Imagine you’re in a real store or online and you have one card at your disposal. But you have the choice of shifting from standard revolving credit or virtual currencies, such as bitcoin.
One San Francisco-based start-up, Shift Payments, is betting that this scenario will unfold in the very near future. The company is beta testing 100 cards with friends and family members. Anybody can sign up on the company’s website for the possibility of joining a bigger beta group.
“Spend digital currencies, loyalty points, and regular money – all with the Shift debit card. View your accounts and switch your spending source with the companion mobile app,” says the Shift Payments site.
Shift Payments allows users to make purchases via Coinbase — the well-established Silicon Valley bitcoin exchange and wallet —and Ripple, a digital payment platform that works with both real and digital currencies.
The “shifting” card does not link to standard bank or credit accounts — only bitcoin accounts at this time, co-founder Meg Nakamura told CNBC.com. But their goal is to convince the big banks of the viability of the shifting payment card model.
“We are having conversations with U.S. banks to see if we can get them comfortable,” Nakamura told CNBC. “They are very, very interested. It’s just a timing issue. So we are building out the product with the partners we have right now.”