Coinbase Card Drives Crypto Spending Via Google Pay, Apple Pay


Coinbase — the biggest U.S. cryptocurrency exchange — is supporting both Google Pay and Apple Pay with the Coinbase Visa debit card to facilitate the spending of cryptocurrency for everyday purchases and bill payments. 

“Mobile phone payments are growing steadily in the U.S., up 29 percent in 2020. Millions of people around the world use Apple Pay or Google Pay for everyday purchases, from grocery deliveries to pet supplies to home office goods,” according to a Coinbase blog post on Tuesday (June 1).

Users earn 4 percent back in crypto rewards when the Coinbase Card is used with Apple Pay or Google Pay. The debit Visa card is issued by MetaBank and powered by Marqeta.

“Using Coinbase Card with Apple Pay and Google Pay makes it even easier to spend and grow your crypto. This is just the beginning — we’ll continue to build more ways for you to maximize crypto rewards and easily use crypto in your everyday life,” according to the post.

When transferring crypto to the Coinbase Card, the funds are automatically converted from cryptocurrency to U.S. dollars, minus conversion fees. The company points out that when a user makes a purchase using the Coinbase Card (other than in USD Coin), it will usually result in a capital gain or loss.

The IRS classifies cryptocurrency as “property” for tax purposes, per Coinbase. Each time a person uses the Coinbase Card for purchases, it is similar to selling the cryptocurrency on the Coinbase exchange.

Coinbase launched the U.S. version of its debit Visa card in October 2020 with a waitlist. The card was also launched in nearly 30 other countries.

Coinbase partnered with PayPal in April to facilitate the buying and selling of cryptocurrency in the U.S. It plans to offer the new PayPal program to other countries in the coming months.

Joint research from PYMNTS and Bitpay showed that 12 percent of consumers — projected to be about 30 million — currently own one or more cryptocurrencies. Some 4.5 percent (11.5 million) have owned crypto in the past and 17 million non-owners indicated they would consider using cryptocurrency for making purchases.