Visa Has Not Changed Bitcoin Purchase Policies


EXCLUSIVE—Payment processor Visa has not changed any policies related to the purchasing of bitcoin, the company said.

The company still allows Visa cardholders to make cryptocurrency purchases with “credit, debit, and certain prepaid Visa products,” it said in a statement sent to media. This follows reports that Visa, alongside other credit card networks, changed how cryptocurrency transactions were coded to now consider them cash advances. These reports have since been corrected.

This would impact certain cryptocurrency exchanges such as Coinbase, which recently sent out the following email to all of its customers (emphasis was included in the email):

Recently, the MCC code for digital currency purchases was changed by a number of the major credit card networks. The new code will allow banks and card issuers to charge additional ‘cash advance’ fees. These fees are not charged or collected by Coinbase. These additional fees with show up as a separate line item on your card statement.

Visa is not one of those networks, a spokesperson for the company told Bank Innovation. Rather, any fees that might arise from the purchase of bitcoin or any other cryptocurrency via a Visa product are set and collected by issuers, the company stated.

The other major credit card network, Mastercard, has clarified the right category for purchases with acquirers, a spokesperson for the company told Bank Innovation via email. Visa’s full statement can be viewed below:

Visa allows credit, debit and certain prepaid Visa products to be used to purchase cryptocurrency, provided such transactions are legal in both the buyer’s and seller’s jurisdictions. Issuers make authorization decisions and determine cardholder fees, if any. Acquirers and merchants are responsible for ensuring that all Visa transactions are properly coded in the Visa payment system, so that issuers can rely on accurate and consistent coding when making authorization decisions. Visa’s policies with respect to the correct coding of transactions have not changed.

To learn more about cryptocurrency and online payments, join us on March 5-6, 2018 at the Parc 55 in San Francisco for Bank Innovation 2018. Click here to request an invitation.

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