Shift Debit Card Review

The Shift cryptocurrency debit card has many attractive features. The most significant of these is that the card was the first Bitcoin debit card to be made available for US citizens. Many Bitcoin debit card companies do not serve the United States. This company has also partnered with Coinbase and Dwolla to allow individuals to link their debit card. As a result, users of Shift are able to spend cryptocurrency at more than 38 million merchants around the world. This includes merchants online and physical shops.


About Shift -

Shift began to raise capital for its venture in 2014. The company was seeded with more than $2 million USD to start. The faith of investors garnered he attention of Coinbase, one of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges in the world today. In 2015, Coinbase announced it would partner with Shift to make the card exclusively available to residents of the United States. The primary investments in the company came from CRMC Venture Capital, Kapor Capital, and Scrum Ventures. Shift has its headquarters in San Francisco, and being based in the United States is another plus.

Shift was founded by Meg Nakamura and Eugene Otto, both of who are experienced in finance and payment processing. These founders are able to apply their broad-reaching knowledge of finance to the world of digital assets.

Meg Nakamura graduated from Princeton and specializes in financial services to many important businesses such as eBay. Her company 3taps is a data management service which counts Indeed among its many clients. Nakamura also serves as an investor in Hard Yaka which provides seed money for carefully chosen businesses. Her expertise includes strategy and risk management.

Nakamura is joined by Eugene Otto, a graduate of the University of Virginia. Otto has a degree in computer engineering and as served as a lead developer on many projects. He helped to develop the popular Facebook game Foo Mojo, and Otto also assisted in the creation of Stack Social. He also has many years of experience in setting up e-commerce platforms and is a co-founder of NiceMetrics. This business facilitates P2P commerce for emerging markets. Eugene is the driving force behind the technical side of Shift.

We like that this company is transparent about its leadership, and Shift is led by individuals with the proper backgrounds to give the company legitimacy.

Services offered by Shift

Shift is unique in that it provides a Bitcoin debit card only for residents of the United States. It is very difficult for companies to offer cryptocurrency debit cards in the United States due to financial regulations. Most companies elect to evade the trouble of securing US approval and only serve overseas markets. What Shift has done is use the strong reputations of its founders to comply with US regulations and make it possible for them to spend with Bitcoin. This has created a boom for the company because no one else is currently able to fill this market void.

There are four states that are not eligible for Shift’s services: Connecticut, Georgia, Minnesota, and Hawaii. All other states are welcome to apply for and receive a Shift debit card. The card is also unavailable offshore.

Shift’s Bitcoin debit card functions just like a normal debit card that can be used to withdraw cash from ATM machines and also to make purchases online and offline. Any funds that are loaded onto the card are available for immediate use. The card is backed by Visa and can be used anywhere the Visa logo is displayed. It is possible for users to receive a plastic card or a virtual card that can be used for online purchases.

A big selling point for Shift is that their cards may be connected to a Coinbase or Dwolla account. There are some fees associated with loading the card using these services, but they are fairly nominal. Shift itself does not charge individuals any fee to load their debit card.

As one might expect, it is a requirement to provide personal information when applying for this card. This is mandated by US financial regulations to prevent money laundering. A Social Security number is required, and so is a home address. It will also be necessary to provide a date of birth and an address. Some individuals may be concerned about giving up their private information, but there is no need. Shift has servers that are secured with AES-256 encryption to protect private data. The website for the company has an SSL installed for additional protection, and employees do not have routine access to user information. All-in-all, Shift is one of the most secure platforms in the cryptocurrency debit card market.

Shift processes cards each business day. The cutoff time is 5PM EST for same day processing. Once a card has been processed, it takes about 5-7 business days for it to arrive in the mail. Activating the card is done in the same manner that regular debit cards are activated. A user can call a toll-free number for automated activation, or they can activate with a mobile app provided by the company. The default PIN associated with the card is the last four digits of the phone number used to register the account, but we aren’t sure why Shift makes this known. That seems like a potential security issue. At any rate, a user may change their PIN by using the mobile app or calling customer service. What users will find is that the process is very reminiscent of the one used for the debit cards they already have.

As mentioned, Shift has developed a mobile app for both Android and iOS devices which can be downloaded in the App Store or at Google Play. The app will notify users of transactions that have been made with their card, and it allows users to maintain 24/7 monitoring of their account.

Merchants have not been left out of the Shift platform, and this is another huge plus for the company. The company makes it possible for merchants to accept the debit card offline or online. Shift also offers tools for the merchant which include tracking the behavior of customers. Merchants even have the opportunity to brand their own physical and digital wallets. 

Loading a Shift Bitcoin Debit Card

There are several ways to load a Shift Bitcoin debit card. Users who have a Coinbase or Dwolla account can move funds right from those platforms, although there is a charge when doing so. It is also possible to make loads from bank accounts using the Shift platform. Shift does not charge users when they make loads through Shift.

Wirex Fees and Limits

It costs $10 USD to receive the Shift debit card. This fee is very low when compared to that of other providers. It is also noteworthy that Shift does not charge users a monthly maintenance fee. This can save individuals lots of money each year, and it may even be an incentive for users to replace existing pre-paid debit cards with one from Shift.

A minimal charge is placed for making withdrawals with a domestic ATM machine. These withdrawals cost $2.50 in addition to the fee charged by the ATM provider. For international ATM use, the fee is increased to $3.50. This is standard to account for the currency exchange rate.

Using the Shift card to make domestic purchases is completely free. This applies to both online and offline spending. Those who use the card to make international purchases will be charged a fee of 3% to compensate for currency exchange rates. 

Those who link their debit card to a Dwolla account can withdraw up to $500 USD from an ATM on a daily basis. Those with a Coinbase account can withdraw up to $200 USD. There is also a daily spending limit of $1,000 USD, but this can be temporarily increased if a user contacts customer service.

Shift Service and Support

It is possible to follow Shift on social media at:


The company does not yet have a strong social media platform but this can be expected to change in the near future.

Shift’s website was obviously designed by professionals, but this is to be expected given the technical expertise of its founders. The company also provides an API so that developers can integrate Shift payments into their own websites.

Shift provides customer service through a toll-free number that can be called at any hour of the day, and they also have support offered on their website platform. Users can submit a support ticket and expect to receive a reply in a short period of time. The customer service assistants are friendly and knowledgeable about the Shift platform.

Our View of Shift

We find many positives about Shift. To begin, it serves residents of the US and is one of the only companies to do so. Because Shift is exclusive to the US, they are also based in the states and offer English speaking support. Shift stands alone in this regard.

Partnerships with Coinbase and Dwolla also earn the company high marks. The Visa branding is to be applauded, and so is the reputation and expertise of the company’s founders. The card boasts low fees and is inexpensive to order. Many are anticipating when Shift will begin serving clients in other parts of the world.

We award Shift 4.75 of 5 stars on our cryptocurrency debit card rating scale.

Shift Pros

Charges no monthly maintenance fee
Shift does not charge for converting Bitcoin to USD
Users can link their account to Dwolla or Coinbase

Shift Cons

The company does not have a proprietary wallet
Not available outside the US
Plastic cards and virtual cards cost the same