CoinJar Launches Bitcoin Debit Card Trial

Jon Southurst
Sep 18, 2014 at 12:00 UTC
Updated Sep 19, 2014 at 04:37 UTC

CoinJar Swipe card

CoinJar is set to begin a national trial of a bitcoin-to-debit card system called Swipe, which can be used to pay at any store that accepts electronic payments and to withdraw cash at some ATMs.

The Australia-based exchange and payment processor’s debit cards will work on the country’s electronic funds transfer at point of sale (EFTPOS) network, which is supported by all major banks and has 826,769 payment terminals nationwide.

“CoinJar Swipe is our way of making bitcoin accessible to everyone,” Asher Tan, CEO of CoinJar, told CoinDesk, adding:

“Swipe lets CoinJar customers spend their bitcoin at any retail outlet that accepts EFTPOS, or withdraw cash from EFTPOS-compatible ATMs. It’s all part of CoinJar’s plan to build a simple, usable bitcoin ecosystem.”

According to the Australian Payments Clearing Association (APCA), over 17 million transactions take place via the country’s ATM and EFTPOS terminal network per day.

Testing, testing

About 100 CoinJar users will participate in the trial over the next couple of weeks before the company makes the service available to its entire 30,000-strong user base.

Customers will load bitcoins manually onto their debit cards, which will be converted into Australian dollars and incur CoinJar’s standard 2% fee. There is no extra charge for using the EFTPOS feature.

The cards are planned to be issued by local company Emerchants.

Benefits of bitcoin

Tan said the card scheme was more about getting more people using bitcoin and understanding its benefits, and that CoinJar wasn’t expecting to make much of a profit from the project.

Those benefits included instant and almost free transfers from anywhere in the world (which could benefit freelance workers), to easy payments between individuals. Users can receive bitcoin, load the EFTPOS card and be out spending within minutes, Tan said.

CoinJar has processed about A$50m (US$44.8m) in transactions so far. The company also offers a bitcoin wallet and an iOS app. As well as updating the iOS app for iOS8, it will also launch a new app for Android in the near future.

Image via CoinJar