Coinbase Card Review Pros, Cons and How It Compares

If you've been waiting for the perfect crypto debit card, look no further than the Coinbase Card. With tons of supported currencies, low fees, security measures, and wide availability, there's no better way to take control of your crypto

Dean Fankhauser5 min read
Coinbase

Our take

4 out of 5 stars

The Coinbase Card offers complete integration of the cryptoeconomy into our daily real-world transactions. And unlike most Visa debit cards, the Coinbase Card has no transaction fees or annual fee, offering the cheapest possible solution to spend your crypto.

Coinbase Card Review

With the rapid adoption of cryptocurrencies, integrating day-to-day financial life into the cryptoeconomy is imperative. Such integration would be geared towards facilitating seamless expenditure of crypto balances using a crypto debit card. To this end, Coinbase has partnered with Visa to develop a Coinbase debit Card that makes it as easy for users to spend their cryptos as they would fiat currency from their bank accounts.

What is the Coinbase Card?

The Coinbase Card is a Visa debit card allowing Coinbase customers to spend their crypto assets at any point of sale accepting Visa cards. The card holders can spend the crypto balance in their Coinbase wallets around the globe. This means you can use the Coinbase Visa Card for contactless payments or withdraw money from traditional ATMs.

Users can spend from any wallet that Coinbase supports for Visa card transactions, including BTC, ETH, LTC, BCH, BAT, REP, ZRX, and XLM. This effectively allows crypto traders to hold cryptos as investments and also spend them when needed without going through the tedious process of selling them in the spot market, then withdrawing fiat. You get to have your crypto cake and eat it, so to speak.

How does the Coinbase Card Work?

The Coinbase debit Card isn't really different from your traditional debit card. The only difference is that instead of spending fiat currency in your bank account, you will spend crypto in your Coinbase account. And since it's backed by Visa, you can use your Coinbase card globally for contactless payments at millions of points of sales and online checkouts where Visa is accepted. When you withdraw cash from an ATM, Coinbase converts cryptos from your Coinbase balance into fiat; this is the primary goal of a crypto debit card.

The card is currently available in 30 EU countries, the UK, and the US, excluding Hawaii. Eligible users can sign up for the Coinbase Card on the Coinbase Card app or the website. Note that no fees are charged for the application, and no credit checks are done. However, you must have a Coinbase account, complete KYC verification, and pay a card issuance fee of $4.95 for the physical card.

Once approved, you'll receive the physical Coinbase debit Card within ten business days. However, you can start using it online immediately as a virtual card after the approval since you'll be given all its details on the Coinbase Card app. It can also be integrated with Apple Pay or Google Pay to facilitate mobile payments.

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The Coinbase Card App

The Coinbase Card app is an intuitive mobile app offering the simplest way to manage your Coinbase Card – it's available for Android and iOS. You can use the digital card on the app for contactless payments at millions of points of sale globally where Visa is accepted.

You must activate the physical card via the Coinbase Card app or website when you receive it. Simply log in, and you'll be prompted to activate your card. This is where you set and change your card's PIN, choose which Coinbase wallet funds your card, and monitor your transactions. You can also adjust your card settings here, make direct purchases and payments from the Coinbase Card app, deactivate your card if you lose it, or temporarily lock it.

Coinbase Card activation

Once approved for the Coinbase Card, you can start using it immediately for online transactions. However, it takes up to 10 days to receive the physical card, which you must activate before using. You can activate your Coinbase Card by yourself through the Coinbase Card App, your Coinbase account. Simply sign in to your account, go to the Coinbase Card section, and follow the prompt to activate it.

If you encounter any issues while activating the card, contact your local Coinbase customer support. Also, if you want to deactivate your Coinbase Card, you can contact customer support.

Apple Pay

You can add your Coinbase Card to Apple Pay and use it to make contactless payments. Once approved for the card, you can immediately connect it with Apple Pay and start spending without waiting for the physical card. More so, even after receiving your physical card, you don't have to carry it around since you can continue making contactless payments through Apple Pay.

You can integrate your Coinbase Card with Apple Pay directly from the Coinbase App or Apple Wallet app.

Google Pay

Like Apple Pay, you can integrate your Coinbase Card with Google Pay immediately after you're approved for the card. For contactless payments, Google Pay uses Near Field Communication (NFC), eliminating the need for PINs, chips, or magnetic strips.

To add your Coinbase Card to Google Pay, simply select the "payment" tab in the Google Pay app, then proceed to add your Coinbase Card as a payment method. Once set up, you can use fingerprint ID, wallet PIN, or facial recognition to authorize payments from your Coinbase Card.

Coinbase Card Fees

Previously, one would have to contend with exorbitant network fees when transferring cryptos directly to the wallets of merchants. More so, some of the crypto debit cards tend to charge fees for every transaction, making them just as costly. With the Coinbase Card, users aren't charged any transaction fees. There are no monthly or annual fees charged on the card.

ATM withdrawals with the Coinbase debit Card are free for up to $200, after which they attract a 1% fee for domestic withdrawals and 2% for international withdrawals. Other fees include a foreign transaction fees of 3.00% of the purchase value and a 2.49% liquidation fee. All users have to pay a $4.95 card issuance fee for the physical Coinbase Card and any subsequent replacements.

And given the inherent volatility of cryptocurrencies, there might be slippage between the time you review the transaction and when the transaction is completed. That is why Coinbase factors in the spread when converting the crypto in your wallet to fiat to settle the transaction. Note that the spread doesn't apply when spending from your USD Coinbase account or USDC wallet.

Conversion fee

Since Coinbase Card is a debit card, it means you're spending the cryptos in your Coinbase wallet at points of purchase. When you withdraw cash from ATMs or purchase with your card, Coinbase converts cryptos from your Coinbase balance into fiat, which attracts a fee.

The conversion fee incurred when transacting with your Coinbase Card is 2.49% of the total transaction. This fee is also called the liquidation fee.

Waitlist

Coinbase has a first-come-first-served waitlist, where eligible users sign up for the card and wait to be notified when approved. In some cases, users had to wait for months. However, Coinbase intends to remove the waitlist as of spring 2022. This will allow eligible users to sign up and instantly be approved for the card.

Supported countries

For now, Coinbase Card is only available in the UK, select EU countries, and for US residents, excluding Hawaii. These are the eligible EU countries Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and the UK.

Taxes

There's a tax implication for US users when spending cryptos since selling cryptos is a taxable transaction. Cryptocurrencies are classified as property for capital gains tax purposes by the IRS. Typically, when you transact with your Coinbase Card from your crypto wallet, it involves selling your cryptos for fiat, making the transaction a taxable event. This means you'll be required to report the realized gains or losses in the tax return. However, you won't have to pay taxes when you connect your card to your USD Coinbase account or USD coin crypto account.

Purchase limit

The Coinbase Card has a daily purchase limit of $10,000 and $1000 for ATM withdrawals for US clients and £500 / €500 for EU and UK clients. The monthly purchase limit is $20,000, and $100,000 for yearly limits. You can contact Coinbase support if you'd prefer to increase your Visa debit card limit.

Customer service

Coinbase Card users enjoy 24/7 customer support via a dedicated email and local and international phone support. To contact support, simply sign in to your Coinbase App, go to 'card setting,' then 'Call Support.'

ATM withdrawal

Coinbase card users can withdraw their crypto balances as fiat money from any Visa-compatible ATM. ATM withdrawals with the Coinbase debit Card are free for up to $200, after which they attract a 1% fee for domestic withdrawals and 2% for international withdrawals. ATM withdrawals have a daily limit of $1000 for US residents and £500 / €500 for UK and EU residents, respectively.

The ATM terminals charge the fees incurred in ATM withdrawals since Coinbase doesn't charge fees for ATM withdrawals.

Advantages of the Coinbase Card

Admittedly, there are other crypto debit cards, but the Coinbase Card stands out from the pack. Here's why:

Ease of Use

The biggest advantage of the Coinbase Card is its ease of use. Previously, users would have to send cryptos directly to merchant's wallets, a transaction that would take ages to be processed depending on the network congestion. However, with the Coinbase Card, transactions are instant. Funding your card is also easy – Coinbase allows crypto purchases via traditional bank cards. It also plans to introduce a feature allowing cardholders to receive their paychecks in fiat or crypto, directly debited to their CB card.

You can immediately start using it as a virtual card when you are approved for the card. Simply use the Coinbase app to activate it, and you're good to go. You can also contact Coinbase customer service or use your country's automated phone support to activate the card or for an instant card freeze if it's lost or compromised. It's also easy to select and change which wallet to use to fund your expenditure. For whatever reason, you can seamlessly switch between different wallets. For example, if you're a US resident and you want to reduce your tax obligations, you can switch from using your bitcoin cash to USD Coin wallet to fund the card.

Coinbase Card Rewards

The Coinbase Card has a crypto rewards program that allows users to earn crypto rewards helping them save money on every transaction they make using the card. These rewards are usually in-kind; if you spend BTC, you'll receive your rewards in BTC, but you can also diversify by choosing rotating rewards. The more transactions made with the card; the more crypto rewards are earned.

For now, only US residents can earn rewards from transacting with their Coinbase debit Cards. And since it's an optional feature, you'll have to log into the app and select your preferred reward offer. Coinbase offers up to 4% back for every transaction. Typically, the rewards are issued about 1 – 5 days after the transaction has been completed. However, if the merchant refunds your debit card transaction, the free crypto earned from that particular transaction are cancelled.

Safe and Secure

Coinbase implements world-class security to keep your data and cryptocurrencies secure. Its servers use high-grade AES-256 encryption to secure user passwords and OAuth tokens, while SSL encryption is used for data transmission. More so, 98% of user funds are stored in cold storage. And when it comes to user data, it strongly adheres to the GDPR and the Data Protection Act 2018.

As a centralized crypto exchange, Coinbase also adheres to strict e-money compliance and money transmission regulations from top financial regulators. They include the UK Financial Conduct Authority and FinCEN in the US. It's also bound by the states' money transmission laws, the USA Patriot Act, and the Bank Secrecy Act.

The Coinbase Card is secured with a PIN, required for every transaction, and a two-step verification for online transactions. It also comes equipped with an instant card freeze feature to immediately block your card if you lose it or if it's compromised.

Coinbase Card vs. Crypto.com Card

Although both the Coinbase Card and Crypto.com Card are crypto Visa cards, the Coinbase Card is a debit card, while the Crypto.com Card is a prepaid card. A debit card is directly linked to an account which means you'll be spending funds from your account – the same way Coinbase Card is linked to your Coinbase account. On the other hand, a prepaid card isn't linked to an account and is funded directly using cryptos or other bank cards.

A glaring difference between the two cards is that Crypto.com Card is a tiered card with five tiers offering varying CRO rewards. Generally, the CRO Card offers higher cashback rewards than the Coinbase Card. And other than cashback rewards, it offers rewards such as free subscriptions to Netflix, Spotify, and Amazon Prime. Crypto.com Card is also available globally. Any crypto.com user is eligible for the Crypto.com Card with no geographical restrictions, unlike the Coinbase Card, which is only available in the US and some European countries.

Read the full comparison: Coinbase Card vs CRO Visa Card: Which Crypto Card Is Better?

Coinbase Card vs Nexo Card

Coinbase Card is a Visa debit card, while the Nexo Card is a credit MasterCard. Unlike the Coinbase Card, which allows you only to spend the cryptos in your account, the Nexo Card is tied to your Nexo's Instant Crypto Credit Lines. This means you simply use your cryptos as collateral to borrow funds to spend on the Nexo Card without the need to sell your holdings.

While both cards charge zero maintenance fee, Nexo Card offers lower rewards in four tiers, from 0.5% to 2% on all transactions paid in NEXO or 0.1% to 0.5% in BTC. The Coinbase Card offers up to 4% cashback paid out in eight different cryptos. And although using the Nexo Card has no tax implications like with the Coinbase Card, users have to contend with the cost of credit of up to 13.9% APR.

Pros

  • Contactless payments from the Coinbase Card App, Apple Pay, and Google Pay
  • Generous cash back reward – up to 4% per transaction
  • Supports multiple crypto wallets
  • Easy to switch between the funding wallets
  • 24/7 dedicated customer support

Cons

  • It's not available globally
  • The higher crypto conversion fee of 2.49%

Compare with the best crypto debit card alternatives

ProviderProcessorRewards
Coinbase
VisaUp to 4% XLM, 1% BTC
Crypto.com
Visa1–5% CRO, free Spotify & Netflix
Wirex
Visa / Mastercard0.5%–1.5% BTC
Binance
VisaUp to 8% BNB
Uphold
Mastercard2% crypto, 1% cash

The Bottom Line

The Coinbase Card offers complete integration of the cryptoeconomy into our daily real-world transactions. And unlike most Visa debit cards, the Coinbase Card has no transaction fees or annual fee, offering the cheapest possible solution to spend your crypto. It streamlines the process of direct crypto transactions by eliminating the inconvenience of having to convert your crypto balance into fiat and withdrawing from your wallet. Your crypto balance is as good as money in the bank. With this Coinbase Card review, we've discussed how the card works, its crypto rewards program, and the advantages of using the debit card.

FAQs

Does Coinbase have a credit card?

No, Coinbase only has a Visa debit card – the Coinbase Card. It allows you to spend your crypto balance on contactless payments and purchases and withdraw cash from ATMs.

What is the delivery time for a Coinbase Card?

You'll receive the physical card within 10 days after you're approved. However, you can start using the virtual card for contactless payments, and connect with Apple Pay and Google Pay, while you wait for the physical delivery.

What is the monthly limit?

The monthly limit for the Coinbase Card is $20,000

Does the Coinbase Card have an overdraft?

No, Coinbase Card doesn't have an overdraft facility. You only spend what you have in your Coinbase wallet.

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