The exchange now allows cryptocurrency purchases via VISA or Mastercard debit cards added to Apple Pay, and plans to do the same for Google Pay. Apple and Coinbase are now working together for the benefit of cryptocurrency adoption, which was far from a foregone conclusion given recent history.
Bitcoin and altcoins with Apple Pay or Google Pay
On August 5, 2021, Coinbase announced in a statement the ability for its customers to purchase cryptocurrencies with Visa or Mastercard debit cards linked to Apple Pay:
“If you already have a Visa or Mastercard debit card linked to your Apple Wallet, Apple Pay will automatically appear as a payment method when you purchase cryptocurrencies with Coinbase on an iOS device or Safari web browser that supports Apple Pay.”
This same option will be available for this fall for cards linked to Google Pay. Coinbase is catching up with competitor Gemini, which introduced cryptocurrency purchases via Apple Pay and Google Pay in April 2021. Coinbase had announced in June 2021 that its Coinbase Visa card could be linked to Apple Pay and Google Pay. Therefore, this card is no longer required to benefit from these additional payment options.
Customers of the exchange can also acquire cryptocurrencies using their debit cards, funds in their Coinbase USD wallets, via bank transfer or ACH.
In addition to these new payment methods, Coinbase also becomes the first cryptocurrency exchange to allow its U.S. customers instant withdrawals of up to $100,000 per transaction, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, via Real-time payments (RTP). By comparison, an ACH transfer can take up to 5 days. However, this service is only available to Coinbase users whose financial institutions participate in the RTP network. Customers must also have their accounts activated to receive RTP payments.
A nice revenge for Coinbase
Apple’s interest in cryptocurrencies dates back to at least 2019. At the time, Apple Pay vice president Jennifer Bailey said Apple was “keeping an eye on cryptocurrencies.” Apple CEO Tim Cook, however, stressed that his company had no plans to launch its own cryptocurrency.
In May 2021, an Apple job posting for a business development manager specializing in alternative payments was seen as a harbinger of Apple Pay’s “deeper” immersion in the cryptosphere.
Apple was far from being a crypto-friendly company, however. It had excluded crypto wallets from and Coinbase’s app from the App Store, back in 2013. The exchange’s CEO, Brian Armstrong, had then taken this decision of the Apple crooked badly, an action that could not be justified by pressure from US regulators.
Payment methods like Apple Pay and Google Pay are a necessary bridge between the old fiat currency system, and cryptocurrencies. When will the final switch to the latter be made? Coinbase continues to work towards the adoption of cryptocurrencies. It has also funded a study showing an increased interest in crypto-currencies among the British, and not just for speculation.