As Bitcoin continues to see growth and adoption, the question arises as to what holders need to do with their digital currency. Since there aren’t many merchants that accept crypto, most users are limited to either trading for fiat or other currencies, or merely waiting until an alternative presents itself.
Fortunately, new solutions present themselves all the time, the most popular of which is BitPay. This cryptocurrency payment system is an excellent option for merchants who want to accept cryptocurrency but aren’t sure where to start. In this BitPay review you’ll learn more about the company, what it is, how it works, and all you need to know about this payment processor.
What is BitPay?
BitPay is a crypto payment platform based in Atlanta, Georgia, in the United States. The company was established in 2011 by Tony Gallippi, and services business from around the globe. BitPay provides a mobile checkout process to vendors and merchants. So, if you’re a merchant or vendor and you want to accept Bitcoin, you can use Bitpay as your payment processor.
Fast forward three years and BitPay was doing more than $1 million USD worth of processing each day. Many reports show that it is the world’s largest Bitcoin payment processor having formed partnerships with companies like NewEgg, WordPress, Microsoft, and more recently, PayPal.
Additionally, BitPay has also launched open-sourced projects for Bitcoin like CoPay and BitCore, but those are topics for another day. The processing company also has a debit/credit card, BitPay Card, which lets you use your BTC anywhere that accepts Visa. It also has a wallet, which we’ll talk more about in a bit.
Getting Started with BitPay
Getting started with BitPay is quick and easy. Whether you’re a business user or an individual wanting to use their BitPay card, all it takes is setting up an account. With an individual account, you can convert your dollars and Bitcoin interchangeably as needed. Business users use BitPay to accept Bitcoin as a merchant.
Once you create your business account, you’ll have the ability to accept bank deposits in local currency as well. To get going you’ll have to fill out a form that provides BitPay with either personal or business information. Once you provide the necessary information, you’ll get your BitPay Visa Card and wallet. You’ll use your card to make or accept payments.
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BitPay also has its CoPay wallet, which is a free solution for anyone who uses Bitcoin or Bitcoin Cash. Users can store their digital currency in the wallet to ensure that it remains safe and secure.
CoPay is completely open-sourced and behaves as a hierarchical deterministic (HD) wallet. An HD wallet provides keys to users that are essentially impossible to guess, even by very advanced hacking tactics or systems.
Additionally, the Copay wallet is multi-signature. This means that if you want multiple people to have access to the wallet at once, you can do so. You might use this for business purposes if you have multiple admins who need access or if you want to do group-based transactions.
Not only does CoPay have the option to be powered by multi-signature capabilities, but it is also available on several platforms. It is compatible with iOS and Android, Linux, Mac OS, and Windows operating systems.
BitPay’s CoPay wallet is a standalone application that doesn’t have any of the company’s brand-specific functionality. For example, the wallet doesn’t integrate directly with BitPay’s payment services. However, BitPay does leverage CoPay’s security and development features to make its BitPay wallet as user-friendly and secure.
The BitPay wallet solution was released in 2016. This wallet resides on top of Copay’s platform, so if you’ve used CoPay at all, you’ll be familiar with the BitPay wallet. However, your BitPay wallet allows for a better integration experience with BitPay itself.
Using the BitPay wallet gives users the ability to convert, spend, and buy items with Bitcoin. This means you’ll have more functionality than you did with your CoPay wallet. As a result, you’ll have the option to purchase Bitcoin directly through Gildera. Purchasing through this platform is a nice feature since it means you don’t have to store your Bitcoin in an exchange wallet.
Additionally, by using the BitPay wallet, you’ll have the ability to manage your BitPay Visa card. You can navigate through the app menu to quickly load your balance, which offers a 0% fee as long as you’re using Bitcoin. This is a great feature for both new and veteran users as it makes using the wallet much more convenient by offering multiple features into one solution.
One last feature available with the BitPay wallet is the ability to keep your Bitcoin across several wallets. This includes multi-signature wallets like the ones discussed with CoPay. However, we didn’t talk about the security feature multi-signature wallets provide. With this feature, you can require that everyone or all devices which have access to the wallet sign off on the transaction. A little paranoid perhaps, but a great security feature to prevent mistakes from occurring.
BitPay Visa Card
In 2016 BitPay also announced that it was releasing a Visa Card. This announcement was immediately accepted by users within the crypto community even though the card did not support Bitcoin Cash at the time.
When it launched, the BitPay Visa card had backing from Wave Crest, a European card issuer. However, due to service disruption by Visa against Wave Crest, the Bitcoin processing company chose to change card providers, choosing the Metropolitan Commercial Bank.
This Visa card not only works to complete transactions at a physical point of sale register but will also give users the ability to withdraw Bitcoin from an ATM for the cash equivalent. Users only need to fill up their BitPay Visa before with the amount of Bitcoin they want. This is something which can be easily accomplished via the BitPay wallet application.
At this point, the BitPay Visa is one of the few options available of its kind. Many other competitors fizzle out since they don’t offer the services that BitPay offers. That means they don’t get the adoption needed to sustain success over a long period of time.
In the case of BitPay’s Visa Card, however, the only real complaint about the service is the service disruption it suffered due to an issue with Wave Crest in January 2018. Since that time, BitPay has addressed the problem. The payment processing company plans to continue providing its services for both Bitcoin Cash and Bitcoin on its Visa Card.
The great thing about BitPay is that it doesn’t require its vendors to use a Mastercard or Visa processing network. This means the service has the ability to bypass fees often charged by payment process and can completely avoid interchange rates. This includes fees like statement fees, chargeback fees, and monthly minimum fees.
This gives BitPay the ability to get rid of transaction fees while providing high transaction limits to their users. Therefore, BitPay is always competitive with other payment processors on the market and typically ranks among the cheapest in the industry.
BitPay does, however, charge a 1% transaction fee for each transaction if you’re in a business that is considered high risk. Users get email support, basic billing and e-commerce tools, support for multiple users, and automatic payment exception handling.
If you are a merchant using BitPay for your payment processing needs, you have the option to cancel your service at any time, and you won’t get hit with a termination fee. However, there are times when BitPay might decide to hold your funds until any outstanding balances are satisfied.
For the BitPay Visa Card, there are fees for ATM transactions and ACH debits. Fees for withdrawals from an ATM stand at $2 each, while users making ACH debits will incur a $5 fee for every transaction.
If you’re concerned about security with BitPay, there’s no need to be. If you’re comfortable using PayPal, you’ll have no trouble with BitPay. Any time you need to make a payment to a merchant or vendor that accepts Bitcoin Cash or Bitcoin, you can use BitPay. The amount moves right from your wallet to the vendor’s wallet by using the payment processor.
If you want a place to keep your Bitcoin or Bitcoin Cash safe, then you can use BitPay’s CoPay and BitPay wallet storage solutions. This helps to prevent hackers from accessing your cryptocurrency while still having the ability to use your Bitcoin Cash or Bitcoin for transactions.
Unfortunately, BitPay does not support two-factor authentication (2FA) as some other wallets do. This would be a nice feature to have since it adds an additional layer of security. However, BitPay’s wallets are among the first to use the Bitcoin Payment Protocol (BIP). This functionality immediately validates that a transaction has reached the appropriate destination.
BitPay is one of the most secure and easiest Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash solutions which allow you to complete everyday transactions. The processing company also gives you a pair of wallets from which you can choose to keep your cryptocurrency safe.
Of course, one of the biggest benefits of using BitPay is from a merchant perspective. The ability to eliminate and bypass certain transaction fees and monthly fees is very appealing. This is especially true if you’re used to getting nicked and dimed by MasterCard and Visa on a regular basis.
Overall, we like BitPay. The platform gives you a couple of wallets to use based on your needs while ensuring that your cryptocurrency is secure. Really the only thing we would like to see is support for more cryptocurrencies. However, if you prefer to use Bitcoin, then BitPay is a great option for you.