Withdrawal methods||card, wire stransfer, bank||ACH withdrawals|
|Withdrawal fees||$25 – wire transfer from coinbase||$5 for ACH withdrawals|
|Account management fee||0||$5/mo for accounts inactive for 90+ days|
|Plastic card cost||$20.00||$250/day|
|Card load via wallet||free||free|
|Currency exchange||free BTC to USD exchange||3% to currencies abroad|
|ATM withdrawal fee||$2.50||$2 in the USA, $3 abroad|
|ATM limit||$200/day from Coinbase, $750/day from Dwolla||$3000 daily|
|POS purchase limit||$1000 daily||$10000 daily|
|POS transaction fees||Free, 3% outside of USA||Free, 3% outside of USA|
|Maximum card balance||No limit (Coinbase/Dwolla limits)||$25,000.00|
|Supported cryptocurrencies||BTC||BTC, BCH|
As we can see from the Shift vs Bitpay comparison, the Bitpay card offers higher spending and ATM withdrawal limits. If you need
Shift card, on the other hand, is a good option for USA Bitcoin investors that need to cash out some of their gains daily. Since Coinbase is de-facto the top Bitcoin investment platform in the US, getting a Shift card to liquidate some Bitcoin makes sense.
Bitpay is predominantly a payment gateway, and if you are using it to sell electronic goods or services it’s a must to have in order to cash out some of your profits. Similarly, the Shift card is tied to Dwolla which is also a payment processor (not Bitcoin-oriented as Bitpay though).
Neither Shift nor Bitpay offer any enticing cashback programs, like, for instance, Wirex or Revolut (see the Revolut vs Wirex comparison). In this regard the market for Bitcoin debit cards in the US is less rich than that in the EU/EEA.
Bitpay vs Shift Verdict:
If you need to cash out relatively small amounts of your Bitcoin profits or spend your Dwolla earnings – sign up to Coinbase to get your Shift card.
If you need to withdraw larger amounts of Bitcoin to cash or sell online using Bitpay – then Bitpay card is your choice.