Fintech startup Upgrade Inc. has launched a new version of its credit card that offers crypto rewards to customers. The Upgrade Bitcoin Rewards Card is a low-cost Visa signature card accepted at all Visa-supporting retailers. Its holders can earn 1.5% in Bitcoin rewards on every purchase they make, which they can hold and sell at the trading platform provided by NYDIG.
Starting today, anyone in the US can apply for an Upgrade Bitcoin Rewards Card that comes with credit lines of $500 to $25,000. There is no waitlist and the virtual card can be used immediately after its issued.
The card comes with an easy-to-understand earning structure. Cardholders earn 1.5% in BTC every time they make a payment and they must hold their digital assets for 90 days before selling them. At this point, their crypto transactions would be subject to a 1.5% fee and will be facilitated by a crypto custody platform offered by NYDIG.
Since Bitcoin prices fluctuate often Upgrade cardholders are bound to see their holdings on a bumpy ride. Some may also feel that the 90-day holding period is perhaps too long to cash out returns. But long term HODLers have time and again proved that there are benefits to investing in cryptocurrencies for a lengthy period. And if you take the word of Bitcoin maximalists who are anticipating skyrocketing gains in the future, then there’s certainly a lot of value in keeping your BTC locked away.
Laplanche wants Upgrade to go beyond providing people safe exposure to cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin. He acknowledges that credit cards are fundamentally flawed products that encourage people to stay in debt for as long as possible. This is also at the heart of the company’s Bitcoin Rewards Card development strategy, which differs a lot from average card issuers.
Credit cards issued by the Upgrade include fixed payment plans rather than minimum monthly installments. The strategy ensures that customers pay down their principal amount and interest with discipline and also gain rewards for reducing their outstanding debt. The cards also carry a much lower APR that starts at 8.99%, compared to the industry average of 16%.
Just like all their offerings, Upgrade’s Bitcoin Rewards Card also promotes responsible credit that helps customers avoid the overspending trap. With low fixed rates and monthly installments payable over 24 to 60 months, Upgrade attempts to help cardholders evade the debt cycle of traditional credit cards.