Coinbase partner Shift, the company behind the Shift Card, which allows the exchange's users to spend bitcoin using a Visa debit card, is shutting down its card services on April 11, according to an email sent to cardholders. Though no future date was given in the announcement, the email does state that Shift plans to relaunch the program and issue cards in the near future.
Coinbase partnered with Shift back in November 2015. Customers are able to make purchases or cash withdrawals from ATMs using the Shift Card … anywhere Visa is accepted. The card takes the equivalent value of bitcoin based on the current spot price on Coinbase and removes the appropriate funds from the user's Coinbase bitcoin wallet. Shift Card users are held to a $1,000 daily spending limit, as well as an ATM withdrawal limit of $200.
Although the email was clear that customers can continue to use their card until the cutoff date, Shift did not provide a reason behind their decision to – at least temporarily – shut down their debit card service this April. However, the move does line up with a recent Wall Street Journal report that claims both Visa and Mastercard plan to increase certain existing transaction fees this April as well. As of right now, Coinbase does not charge any transaction fees when using the Shift Card, while Shift charges a three percent fee on international transactions, $2.50 per domestic cash withdrawal, and $3.50 per international cash withdrawal.
Despite this loss of service provided to its users, Coinbase has had a very busy February attempting to improve user experience and widen its features. Earlier this month, the cryptocurrency exchange announced that it would allow residents of the European Union, as well as those living in European Free Trade Association countries, to withdraw their fiat currency using PayPal. US residents were afforded the same ability in December 2018.
ETHNews also covered a slightly more controversial Coinbase feature added this month that allows users to back up encrypted version of their private key recovery phrases using Google Drive or iCloud. A day later, the exchange also began supporting withdrawal services for its users holding Bitcoin SV, though the coin remains unlisted on the exchange.