Shift Debit Card Review

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Shift Card is the first bitcoin debit card that is available for US residents. Clients can connect their Coinbase or Dwalla accounts to the card which enables them to spend their cryptocurrencies online or offline at one of the 38 millions merchants worldwide.

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About Shift Card

Coinbase partnered with Shift payment in 2015 to launch the first bitcoin debit card on the US market. Shift has raised 2.2 million dollar in seed funding during 2014. The headquarter is in San Francisco, California. They have venture capital investment from CRMC Venture Capital, Kapor Capital and Scrum Ventures.

Shift cardThe founders, Meg Nakamura and Eugene Otto both has in depth experiences in financial services and payment systems.

Meg Nakamura is a Princeton graduate who has over 10 years experience in strategy and risk management regarding to financial services. She is an investment partner in Hard Yaka, a seed fund for innovative businesses. She is also a co-founder of 3taps, a data management service provider which has such clients as eBay and Indeed.

Eugene Otto graduated at the University of Virginia in Computer Engineering. He has been a lead developer and engineer at various startups during the past 10 years, including FooMojo, a top-ten Facebook game, Stack Social, an e-commerce platform and many more. He is also a co-founder of further startups such as NiceMetrics, which enables P2P commerce in new market places.

Shift Card on Social Media

Services Provided

Shifts provides bitcoin debit cards only for US residents. This is a unique service on the bitcoin debit cards market as due to regulations, there are many restrictions in the United States to provide financial services. Therefore many bitcoin debit cards bypass the US market and only offers services offshore for international clients only. Shift however have found this unique market gap and offers their services solely for US customers. In order to sign up for Shift’s services, clients must reside in one of the 46 US states they are listing in the FAQ section. Connecticut, Georgia, Minnesota, Hawaii however are excluded from Shift payment’s services at this point along with the countries in the rest of the world.

Shift mobile app

The Shift bitcoin debit card can be used just like any other debit card. Once the associated account it loaded with funds, users can spend the amounts immediately. The VISA issued card is completely secure and can be used anywhere where VISA cards are accepted. Both virtual and physical bitcoin debit cards are available at Shift Payments.

The Shift cards can be connected either to a Coinbase or to a Dwalla account. Users are required to pay any necessary fees associated with wallet top ups at the respective providers. Otherwise however Shift does not charge any further fees on funding the debit card.

The daily spending limit is 1000 USD. In case users want to increase this limit they should contact Shift Support Team who can temporary increase the spending threshold. The ATM withdrawal is maximized at daily 500 USD for customers with Dwalla account and 200 USD for customers with Coinbase account.

Due to regulatory reasons, clients at Shift are only allowed to use the services after they provide personal information for AML and KYC processes. In order to sign up, customers must provide their Social Security Number, date of birth and home address. These information are securely stored on Shift’s servers as they are using bank level AES-256 encryption to protect the data stored. In addition, all the traffic of the Shift website is routed through SSL to prevent third parties to access the connection. Access of employees to private data is also heavily restricted.
Shift Immediate AccessThe Shift card arrives in about 5-7 business day after the order is placed. Cards are posted every business day around 5PM EST, therefore if the client ordered after the cutoff time they can expect the shipping to happen only next day. Up on receipt of the Shift card, users can activate it from the mobile application directly or by calling the Help Desk. The PIN number is set default to the last 4 digit of the phone number provided at registration. This again can be changed by calling the Help Desk.

Shift has been thinking of the smart phone users and created mobile apps for both Android and iOS clients. In order to increase security, all transactions show up as notifications on the applications, so users can be always on the top of their finances.

For merchants, Shift provides complete payment services. Beside accepting the debit card at their shops, merchants can track customer spending behavior through their detailed statistics. In order to increase brand stickiness, the physical and digital wallets can be also marked with their products.

Shift API for developers

Fees and Pricing Schedule

Shift more data for merchantsThe Shift card costs 10 USD at issuance and unlike other bitcoin debit card providers, they do not charge any monthly or annual maintenance fees.

The ATM withdrawals are priced similarly to the other providers on the market. Domestic cash withdrawals costs 2.50 USD, international ATM withdrawals is 3.50 USD. ATM operators can charge additional fees depending on the machine.

Purchasing online or offline on the US market is free of charge, for international transactions there is an additional 3% currency exchange fee applied.

Shift Card User Experience

Shift has a very neat and well structured website. All the information needed is available from couple of clicks, users do not need to wander around the site to find something. They also provide the API documentation for developers.

In case of any issues, clients can turn to the Hot Line that can be called free of charge or they can send emails to the support email address that are handled in a ticket system to make sure each queries are handled accordingly.

Overall Conclusion

Shift card opens the bitcoin debit card market to US residents. Their debit cards can be linked directly to Coinbase and Dwalla accounts enabling users to spend their cryptocurrencies in an easy and convenient way both domestically and internationally. The VISA issued bitcoin debit card is accepted at more the 38 million merchants worldwide. Their fee structure is transparent and reasonably low compared to market competitors. We are looking forward to it when will Shift open it’s services to the international audience as well.


  • no maintenance fee
  • no bitcoin conversion fee
  • ability to connect to Coinbase of Dwalla account


  • does no have it’s own wallet
  • only available for US residents
  • virtual card costs the same as physical card
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27 Total Ratings with 3.30/5 possible Rating Points. VPN Provider