Back in December, news broke that Visa and BlockFi were partnering to release a “Bitcoin Rewards Visa Credit Card.” A CNBC report on the news indicated that this would become the first credit card to offer Bitcoin rewards, which naturally generated some excitement. Traditional banks and credit card providers have been embracing cryptocurrency slowly and in different ways, but this represents one of the most direct ties between a major provider and the leading cryptocurrency. And the question now for consumers is simple: Should you get Visa’s Bitcoin credit card?
There is no universal or absolute answer to this question – the card is neither definitively “good” or “bad.” But we would suggest answering the following questions in order to determine whether or not this is a card worth considering for your own wallet.
Do you need another card?
It’s not all that often that an entirely new sort of card or reward scheme comes out. When it happens, it can be exciting — to the point that you begin to look at it almost as a new product rather than simply a new credit card. But if you’re actually considering Visa’s card, you should assess it with regard to your personal finances, rather than simply as something you’re interested in. First and foremost, that means assessing whether or not you actually need another card to begin with. According to Petal Card, credit card holders with “very good” credit scores tend to have an average of three cards each. So if you already have that amount — or you already have more — you may want to consider that embracing the Visa/BlockFi card might be excessive, even if it seems like a fun or appealing option. On the other hand, if you only have one or two cards, or you’re looking to get rid of a few cards, this new option might be more worthy of consideration.
Do you have a plan for Bitcoin?
The idea of racking up Bitcoin rewards (1.5% cash back straight into a BlockFi account, specifically) can certainly be appealing. Even those with a limited understanding of cryptocurrency generally look upon it as a legitimate store of value at this point, and it can thus be appealing to collect. However, you should still have a plan for your Bitcoin if you’re going to invest in a card like this. Do you plan to store it as a means of saving or investing? Are you looking to build up a store of Bitcoin to save? Might a different kind of reward actually impact your life more? These are important questions to ask so as to look past the novelty and excitement of Bitcoin and make a practical decision.
Has Bitcoin become impractical?
At the time this card was announced, Bitcoin was hovering just below $20,000, and climbing. A month later, we posted ‘Bitcoin Price Hits $30,000 Milestone for the First Time Ever’, marking an historic new high mark for cryptocurrency. And as of this writing, the price has climbed still higher, topping $37,000. Whether or not this climb continues is frankly anybody’s guess, and certainly there’s an argument to be made that cash back in Bitcoin form is only getting more valuable as of now. At the same time though, it’s worth considering the nature of BTC investment before opting for a card like this. Bitcoin is getting more and more difficult to spend as its price continues to fluctuate wildly, and while it can be lucrative, it is also unpredictable. So, is it an impractical asset to tie your rewards to, or an investment you’re excited to explore?
Have you explored similar options?
Finally, if you do decide you’re interested in the Visa Bitcoin card, you should also consider that there are some similar alternatives. This particular card made headlines in part because Visa is such a big name. But other companies are also combing ordinary credit card usage with Bitcoin reward schemes. Perhaps most notably, the crypto exchange Gemini has announced plans for an ordinary credit card to be released this year, which will reportedly offer “up to” 3% cash back in Bitcoin form. This isn’t to say any one option is better than another. But if you decide you’d like to try a Bitcoin rewards credit card in general, be sure to look at multiple options and not just the one generating major headlines.