Upgrade Launches Bitcoin Rewards Credit Card

Another Bitcoin-earning credit card isn’t just on the way — it’s already here. This week, Upgrade announced the launch of its new Bitcoin Rewards Credit Card.

The Upgrade Bitcoin Rewards Credit Card is essentially a crypto reskin of the FinTech’s Cash Rewards card, earning 1.5% back in rewards. However, these rewards aren’t earned upon purchase like with most traditional cards and are instead earned when purchases are paid off. Additionally, the card’s balance is paid off via a fixed-rate installment plan, which can help users save money on interest.

Unfortunately for crypto fans, the Bitcoin earned from the Upgrade Bitcoin Rewards card cannot be transferred to a separate wallet. Instead, Bitcoin will be held with NYDIG. Cardholders will simply be able to monitor their balance and can sell it to redeem the proceeds for a statement credit. What’s more, sales of Bitcoin are subject to a 1.5% transaction fee, which will be subtracted from the total statement credit assessed to your account. Also notable is that the Upgrade Bitcoin Rewards Credit Card is not currently available in Hawaii, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, or the District of Columbia.

While Upgrade’s press release bills its new offering as “the first generally available U.S. credit card to offer Bitcoin rewards,” there are a slew of such products currently rolling out or set to debut soon. Among them, the BlockFi credit card — which also offers 1.5% Bitcoin back on purchases among other perks — began its waitlisted release last month. Meanwhile, the upcoming Gemini Credit Card will earn up 3% back on dining, 2% back on groceries, and 1% back on everything else. These rewards are not only deposited in real-time but can also be awarded in Bitcoin or any of the other cryptocurrencies that the Gemini platform offers.

Commenting on the new product and Upgrade’s growing card line-up in general, Upgrade co-founder and CEO Renaud Laplanche stated, “Upgrade Card is already delivering over $3 billion in annualized credit to consumer. Starting today, anyone can apply for an Upgrade Bitcoin Rewards Card and enjoy the same affordable and responsible credit as with any Upgrade Card, plus the potential upside and fun of owning Bitcoin.” Elsewhere, Visa SVP and Global Head of FinTech Terry Angelos said of the card and the growing popularity of crypto-earning options, “Crypto rewards introduce cardholders to a new asset class that is increasingly part of a consumer’s financial portfolio. Whether you’re a crypto enthusiast or just getting started, programs like the Upgrade Bitcoin Rewards Card offer an engaging and low-risk way to participate in the crypto economy.”

All in all, the Upgrade Bitcoin Rewards card shows that not all crypto-earning credit cards are created equal. In this case, it seems as though the FinTech wanted to rush out a product to capitalize on the hype instead of creating a true Bitcoin-earning card that allowed consumers to actually take custody of their crypto. Of course, for those who are more interested in the short-term upside of Bitcoin and don’t mind not being able to take full ownership of their earned coins, Upgrade’s solution may be appealing. Otherwise, it may be worth waiting for one of the other upcoming options.


Jonathan Dyer

I'm a small town guy living in Los Angeles looking to make solid financial decisions. I write for a number of finance websites, including HuffingtonPost and Business2Community. I founded DyerNews.com in 2015 to focus on personal finance and the emerging FinTech markets.

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