Want to pay for your morning coffee with Bitcoin, but don’t want to carry a Bitcoin debit card?
Soon you will be able to with Canadian startup Shake Labs, Inc. releasing an alpha test of its new Near Field Communication (NFC) payment solution that allows users to pay for everyday items using Bitcoin and their mobile phones.
The service itself creates a virtual credit card to make the payment at any point of sale (POS) terminal that supports NFC payments over the Visa network, and there are no fees when the transaction takes place; the service does have fees, however, with a 1 percent Bitcoin-to-fiat currency exchange fee, which is shared before loading any money on the card, and a 3 percent fee when a card is used to make a purchase in a foreign currency.
The cards have a limit of $2,500 in transactions a day, or $10,000 when the user sends documentation to Shake confirming their identities, and the cards can be topped up twice, or five times a day respectively.
If the product sounds familiar that’s because NFC payment platforms have become all the rage over the last two years with products being released by Apple, Inc. (Apple Pay), Samsung Electronic Co. Ltd. (Samsung Pay), and naturally Google, Inc. with Android Pay.
There have been mixed reports about how well these services have taken off, particularly given issues with NFC payment support at the point of sale, but there’s little doubt going forward that this method of payment is the future.
On the face of it, particularly given it is not currently available in general release, what Shift is offering appears to be solid.
The product, once released, will definitely appeal to Bitcoin users who are looking for a new way to spend their coins, and given the low fees involved may even appeal to a wider audience who are looking for bank-independent, low-cost payment solutions on their mobile phones.
Shake is only available for Android phones due to NFC on the iPhone being locked to third party apps; if you’re interested in joining the alpha test you can contact Shake at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit their website to register.