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Will Reeves created the Fold app back in 2019 with the intention of making Bitcoin more accessible to the general public. With Fold, users could use a debit or credit card to purchase gift cards from their favorite retailers such as Uber, Amazon and DoorDash, and earn cash back in the form of Bitcoin rewards. After the app launched, a co-branded debit card soon followed, allowing consumers similar perks, namely the ability to earn Bitcoin as cash back for their everyday purchases.
Below, Select explains how the Fold app and debit card works and highlights similar products consumers can use to earn cryptocurrency rewards.
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How does the Fold app work?
The Fold app is available to download for free via the App Store and Google Play. In order to purchase gift cards from select retailers, including Adidas, Amazon, AMC, Chipotle and DoorDash, among others, users must link either a debit or credit card through the app. Each retailer offers different cash-back rates on gift cards, while, according to Reeves, users are able to earn Bitcoin rewards during the time of purchase at current market value. Fold gift cards may then be used toward making in-store and online purchases through the retailer.
Before purchasing a gift card, users can check to see how many ‘sats,’ or satoshi, the smallest denomination of Bitcoin, they will earn. For reference, one “sat” is worth one hundred millionth of a Bitcoin.
“Users earn Bitcoin directly and are able to withdraw it to a personal [crypto] wallet whenever they like,” says Reeves. “In other words, users do not convert their points into a cryptocurrency.”
Through the Fold app, users are also eligible to spin a virtual wheel, giving them the opportunity to earn Bitcoin rewards every day, ranging in value from just a handful of ‘sats’ to thousands of them. When it’s time for users to redeem their rewards, they only need to transfer them to a personal Bitcoin wallet. Note that according to the website, Fold currently only processes withdrawals to on-chain wallets such as that offered by Coinbase, among others, and also accepts native SegWit addresses.
The Fold app may be a good option for users who plan on purchasing items through select retailers since it gives them the opportunity to earn Bitcoin rewards on items they would normally be purchasing anyway.
What options does the Fold debit card offer?
In addition to the app, Fold has its own co-branded debit card. While the Fold Spin debit card does not perform a credit check or have an annual fee, it does come with an attached checking account, which cardholders can deposit money into via direct deposit or ACH transfer.
With the Fold Spin debit card, users can either earn a flat cash-back rate of 1% on their purchase or take a chance by spinning the app’s virtual wheel in order to earn a higher cash-back rate.
1% cash-back in Bitcoin or spin for the option of earning up to 25% cash-back in Bitcoin
Foreign transaction fee
N/A — cannot be used internationally
According to Reeves, users can earn anywhere from less than 1% to up to 25% cash back on their purchases by spinning the wheel. They can also earn extra spins by making purchases regularly, depositing money and collecting spins through the augmented reality, or AR, rewards experience on the app, which lets users track down Bitcoin and merchant rewards hidden in the environment around them in a way that is similar to Pokémon GO.
Those who are interested in potentially earning greater rewards can opt for the Fold Spin+ debit card, which has an annual fee of $150. With this premium option, cardholders can score up to 100% cash back on purchases by spinning the wheel and can earn up to three extra spins per week — the Fold Spin card, meanwhile, only offers up to one extra spin per week.
While the Fold Spin+ card offers consumers the potential to earn a higher cash-back rate on their spins, it might not be an investment that’s necessarily worth the $150 annual fee — cardholders will still earn 1% guaranteed cash back on purchases if they don’t choose to spin the wheel. Since it’s a bit of a gamble to spin the wheel, you might even end up earning less than 1% cash back.
On the other hand, the Fold Spin card might be a good choice for those looking to earn Bitcoin rewards on their everyday spending, especially since there’s no annual fee and you’ll receive a spin for all of your purchases that are $3 or more. Consumers, however, should be aware of the volatility of cryptocurrency if they’re opting for a Bitcoin rewards card.
Alternatives to Fold
Coinbase, one of the largest cryptocurrency trading platforms based on trade volume, offers a debit card that allows users to earn crypto rewards. Unlike the Fold debit card, which uses U.S. dollars to pay for transactions, the Coinbase Card actually connects to your Coinbase account and converts any cryptocurrency into dollars at the time of purchase (it also allows you to spend U.S. dollars). The Coinbase Card offers up to 4% back in the form of various cryptocurrencies on every purchase, and while there is no annual fee, you may pay fees to spend certain types of cryptocurrencies that you own.
SoFi Credit Card
The SoFi credit card offers cardholders earn 3% cash back for a year when you set up direct deposit with SoFi. After that, earn 2% unlimited cash back on purchases when redeeming their rewards as Bitcoin or Ethereum if they choose. The card has no annual or foreign transaction fee. SoFi is a personal finance company that provides financial products like student loans, personal loans, banking and investing accounts for stocks of crypto. With the SoFi credit card, you can get your rewards directly deposited into you SoFi checking and savings accounts and can then use them as you please, be it for crypto, to pay down your student loans or just to pay off your credit card bill.
The Fold app and debit card can be a good option (if you go for the regular Fold Spin debit card instead of the Fold Spin+, which has a $150 annual fee) for those looking to dip their toes into the world of cryptocurrency, while the virtual wheel opportunity also adds an element of excitement and risk. That said, the Bitcoin rewards you’ll earn through the app and debit card aren’t substantial, and users should be aware that if the value of Bitcoin tanks, their rewards won’t be worth much either.
Editorial Note: Opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the Select editorial staff’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any third party.