Coinjar Swipe Hands On

Icoinjar-swipe-cardWell it finally arrived in the mail tonight – my Coinjar Swipe card.  The first impression os a positive one. Standard EFTPOS card and a nice graphic on the front. (Although no pretty hologram…)

Before you ask – yes, I have changed the name etc – feel free to use the image though.

What you need to know

Ok – you need to have a Coinjar account. Once you have this and have the Swipe card account then you can move forward.  If you want to know how to get one, go to their website

There is some “nitty gritty” though.

The Coinjar Swipe is a “traditional” EFTPOS card.  Same as the basic cards you get from a bank – no tap-and-go facilities, just a magnetic stripe on the back of the card and a PIN with which to operate it.  I am certain that future generations of the card will have the now accepted NFC capabilities, but version 1 of the SWIPE card is about as simple as it gets.

But that’s all it needs to be…

The good

You now have in your hand a card which can convert your Bitcoins to Cash.  The card can be used at any ATM within Australia as well to get access to real cash. Not sure about using the card overseas, but time will tell I am certain.

To use the card, simply “Swipe” the card through the standard magnetic reader at your favourite EFTPOS accepting establishment, key in your PIN and voila, you have paid for your goods.

The card can also be used at ATMs throughout the land to get CASH straight from your Coinjar account.  Nothing comes for free though…

For full terms and conditions for the Coinjar Swipe card visit https://swipe.coinjar.com/pds.

The bad

So what are the catches?  There are a few that need to be mentioned.

1 – Transfers

Transfers to your card from your BTC account are limited to $500 per day.  For most people this is not an issue, but be aware of it as obviously if you intend to use the card far and wide, this could be an issue…

2 – ATM FEEs

Ah yes – the bane of the fiat currency network: ATM fees…  there are some.

When you use the card, fees do apply. Watch these.

The PDS “Part B” which you receive with your card states that the following fees apply:

ATM Cash Withdrawal

  • When using ATM not part of radiate network:  ATM Owners Fees
  • When using a rediATM: $2.00 rediATM Usage Fee

For “Other” transactions (e.g. declined or balance inquiry transaction)

  • When using ATM not part of radiate network:  ATM Owners Fees
  • When using a rediATM: $2.00 rediATM Usage Fee

3 – Time time time.

It can take up to 15 minutes for a transaction from your bitcoin account to appear on your Swipe Card balance. but again, in the grand scheme of things, perhaps this should sit in the “good” section.

4 – Third party involvement.

Coinjar had to engage the assistance of a third party to get the cards up and going.  The party here is Emerchants. The company is a holder of your funds.  Once the transfer between Coinjar and Emerchants takes place, your funds reside with Emerchants. Whilst this I don’t think is an issue, it is something of which you need to be aware.

The ugly

Account keeping fees are somewhat concerning as well.  There is an “inactivity fee” which essentially is a fee levied against the card account charged on the first day of each month after 180 days of inactivity.  This is $4 per month, and so is designed to drain your card account over time if you do not use it. If you do however use the card, it’s not going to be an issue.  It’s unclear as to whether there is a “negative” position where if you exhaust the cards funds and then leave it idle for 6 months you will start to be charged fees and this will take the card negative…

Be also aware that if you want to dispute a transaction on the card, then there is a $10 fee involved.  Not a deal breaker by any means, but there just the same.

That being said, given that most banks charge $5 per month for the same thing, perhaps it isn’t that bad after all, and of course you will use it.

Beware also that once you transfer from your Bitcoin to your Swipe card you CAN’T GET IT BACK!

There is no provision to transfer from your Swipe Card back to Bitcoin so remember that it is a one way transaction. No going back. Nada. Niet. Nein. Non. Iie. Bù.

Overall impression: thumbs up!

So – how will this work?  The same as a standard bank EFTPOS card, but it will leverage your BITCOIN balance.

The best way to think about it is that you now have in your hand a “prepaid EFTPOS card” which can link directly to your Bitcoin account, and pay in up to $500 per day.

That’s cool.

Yes there are some limitations, but you just have to live with those, and they are a hell of a lot better than the alternatives.

For anyone wanting to really see the power of Bitcoins and to leverage accessibility and liquidity, then the Coinjar Swipe system is for you.  It may eventually also do away with the need for individuals to act as Bitcoin conversion agents, but that seems to be a little way off.

If you can’t access it though, then hey, you can always resort to selling bitcoins for cash

Andrew.