The large San Francisco-based crypto exchange Coinbase becomes Visa’s main member.
Coinbase said it was the “first pure crypto company” to be admitted as a principal member. The exchange called this development a “significant milestone in the general adoption of crypto as a true utility” and said it will allow for an improved customer experience and easier issuance of crypto in everyday situations.
Coinbase also explains that the membership will enable the exchange to offer more unspecified functionality to Coinbase Card customers, “from additional services to support in more markets”.
Forbes writes that the main membership of Coinbase was granted last December, but this does not mean that Visa itself will accept crypto currency. Coinbase says it has no plans to issue cards to others in the near future, and direct access to the Visa network gives the company more flexibility in the business models it pursues. In addition, the Coinbase Card fees could possibly be reduced as a result of the membership.
“What the card is trying to change is the attitude to crypto that it takes two days to access and can now actually be issued in real time,” Zeeshan Feroz, CEO of Coinbase UK, is quoted as saying.
Risk Management Company Chargeback Expertz explains that the Principal Members are the banks or financial institutions that are given the authority to act as an “issuing bank” and issue payment cards directly to other companies. This means that the intermediary is taken out of the equation.
Coinbase Card, a Visa debit card managed through the Coinbase Card app, was first introduced in the UK in April 2019. It is supported by the crypto-credits of the Coinbase accounts of the customers, who can use it to pay in shops and online. According to the Exchange, it is currently available to customers in 29 markets, who can use it to pay in 10 cryptos to “millions” of merchants. “More than half of the customers who have registered with Coinbase Card use it regularly,” writes its founder, “with usage peaking in the UK, closely followed by Italy, Spain and France.