COMMENTS FROM THE SNARK FINTECH TANK
Stimulus checks by the US government provide much-needed money for Americans to spend on a variety of things. If another round of checks is coming, here’s an idea on what to do with your check.
A small bank in New York has launched a new checking account that can help that stimulus check go even further: Deposit the check into the account, and it will pay you a 1.5% reward for what you do spent on the account debit card – in Bitcoin.
If Bitcoin continues to rise – its price has doubled since October – the value of your rewards increases as well.
Check Account and Debit Card Awards are difficult to find
Getting rewards on your checking or debit card is not easy these days. Many banks ended up with debit card awards a few years ago when the exchange regulations changed.
And get good interest rates on your deposits? Forget about it.
Some large banks offer interest on deposits but require minimal high balances. Nationwide, through online bank Axos Bank, offers 0,90%, but to get that rate, account holders must keep more than $ 150,000 in the account or put $ 1,000 or more into their account by direct deposit each a month a make 10 or more eligible debit card transactions.
There’s a new game in town, though.
Quontic Bank Offers Reward 1.5% – In Bitcoin
Quontic Bank, a CDFI (community development financial institution) in New York, recently launched a Bitcoin Rewards checking account that pays account holders 1.5% in Bitcoin on purchases made with the account’s debit card.
The awards are actually held in an account administered by NYDIG, Stone Ridge’s digital asset subsidiary, alternative asset manager. A GOOD account does not give account holders the ability to buy more Bitcoin, so they will have to revoke and transfer their Bitcoin rewards if they want to exchange for the rewards.
Quadic customers do not pay any monthly service fees for their checking account with Quontic although NYDIG charges a 2% fee to fulfill the sale or revocation of the account holder’s Bitcoin holdings.
Does Anyone Want Bitcoin Rewards?
Why is Bitcoin rewarding? Of course, Quontic CEO Steve Schnall explains that he is an early and great Bitcoin adopter.
In addition, the bank’s research found that among consumers who already own (or are interested in) cryptocurrencies, one in five would switch to having an account that paid rewards in Bitcoin.
Quontic’s research is in line with new research (just a few days ago) by Cornerstone Advisors which found that 25% of consumers said they would be “very interested” in receiving Bitcoin as a reward for their debit or credit card purchase instead of cash.
It would be interesting to know, however, whether consumers would be as interested in Bitcoin as a reward if the price of Bitcoin was at its lowest level ever.
How well will the new account do it?
Quontic’s new account will appeal to consumers who are very interested in holding cryptocurrencies – and there are many. Cornerstone estimates that 15% of American consumers already hold some cryptocurrency.
However, a Bitcoin Rewards checking account will face some challenges, including:
- Bitcoin volatile price. Schnall expects Quontic to open “thousands” of accounts in the near term. I don’t doubt it – as long as the price of Bitcoin stays at its current level or keeps rising. In a down market Bitcoin, however, consumers are likely to stay away from the account, unless they expect improvement.
- Consumer interest in buying with cryptocurrencies. Americans holding cryptocurrencies bought $ 31.2 billion worth of retail products and services using cryptocurrencies in the last 12 months, according to Cornerstone Advisors. The percentage of US consumers who hold cryptocurrencies – and expect to use it for retail purchases – is growing. Quontic customers will want to use their Bitcoin rewards – especially as the price of Bitcoin rises – instead of having it sit in an account somewhere.
- Competition from PayPal and Coinbase. Quontic may be the first to launch a Bitcoin reward checking account, but PayPal and Coinbase have both issued Bitcoin debit cards. These are not value propositions similar to what Quontic offers, but they are competitive when it comes to competing for Bitcoin buying activity. Schnall believes the new account can grow both verbally and organically. However, with PayPal and Coinbase having an established user base, Quontic will need to rely on paid media to generate consumer awareness and interest.