My experience using the Coinbase Shift Card with my Litecoin wallet

Nick Rodriguez By Nick Rodriguez - February 01st, 2018
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This is my experience using the shift card for every day purchases, but in a slightly different way than intended by connecting it to my Litecoin wallet on Coinbase.

For those not familiar with the shift card, this is a visa debit card that is tied to your Coinbase Bitcoin wallet. It's also different from most Bitcoin debit cards in that you don't have to preload funds onto the card before using it. Instead, the Bitcoin is sold at the point of sale and automatically converted into the correct amount of currency to complete the purchase. This allows the card to work seamlessly with your Coinbase account.

While intended to be used with the Bitcoin wallet, I decided to try and use it with my Litecoin wallet just to see how it works. So this review will be focused on using the card specifically with Litecoin, and the differences I've noticed.

I have been using it for several months already, and it works great. This allows me to use my Coinbase wallet as a sort of checking account with a debit card attached to it.

So while the card works well with my Litecoin wallet, there are a few things that I didn't like.

It's not meant to be used with other coins

Being marketed as the world's first Bitcoin debit card, it's just not meant to be used with other coins. While you can use it with different coins like Litecoin and Ethereum, it's not officially supported and means you'll always be treated like a 2nd class customer.

Charge backs and deposits are settled in Bitcoin

Anytime you use the card as a credit card, i.e. non-debit purchase, it will take out a small deposit that will later be charged back once the payment clears. So for example, if you use the card to pay for gasoline, it will automatically take out a deposit from the card. The problem is that this deposit is done with Bitcoin, so you will now have these funds deposited back into your Bitcoin wallet on Coinbase. This can get a little annoying after awhile and lead to a large amount of funds piling up in an unused wallet. The same is also true for refunds, the funds will be deposited back into your Bitcoin wallet.


I love using my shift card for daily purchases, but it's unfortunate that Coinbase doesn't appear to care much about fully supporting other coins besides Bitcoin. And so are perfectly fine officially limiting the shift card to Bitcoin purchases even if you can hack your way around it.