Payments giant Visa has teamed up with Atlanta, Georgia-based Fold to launch a co-branded debit card that offers rewards in the form of bitcoin. The partnership was announced late last week, and is the fruit of Fold’s participation in Visa’s Fintech Fast Track program.
The new debit cards are expected to be available in July. Users will get up to 10% of their cash purchases credited in Bitcoin. What’s unique about Fold’s approach with the new card is that it enables users to earn Bitcoin while spending in dollars. As Fold CEO and co-founder Will Reeves explained, by spending in dollars and accumulating Bitcoin rather than spending it, users avoid the potential tax implications of selling the digital asset.
This new initiative extends Fold’s business beyond enabling shoppers to buy dollar-denominated gift cards from popular brands like Amazon, Uber, and Starbucks with Bitcoin. Made available on an “early access” basis last fall, the Fold app also gives consumers 20% cashback in bitcoin on all purchases, fiat or crypto.
“We’re changing the fact that rewards points are issued in the form of restricted airline miles, arbitrary points, or depreciating fiat, instead of the best performing asset of the last decade: bitcoin,” Reeves wrote on the company blog back in September. “But unlike existing rewards that require users to give up their privacy for points, Fold’s new app rewards users for shopping privately.”
The partnership is a second bite at the bitcoin apple for Visa. A year ago Visa and cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase introduced a Visa debit card in the U.K. The contactless card syncs with the user’s Coinbase account and, for a fee of approximately 2.5%, enables users to make purchases in fiat currency and have the responding amount of the cryptocurrency debited from whichever cryptocurrency account the users selects.
Fold was founded in 2014. The company has raised $3.3 million in funding, and includes Craft Ventures, CoinShares, Slow Ventures, Goldcrest Capital, and Fulgur Ventures among its investors.