Visa And BlockFi Launch 2% Bitcoin Rewards Credit Card

In this photo illustration a Visa logo is seen on a mobile...

Cryptocurrency services company BlockFi launched its first-ever crypto rewards credit card, in conjunction with Visa, to approved clients in the United States on Tuesday. BlockFi’s plans for a credit card were initially disclosed in December 2020 when the exchange released a waiting list for US-based clients, which is now over 400,000 people. BlockFi CEO Zac Prince expects everyone on the waitlist to receive their card around the end of July.

The new offering provides clients with a simple way to acquire bitcoin without having to pay fees or navigate the sometimes complicated onboarding processes at exchanges. BlockFi stands to benefit from utilizing the card as a customer acquisition tool as well as from the fees it will receive from money spent on the card.

“The crypto industry has come a long way since the first Bitcoin payment transaction 11 years ago,” Flori Marquez, Co-Founder and SVP of Operations at BlockFi said. “Today, nearly everyone knows about the important role crypto plays in reshaping the financial space, and our new credit card is set to be another game-changer. This card will make it easier than ever for people to earn Bitcoin back while making day-to-day purchases.”

Holders of BlockFi’s Rewards Visa Card will be able to earn 1.5% back in bitcoin on every purchase, with the payout increasing to 2% on every dollar spent over $50,000 annually. As an incentive to new users, they will receive a 3.5% bitcoin rewards rate for the first 90 days or until they receive $100 worth of bitcoin. The card also offers other benefits such as rebates on trading fees and comes with no annual fee or foreign transaction fees.

These rewards are competitive when compared to other traditional cards. For example, Bank of America’s Customized Cash Rewards credit card offers 3% cash back in one spending category of the customer’s choosing, 2% back automatically on grocery purchases and 1% back on all other purchases.

However, depending on an individual’s spending habits they could be outshone by Gemini, the crypto exchange headed up by the Winklevoss twins, when it launches its crypto rewards credit card this summer in partnership with Mastercard. While BlockFi only offers rewards in bitcoin for now, Gemini will give clients 3% back on dining purchases in any cryptocurrency offered on the exchange on purchases without annual fees or exchange fees. However, the rewards drop to 2% on groceries and 1% for all other purchases.

The launch of the BlockFi crypto rewards credit card also marks a new offering in Visa’s expanding crypto business. The electronic payments company has partnered with several crypto firms to offer Visa debit cards and supported over $1 billion worth of volume through crypto-linked cards in the first half of 2020, but the partnership with BlockFi will bring its first crypto rewards credit card. In 2021, Visa appeared on Forbes’ Blockchain 50 list after applying for over 150 blockchain-related patents and announcing an integration with US-dollar pegged stablecoin USDC.

Card users will receive a 1.5% cashback on an accrual basis for every transaction made through the card, which will then be converted to bitcoin and placed into a BlockFi account in a regular monthly cycle.

“Crypto rewards programs are a compelling way to engage consumers in the crypto economy,” Terry Angelos, SVP and Global Head of Fintech at Visa said. “We’re excited to see programs like the BlockFi Rewards Visa Card, which offer rewards that are relevant to the growing community of digital currency adopters.”

The move by BlockFi comes after PayPal Holdings Inc in October said it would allow customers to hold bitcoin and other virtual coins in its online wallet and shop using cryptocurrencies, a move which could help bitcoin and rival cryptocurrencies gain wider adoption as viable payment methods.

Bitcoin has surged about 160% this year, fueled by demand for riskier assets amid unprecedented fiscal and monetary stimulus, interest in assets perceived as resistant to inflation and expectations that cryptocurrencies will win mainstream acceptance.

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Source: Visa And BlockFi Launch 2% Bitcoin Rewards Credit Card



BlockFi is a New York City-based start-up cryptocurrency financial institution. It lends U.S. dollars against bitcoin and other cryptocurrency collateral, as well as accepting deposits of cryptocurrencies which pay interest to the depositor. BlockFi Co-Founder and CEO Zac Prince has a background both in consumer lending and start-ups.

In February 2018, BlockFi received a $1.55 million funding in a seed round from ConsenSys Ventures, SoFi and Kenetic Capital, among others. In July it secured another $50 million in funding from Michael Novogratz‘s Galaxy Digital Ventures


How Your Credit Card Information Is Stolen and What to Do About It

Your credit card information can be stolen right under your nose without the actual card leaving your possession. Unfortunately, most victims of this type of credit card theft don’t what’s happening until after their credit card account information has already been used. Often, fraudulent credit card charges are the first sign that credit card information has been stolen. Fortunately, there are a few steps you can take to clear your name and get your credit card accounts under control.

How Thieves Steal Credit Card Information

In many instances, thieves don’t steal your credit card information directly from you. Instead, they get it somewhere else in the credit card processing chain.

Hacking Into Other Businesses

Thieves can steal your information by breaching a company where you’ve used your credit card or a company that handles some aspect of credit card processing. Since data breaches target entire organizations, sometimes millions of consumers have their credit card information stolen, as was the case in the Equifax data breach of 2017.2


A credit card skimmer is a small device that captures your credit card information in another otherwise legitimate transaction. Thieves secretly place credit card skimmers over the credit card swipe at gas stations and ATMs and retrieve the information captured.

Installing Malware or Viruses

Hackers can design software that’s downloaded in email attachments or other software and sits on your computer, tablet, or smartphone undetected. In one instance, hackers take advantage of public Wi-Fi to trick people into installing malware disguised as a software update. The software monitors your keystrokes or takes screenshots of your page and sends the activity to the thief

Phishing Scams

Thieves set up traps to trick consumers into giving up credit card information. They do this by phone, by email, through fake websites, and sometimes even via text message. In one scam, for example, you may verify some personal information in a call that you think is from your credit card issuer’s fraud department, but it’s really from a scammer. It’s important that you only give out your credit card and other personal information only in transactions you can be sure are safe.6

Dumpster Diving

Throwing away documents or receipts that have your full credit card number printed puts you at risk of theft. Always shred these documents before tossing them in the trash. Unfortunately, you can’t control how businesses dispose of their records. If they fail to shred records that contain credit card information, the information is at risk of being stolen.

What Thieves Do With Your Credit Card Information

If a thief gets access to your credit card information, they can profit from it in a few different ways. All of them can make life more difficult for you. Thieves can use your credit card information to buy things over the internet. It’s much easier for them to do this if they also have your billing zip code and the security code from the back of your credit card.

Thieves may also sell your credit card information on the dark web—and the more information they have, the more it’s worth. For example, it may be sold for a higher price if the thief also has your name, address, date of birth, mother’s maiden name, and three-digit security code from your credit card.8

Thieves can also make legitimate-looking credit cards by programming your credit card information on a gift card or prepaid credit card. When the card is swiped, the transaction processes just like it would if you swiped your actual credit card.9

How to Know If Your Credit Card Information Has Been Stolen

This kind of credit card theft can go undetected for several months. It’s not like a physical credit card that you notice is missing. You likely won’t know until you notice unauthorized charges on your credit card account.

Don’t count on your bank to catch instances of credit card theft. Your credit card issuer may call you or freeze your account if they notice purchases outside your normal spending habits, but don’t take for granted that your bank will always notify you of potential fraud.

Monitor your credit card often and immediately report fraudulent purchases, regardless of the amount. It’s not enough to read through your transactions once a month when your credit card statement comes. Once a week is better, and daily or every other day will let you spot fraudulent purchases before the thief can do too much damage to your account. Some credit cards can send real-time transaction notifications to your smartphone.

Also pay attention to news regarding hacks and data breaches. News reports will often include the name of the store affected and the date or date range the data beach occurred. If you shopped during that time period, there’s a chance your credit card information was stolen.

What to Do If Your Credit Card Information is Stolen

It’s easy to know when your actual credit card has been stolen because your credit card is actually gone. It’s not as easy to know when your credit card information has been stolen. Often, you only notice signs that hint your credit card information has been stolen, like unauthorized purchases on your credit card.1

If you think you’ve been a victim of identity theft of any kind, including having your credit card information stolen, then you can visit The website, which was created by the Federal Trade Commission, will walk you through the steps you need to take to report it and recover.

Review your recent credit card transactions to see if there are any you didn’t make. Note the fraudulent charges you found. Even if you didn’t find any fraudulent charges, call your credit card issuer and let them know you think your credit card information has been stolen. Let your card issuer know of any transactions on your account that you didn’t authorize.

You have protection under the Fair Credit Billing Act and the Electronic Fund Transfer Act if your credit information is stolen. You’re not liable for any unauthorized charges so long as you report the loss before your credit card is used. You must report the transactions to your credit card issuer so they can investigate and remove them from your account.

The credit card issuer will cancel your old credit card account, remove the fraudulent transactions from your account, and send a new credit card and a new credit card number. Continue monitoring the transactions on your new credit card. Also shred any documents with your credit card information on them. As soon as you start using your credit card, the details are at risk of being stolen.

Keeping Your Credit Card Information Safe

If you use your credit card at all, anywhere, your information is at risk. Still, there are a number of things you can do to keep your credit card information safe. That includes using strong passwords, being cautious about where you use your credit card, always using secure websites, and avoiding storing your credit card details in your web browser.13

By LaToya Irby

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Visa Partners With Ethereum Digital-Dollar Startup That Raised $271 Million

Credit card giant Visa today announced it is connecting its global payments network of 60 million merchants to the U.S. Dollar Coin (USDC) developed by Circle Internet Financial on the ethereum blockchain. The digital currency is now valued at $2.9 billion.

While Visa itself won’t custody the digital currency, effective immediately, the partnership will see Circle working with Visa to help select Visa credit card issuers start integrating the USDC software into their platforms and send and receive USDC payments. Circle itself is also going through the same Fast Track program. In turn, businesses will eventually be able to send international USDC payments to any business supported by Visa, and after those funds are converted to the national currency, spend them anywhere that accepts Visa. 

After Circle itself graduates from Visa’s Fast Track program, likely sometime next year, Visa will issue a credit card that lets businesses send and receive USDC payments directly from any business using the card. “This will be the first corporate card that will allow businesses to be able to spend a balance of USDC,” says Visa head of crypto Cuy Sheffield. “And so we think that this will significantly increase the utility that USDC can have for Circle’s business clients.” 

The partnership, in conjunction with an earlier $40 million investment Visa led in a cryptocurrency startup for holding similar assets issued on a blockchain, a recent blockchain patent application for minting traditional currency on a blockchain, and an increasing amount of work directly with central banks, is the latest evidence that the credit card giant sees the technology first popularized by bitcoin as a crucial part of the future of money.

“We continue to think of Visa as a network of networks,” says Sheffield, a five-year veteran of Visa, who took over as head of crypto last June. “Blockchain networks and stablecoins, like USDC, are just additional networks. So we think that there’s a significant value that Visa can provide to our clients, enabling them to access them and enabling them to spend at our merchants.”

Leading up to the partnership, Visa had already onboarded 25 cryptocurrency wallet providers as part of its Fast Track program—including Fold and Cred— each of which can now pilot the USDC integration. Going forward, other cryptocurrency wallet providers like BlockFi, which yesterday announced it will launch its bitcoin rewards Visa next year, will be able to use USDC in the first quarter of 2021. 

Visa estimates that $120 trillion in payments annually are made using checks and instant wire transfers, costing as much as $50 each, regardless of the size of the transaction. Since USDC settles on the ethereum blockchain, transactions can close in a little a[s] 20 seconds and, importantly, can be done for nearly free, Visa believes its vast array of merchants could choose to use this nearly instant alternative form of payment. “We worked closely with digital currency wallets to issue Visa credentials,” says Sheffield. “And helping them receive USDC payouts can add additional value for them.”

Visa’s entrance into the digital dollars world is the culmination of two years of work at the credit card giant. At the core of Visa’s evolution is a new understanding of itself as a network of networks, according to Sheffield, some of which Visa owns, like Visa Net, and others it doesn’t, such as the Swift interbank payment network, local ACH networks and now USDC.

On the product side, Visa’s cryptocurrency work is largely focused on its Fast Track program for helping companies obtain credentials for issuing Visa credit cards. Most notably, in February 2020, Coinbase became the first cryptocurrency company to be granted principal membership status by Visa, meaning it can in turn issue cards to others. Relatively few of those companies are using crypto-assets like bitcoin, according to Visa’s global head of financial technology, Terry Angelos. While the majority of the crypto-plays consist of “tokenized versions of fiat,” similar to USDC, backed by traditional currency, issued on a blockchain and spendable via the card. 

On the research side, Visa’s work in the area is largely focused on investing in startups and filing patents. Last year, Visa made its first public investment in blockchain by coleading a $40 million Series B in digital currency infrastructure provider Anchorage, which builds technology for storing assets issued on a blockchain. Angelos compares the investment to Visa’s 2015 backing of e-commerce infrastructure provider Stripe, which could go public this year at a $36 billion valuation. While Anchorage is a much earlier-stage startup, founded in 2017, the firm has already developed a number of technological breakthroughs, including privacy-preserving technology called Zether, which JPMorgan used in its own cryptocurrency project.

Especially relevant to today’s news, Sheffield describes Anchorage’s cryptocurrency custody technology as a possibly crucial component for central banks looking to issue digital currencies (CBDCs). While stablecoins like USDC are backed by currency issued by a central bank, a CBDC would be issued directly by the central bank and could lead to a reimagining of traditional finance. While former JPMorgan exec Daniel Masters argues CBDCs could make commercial banks unnecessary, Sheffield says they’ll still have a place in the future of currency issued on blockchains. “We are actively working with commercial banks to help them understand and navigate transitions to digital currency based products.”

On a related note in March 2020, Visa’s research team applied for a patent for technology that could be used by central banks to issue any fiat currency, of which dollars, yen and renminbi are an example. At the time, a spokesperson indicated that the technology was as likely to be used for the creation of a new product, as it was to “protect” its existing businesses. Sheffield further clarified: “We are continuously exploring and filing patents for innovative technologies like digital currency and CBDC.”

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On their way to today’s announcement, both Visa and Circle have undergone a number of high-profile crypto-pivots. In October 2019, after making a huge bang by being a member of Facebook-founded Libra Association’s consortium of companies building a stablecoin backed by a basket of fiat currencies, Visa left the organization.

That same month, Circle, which has raised $271 million in venture capital, initiated a fire sale on two of its most valuable assets, starting with cryptocurrency exchange Poloniex, followed by Circle Invest in February 2020. Another product, Circle Pay, no longer lets customers buy or sell bitcoin or any other cryptocurrency and its once-vaunted OTC desk is closed. 

As all this was happening, the firm, whose full name is, tellingly, Circle Internet Financial, rebranded its home page with a focus exclusively on stablecoins and central bank digital currencies. Circle founder Jeremy Allaire, whose last company, online video site Brightcove, went public in 2012 and is now valued at $659 million, envisioned the company as a payment rail for the internet.

While his focus was initially on bitcoin, then other cryptocurrencies, USDC is built on top of ethereum, meaning tiny amounts of the cryptocurrency ether are used as “gas” to pay for the transactions. While the drastic changes to the business are notable, the underlying mission appears to have remained the same.

USDC was first minted in September 2018. Unlike bitcoin, it is backed 1:1 by U.S. dollars, which are audited by accounting firm Grant Thornton to ensure the actual amount of the asset in circulation is at least equal to the dollars backing the assets. While exchanges and marketplaces that directly accept USDC as payments (without Visa or another card provider) are responsible for their own AML-KYC compliance, reserves are governed by the nonprofit Centre Consortium founded by Visa principal member Coinbase and Circle, with other members forthcoming.

To help manage all this and open up membership to other companies, the consortium yesterday announced its first CEO, David Puth, the former leader of CLS Bank International, a similarly structured foreign exchange settlement consortium owned by 70 financial institutions.

The first use-case for stablecoins was as an on-ramp and off-ramp for bitcoin investors who wanted to enter or exit positions faster than traditional banks could do with dollars. USDC’s market cap, representing the total amount of dollars in circulation, has been rising with the price of bitcoin since March 2020, when bitcoin started an eight-month, 271% ascension to $19,134, according to CoinGecko. Over the same period, USDC has grown 525% to almost $3 billion today. While the first stablecoin, Tether, is still king with a market capitalization of $18 billion, a number of others are now also competing, including DAI at $1 billion and Binance USD at $662 million.

Then, this March, Circle started offering services to let businesses accept USDC as payment, similar to those that run on FedWire, Swift and ACH rails, starting at about $200 a month. But instead of taking up to three days to close, transactions denominated in USDC and other stablecoins close almost instantly. So far about 1,000 businesses including institutional traders, banks, neobanks, on-demand delivery companies and gaming companies have opened accounts. Allaire says he’s in talks with a number of financial institutions exploring USDC as a possible upgrade to their corporate treasuries.

In June 2020 Circle announced it would start issuing USDC on the faster Algorand blockchain, which settles on average in four seconds, as part of what it describes as a “multichain framework.” In rapid-fire succession the firm then announced the Stellar and Solana blockchains would also be used to issue USDC. Algorand and Solana issuances are already live, with Stellar issuances scheduled to be minted in Q1 2021. 

While onboarding to crypto trading markets was the first stablecoin-use case, things are evolving. In March 2020 USDC was approved as a form of collateral for loans issued using the MakerDAO protocol, the industry leader of a new financial category called DeFi, or “decentralized finance,” where services typically offered by banks, like lending, are offered via open-source software that allows individuals to directly connect. Of the $14.5 billion now locked in DeFi platforms according to data tracking site DeFi Pulse, nearly 20% are on Maker, with nearly half of that, or about $403 million worth, now in the form of USDC. 

Long before DeFi was called DeFi, though, it went by a different, more illuminative name: DAO, short for “Distributed Autonomous Organization.” After some early high-profile failures the concept was rebranded with the focus on finance. Even the name MakerDAO hearkens back to this earlier, if occasionally overshadowed vision for the future of organizations. Allaire describes that future as a world where everything from contractual agreements to the payment of taxes are built into plumbing that directly connects individuals and enterprises in a wide range of new kinds of business relationships. 

“Imagine a capital marketplace that is for anyone who needs capital, or anyone who needs to offer capital that has the same efficiency that Amazon has for e-commerce, the same efficiency that YouTube has for content, effectively, capital markets with the efficiency of the internet, which is essentially zero,” says Allaire. “And that will ultimately return trillions of dollars in value back to the economy, it will reduce costs for every business in the world, it will accelerate the way in which individuals can participate in commercial activity and commerce activity, in conducting their labor and interacting with businesses around the world.” Follow me on Twitter or LinkedIn. Send me a secure tip.

Michael del Castillo

 Michael del Castillo

I report on how blockchain and cryptocurrencies are being adopted by enterprises and the broader business community. My coverage includes the use of cryptocurrencies and extends to non-cryptocurrency applications of blockchain in finance, supply chain management, digital identity and a number of other use cases. Previously, I was a staff reporter at blockchain news site, CoinDesk, where I covered the increasing willingness of enterprises to explore how blockchain could make their work more efficient and in some cases, unnecessary. I have been covering blockchain since 2011, been published in the New Yorker, and been nationally syndicated by American City Business Journals. My work has been published in Blockchain in Financial Markets and Beyond by Risk Books and I am regularly cited in industry research reports. Since 2009 I’ve run Literary Manhattan, a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization dedicated to showing Manhattan’s rich literary heritage.



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Santander Salvages Wirecard’s Technology

Spanish-owned bank Santander has acquired the technology assets from disgraced payments firm Wirecard – but it’s not taking on legal liability for the collapsed business.

Wirecard caused enormous financial turmoil in the summer when an accountancy fraud led to the swift collapse of the firm. The knock-on effects saw millions of banking customers across Europe unable to access their money for days, as Wirecard provided payment processing for companies such as Pockit, Payoneer and many others.

Wirecard filed for insolvency in June after the accounting scandal came to light, and now the administrators have announced that Santander will pick up “several highly specialized technological assets” from the defunct company, as well as around 500 of Wirecard’s staff.

The technology and the staff will be subsumed into Santander’s Getnet business, which provides a range of payment and e-commerce solutions.

Santander is keen to stress that the deal does not leave the bank liable for Wirecard’s past misdemeanors. “The acquisition does not include Wirecard companies and Santander will not assume any legal liability relating to Wirecard AG and Wirecard Bank AG or its past actions,” Santander’s statement states.

The Wirecard Wreckage

The disposal of the technology to Santander may at least provide some small return for investors who lost their money in the Wirecard collapse. The deal is reported to be worth €100 million. However, Wirecard collapsed with €3.2 billion of debt on its books, which makes the technology proceeds a mere drop in the ocean. MORE FOR YOUCovid Vaccines Face Delays Due To Data-Spoiling HackersNaim Challenges The BBC With New And Higher-Quality Radio StationsWhy The New Macs Are So Short Of Memory

Wirecard’s creditors are expected to find out more details of the winding-down process this week, with the administrators having to deal with dozens of lawsuits from investors.

It was the suspension of Wirecard’s U.K. subsidiary, Wirecard Card Solutions (WCS), that prompted the banking crisis in the summer. The U.K.’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) suspended activity at WCS for several days until it was reassured customers’ money wasn’t being transferred out of the business, leaving millions of banking customers unable to access their funds.

WCS has since sold many of its card technology and other assets to Railsbank, although many of the banking services that previously used Wirecard have since moved to alternate payment providers or have set up such services themselves.

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Barry Collins

Barry Collins

I have been a technology writer and editor for more than 20 years. I was assistant editor of The Sunday Times’ technology section, editor of PC Pro magazine and have written for more than a dozen different publications and websites over the years. I’ve also appeared as a tech pundit on television and radio, including BBC Newsnight, the Chris Evans Show and ITN News at Ten. Hit me up if you’ve got a tech story that needs breaking at




By installing the ePOS App on a mobile device, you can handle all types of payments quickly and easily – from popular credit cards such as Visa or Mastercard, to cash or even alternative payment methods such as WeChat Pay and Alipay. Download it directly from the following link:… Wirecard’s ePOS SDK for iOS and Android:… Visit us: Join us on social: Twitter: LinkedIn:… Facebook:

If You Have a Chase Business Card You Could Earn Up To 50,000 Points on Shipping and Online Advertising Purchases


Thanks to a new promotion, select Chase business credit cards are offering 5x points on up to $10,000 in combined spending on shipping and advertising purchases made on social media and search engines through the end of October.

Eligible cards include the Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card, the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Performance Business Credit Card, and the United℠ Business Card.
Business owners who are able to max out this promotion with $10,000 in combined spending can earn up to 50,000 points or miles.

See Business Insider’s list of the best credit cards for small businesses »

All Chase business credit cards let you earn some form of rewards, ranging from flexible Chase Ultimate Rewards points to cash back, hotel points, or airline miles. Not only that, but Chase business cards also come with generous bonus offers and coverage that can save you money and protect your purchases.

Related: How to start a real estate business by investing of only 500$

Current Chase business credit card owners will also be happy to know about a new promotion that lets them earn 5x rewards on shipping and advertising purchases made on social media and search engines through October 31.

This promotion applies to up to $10,000 in combined spending in these categories, so you can earn up to 50,000 points or miles. It’s only available for existing cardholders and only applies to select cards, which we’ll outline below.

Which Chase business cards are eligible?

You don’t have to activate your card or do anything to qualify for these bonus points. All you have to do is use your eligible Chase business card for qualifying purchases through October 31, and you’ll see the bonus points post to your account.

Small business owners who are able to max out this promotion with $10,000 in advertising and shipping purchases through the end of October have the potential to earn 50,000 points or miles with the following credit cards:

Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card
Southwest Rapid Rewards® Performance Business Credit Card
Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Business Credit Card
United℠ Business Card

This Chase bonus points promotion also applies to the following cards, which are no longer available to new applicants:

Ink Business Plus Card
Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Business Credit Card
United Club Business Card

If you already have one of these Chase credit cards, you stand to earn up to 50,000 bonus points on social media advertising and shipping if you can max out this promotion with $10,000 in combined spending in these categories through the end of October.

If you don’t have a business credit card but you’re considering signing up for one, make sure to consider all the top options before you apply………

Read more: Business Insider


Plastic Powers On, Setting Payments Record In 2019, Raising Fears For Cash


Figures released today provide further evidence of the UK’s rapid transition to a cashless society, with debit and credit cards accounting for over half (51%) of all payments for the first time in 2019.

According to UK Finance, the trade body for financial institutions, debit cards were the most-used method with 17 billion payments, of which 7 billion were contactless. An estimated 98% of the adult population has a debit card.

Credit card use rose 7% in 2019 to 3.3 billion payments, of which 1.3 billion were contactless.

Cards over cash

The coronavirus pandemic has accelerated the use of cards, with many retailers declining cash or stating they prefer contactless payments for hygiene reasons. The limit for contactless payments was raised from £30 to £45 in April to allow this method to be used more often.

While cash payments fell by 15% to 9.3 billion in 2019, it was still the second most frequently used method, representing 23% of all payments in 2019.

So-called remote banking also increased in popularity in 2019, following a well-established trend. UK Finance says over 80% of adults used online banking, mobile banking or telephone banking in 2019 compared to 60% in 2009.

Consumers made over one billion remote banking payments in 2019, the first year this has happened. Across all age groups, 72% use online banking and 50% use mobile banking.

Disadvantaged groups

Concerns have been raised that the flight towards plastic-based payments and the reduction in physical bank branches could disadvantage sections of society that still rely heavily on cash.

John Crossley, head of money at Compare the Market, the price comparison site, said: “The ‘cash is king’ mantra is clearly a thing of the past. Debit cards overtook cash in 2017 to become the most frequently used payment method in the UK. By 2028 cash is expected to account for just 9% of all payments.

“In the rush to ditch notes and coins for plastic cards, it is important the banking sector caters for those who rely on cash for everyday living, including paying bills. Cash remains a lifeline for some elderly and vulnerable people, and it is important cash remains accessible for those who wish to continue using it.”

Risk of alienation

Matt Phillips of Diebold Nixdorf, which designs and manufacturers ATMs, said: “We’re seeing questions around whether the pandemic will propel the UK into being a fully cashless society, but this by no means spells the end for cash.

“We expect usage to pick up again when restrictions ease and eventually lift. Cash is essential in our economy and removing it risks alienating thousands of the country’s most vulnerable households.”

Mr Phillips says there is an appetite across the banking sector to reduce reliance on cash, in part due to the costs of delivering cash services to remote communities. But he says there is a way to balance these challenges: “If banks collaborated more, pooled their resources and accelerated the adoption of cash recycling – where money deposited by customers is automatically verified, sorted and re-used within the ATM – it would bring down their costs and sustain accessibility to cash.”

Stephen Jones of UK Finance acknowledged the potential problems associated with the disappearance of cash: “We are fully aware that not all customers are digitally-enabled, which is why we’re working flat-out to ensure people have access to cash and that everyday banking services remain available to help the country through these difficult times.”

Shopping with cash

Consumer lobby group Which? says vulnerable people risk being left with no way to pay for essential products and services as the coronavirus crisis further accelerates the UK’s shift to a cashless society. It wants government action to ensure the cash system does not collapse.

Looking at behaviors in the pandemic, Which? found that 51% of those shopping for someone else had been paid in cash, highlighting the challenge a cashless society presents for those who are not yet ready or able to make digital payments.

The Which? research also highlighted that one in 10 people have been refused by shops when trying to pay for items with cash in recent weeks. A quarter of those were left unable to purchase the item in question on at least one occasion as they had no alternative means of payment.

In its March Budget, the government said it would introduced legal protections to ensure continued access to cash for as long as people need it.

Which? argues the pandemic means the government’s pledge risks becoming obsolete if current trends continue to go unchallenged. An estimated 10,500 free-to-use cash machines have been removed or replaced with fee-charging machines since 2017.

Link, which manages the UK’s largest cashpoint network, says approximately £1 billion is still being withdrawn from ATMs every week, but the long term trend is one of accelerating decline. It says the current level of cash usage is currently at a level that was not expected for another five years.

Notemachine, an ATM operator, says cash withdrawals have reduced by 45% since the introduction of the lockdown – although it notes the average value withdrawn has increased by 13 per cent.

Support for retailers

In addition to long-term support for cash, Which? wants the government to act urgently to ensure people can continue to use cash to pay for essential goods and services during the pandemic. This would include supporting retailers to accept cash and offering guidance on how to handle banknotes and coins safely.

Gareth Shaw at Which? said: “It’s vital that the already fragile cash system is not left to collapse completely as the UK’s shift to a cashless society accelerates.

“The government must urgently press ahead with the legislation it has already committed to before it becomes obsolete, as failure to do so risks excluding millions of people from engaging in the economy.”

Figures from the Bank of England show that people in the UK repaid £7.4 billion of consumer credit in April, double the repayment in March, which itself was a record.

Some £5 billion of repayments were on credit cards, with £2.4 billion of other loans also repaid in April.

According to James Fairclough at AA Financial Services, 85% of UK adults have spent less during the lockdown, with savings achieved on holidays, eating out, shopping and buying petrol: “Coronavirus is impacting our livelihoods, family wellbeing and the economy at large. There are doubts over when the restrictions will be lifted and, for many, what the impact may be on job security.

“Given this economic uncertainty, it is understandable that many people are planning to use any surplus money they accumulate from reduced spending in lockdown to top up rainy day savings, or clear debts.”

I am the UK editor for Forbes Advisor. I have been writing about all aspects of household finance for over 30 years, aiming to provide information that will help readers make good choices with their money. The financial world can be complex and challenging, so I’m always striving to make it as accessible, manageable and rewarding as possible.



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Visa Files Patent Application for a ‘Digital Fiat Currency’ System


Visa has filed a patent application for a “digital fiat currency” system that could be used by central banks if it’s ever created. The proposed system could bridge the advantages offered by cryptocurrencies with those provided by fiat currencies.

According to a patent filing published by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), first reported on by Forbes, Visa’s system recognizes the advantages of cryptocurrencies, but claims it isn’t practical for a government to convert its fiat currency system to a cryptocurrency because these require electronic devices, which a segment of the population may not have.

It does admit there are several advantages associated with cryptocurrencies:

Cryptocurrency systems have advantages over fiat currency systems. For example, cryptocurrency money transfers can also be faster than conventional fiat currency money transfers. Lastly, because some cryptocurrencies use blockchains, such cryptocurrencies are often trusted since blockchains are immutable records of transactions.

Visa’s digital fiat currency system addresses this and other problems, according to the filing. According to it the digital fiat currency would see a central entity “maintain control over the monetary system.” Such an entity could, for example, be a governmental issuer of currency or a central bank.

The application mentions Ethereum, the second-largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization, several times. Speaking to Forbes a Visa spokesperson claimed that “not all patents will result in new products or features.” J. Christopher Giancarlo, former Chairman of the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), argued that the patent if proof private enterprises can work with government to reinvent money.

He was quoted as saying:

This confirms when the U.S. does big things like the space program and the Internet, there are partnerships between the private and public sector. This patent filing is evidence the private sector is very much at work on the future of money.

Alfred Kelly, Visa’s CEO, said during the J.P Morgan TMC Virtual Conference that he sees virtual currencies backed by a fiat currency as a potential emerging payments technology.

Featured image via Pixabay.

By: Francisco Memoria



Ripple XRP News: Latest News | Ripple XRP News Today ————- Follow Me On Twitter: ————- All The Latest Ripple XRP News Check Out: ————- I am not a financial adviser. This is for educational purposes only!!

How to Survive and Thrive Without a Credit Card – Forbes Advisor

Editorial Note: Forbes adheres to strict editorial integrity standards. The content on this page may contain partner offers and/or affiliate links, and Forbes may receive compensation if you click through a link on this page. To the best of our knowledge, all content is accurate as of the date posted, though offers contained herein may no longer be available.

You can swear off credit cards and survive. The ubiquitousness of credit cards makes it difficult to fathom a life without one, but it is possible.

The Boston Federal Reserve reports nearly 80% of adult Americans have at least one credit card—meaning one in five of us live a credit card-less life. Some live without plastic by choice, while others go without cards due to a recent bankruptcy, thin credit history or some other issue that makes it tough for them to get approved for a card. (Advice on how to improve your credit score is here.)

Meanwhile, whether you’re living without cards by choice or necessity, here are some tips on how to survive without a credit card.

1. Stick To A Budget

Credit cards can cloud your perspective of how much money you have. Budgeting is a great way to make sure credit cards don’t tempt you to spend more than you have. When you live without credit cards, however, having a budget and sticking to it is more than a strategy—it’s a necessity.

There are lots of great budgeting apps available for free or for a small monthly charge. Here are The Best Budgeting.Apps for 2019.

2. Keep Earning Rewards

One seductive appeal of credit cards is that you can earn points, miles, or cash back based on your spending. Effectively, you’re getting a discount on everything you charge.

But you don’t need a credit card to get rewards. These days, all sorts of companies (from airlines and hotels to Designer Shoe Warehouse (DSW) offer loyalty programs to their frequent shoppers. The DSW VIP program gives you points on every purchase made, a $5 discount on your birthday, and free shipping and points for donating a pair of your kicks to the Soles4Souls charity.

Sites such as Rakuten (formerly offer cash back for your online shopping. By visiting Rakuten to find your favorite online retailers, you can earn cash back of 10% or more.

JetBlue Airways’ TrueBlue, ranked the best frequent flyer program, helps JetBlue customers earn points without a credit card. By purchasing flights on, you can earn up to five points per dollar spent and get up to 10,000 bonus points after buying a certain number of flights. Inquire about loyalty programs wherever you shop the most. (Read more on Loyalty Rewards With No Credit Strings Attached.)

Meanwhile, rewards tied to debit cards—those pieces of plastic that link directly to your bank account—are also spreading. This is a reversal of what happened after 2010, when Congress required that banks charge merchants a lower swipe fee to cover bank services such as authorization, clearance, fraud protection and settlement. The change was intended to help lower retail prices, but it caused some banks to nix their debit card rewards; since the provision only applied to debit cards, banks decided to move their bonus features to the credit realm.

But with Millennials wary of piling credit card debt on top of their student loans, and online banks becoming more competitive, debit card rewards have started spreading again. See Startup Aims To Be Millennials Bank With Cash Back Debit Card High Interest On Savings.

Major card issuers like Discover, American Express, Bank of America offer debit cards with cash back programs. You may only be familiar with Discover and American Express as credit card providers, but they’ve branched out into the debit space too.

3. Plan—Particularly For Travel

A credit card-less lifestyle goes against the mainstream grain, so it can take some planning. That’s particularly true when it comes to travel.  Renting a car or reserving a hotel room has traditionally required a credit card since these services put a hold on your account. But increasingly, service providers have been ready to take a debit card instead.

Make sure when using a debit card that you have two forms of valid ID—one should be a driver’s license—and enough money in your account for any costs that you might rack up. Warning: A car rental company may place a hold against your account of up to $200 as a deposit in addition to the estimated rental charges. So your hold could easily total $500 or more.

4. Consider A Secured Credit Card

If you don’t want to be tempted to spend money you don’t have, or can’t qualify for a regular credit card, consider opening a secured credit card. A secured card works like a regular credit card but requires you to place a security deposit matching your credit limit.

When you use the card, you’re required to make a monthly payment—it’s not taken automatically from your deposit. In that way, you can build up your credit history and score. Moreover, you can use a secured card if you don’t want to use your debit card for car rentals or hotel reservations. As with other cards, the amount that’s charged as a hold against your account won’t be available to you. But that’s not a problem if you’re only using the secured card for this purpose. Consider using a secured card with a sizable credit limit to cover any deposits or holds.

(If poor credit is what’s holding you back, read our review of The Best Credit Cards If You Have Bad Credit.)

5. Get Rid Of The Card – Not The Credit

If your card-less life is a choice, consider snipping your existing cards up (or hiding them out of sight) without closing the accounts. Your credit card accounts are part of your credit history, which is tracked by credit reporting bureaus and then used to calculate your FICO or other credit scores.  As long as a card is open, it’s part of your history. But if you cancel a card that you’ve dutifully paid on time, that sterling record will disappear after 10 years.

According, to Equifax, a closed credit card that was in good standing stays on your credit report for 10 years. An account in bad standing closes after seven years. You want to keep a good credit history on your report and you also want to show off your long credit history, which accounts for 15% of your score.

In addition, closing a credit card could affect your credit utilization ratio. That’s the ratio of your outstanding balances to your credit card limits. A low utilization ratio has a positive effect on your credit score while a high ratio can be a negative. If you have $5,000 in total credit limits and you owe a total of $1,000 on your cards, your ratio is a low of 20% ($1,000 / $5,000). However, if you close a card with a limit of $3,000 and you still owe $1,000, that increases your ratio to a not-so-hot 50% ($1,000/$2,000).  For more, read A 60-Second Guide To Credit Utilization.

“If you have a (card with a) high credit limit, you have a strong history with that [and] it’s in good standing, you may want to keep that,” advises Paul Golden, of the National Endowment for Financial Education. The higher limit will help offset any credit balance that you have, he added.

If you feel strongly about closing a card or two, TransUnion suggests planning the closing after major property purchases like a house or car—purchases you may need a high score for.

Some people use their credit cards once a year and then quickly pay off the balance to help their credit score. This helps keep your payment history in good standing but also prevents your bank from closing your account because of inactivity. Others rely on installment credit like auto or student loans to help build their credit score.

6. Continue to Review Your Credit Report

When credit cards are out of sight, credit reports can be out of mind. You don’t want your credit report to go unmonitored. With every report, look for any signs of identity theft, such as counts you don’t recall opening or inquiries from companies you’ve never given your personal identifiable information to. Items that look fishy or inaccurate should be immediately disputed.

Asia is a personal finance writer for the Money and Markets team at Forbes. She’s based in New Jersey. Before joining Forbes, she reported for Financial Advisor magazine and also wrote for The Cranford Chronicle, NJ.Com and She also spent two years teaching English as another language in Shenzhen, Guangdong, China.

Source: How to Survive and Thrive Without a Credit Card – Forbes Advisor

Fee-Free Card Available for Users in the Eurozone

In a statement, 2gether revealed that the card “instantly” converts the cryptocurrency to fiat currency. Users within the 19-member Eurozone economic bloc can utilize the card without paying any fees. The Madrid-based banking startup believes that with its prepaid card it is solving problems associated with making purchases using virtual currencies…..

Source: Fee-Free Card Available for Users in the Eurozone

How To Pay Off Credit Card Debt Faster In 2019

You have several choices how to attack your credit card debt. No matter which strategy you choose, remember to always make at least the minimum payment on all your credit cards to avoid additional penalties and fees. Don’t skip payments. It can be intimidating to tackle your credit card debt if you focus on the total amount due. Instead, think about your credit card debt in smaller amounts, such as by each credit card……….

Source: How To Pay Off Credit Card Debt Faster In 2019

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