It's Possible That You'll Soon Be Able To Pay For Your Taco Bell Order With Dogecoin
Later this year, the newest Verifone terminals will begin accepting payments from a variety of cryptocurrency wallets and tokens for U.S. merchants.
Why not use Dogecoin to pay for your Taco Bell order? With Bitcoin, you could have some avocado ice cream from Whole Foods. That's the goal of a new partnership between BitPay Inc., a cryptocurrency payment processor, and Verifone Inc., one of the world's top providers of the small devices that let you pay with a credit card or Venmo at a checkout line.
The newest Verifone terminals will begin accepting payments for U.S. retailers from a variety of cryptocurrency wallets and tokens later this year, according to a statement released Tuesday by the companies. The agreement's specifics were not made public.
The crypto industry has long struggled to achieve widespread use of tokens for purchases, with most users focused on speculation and retailers scared off by the price volatility of digital assets. Because the cash will be paid swiftly into the merchant's bank account in traditional currency once a transaction is completed, BitPay claims it will give more protection from price volatility.
BitPay already processes more than 60,000 transactions a month, more than half of them in Bitcoin, according to the company. By comparison, Visa Inc. handles an average of 150 million transactions a day.
“We just want to give consumers options,” Mike Pulli, chief executive officer of Verifone, said in an interview. “If they decide to buy a pizza with Visa or AmEx or crypto, we don't care. We just want to give them the flexibility to pay the way they want to.”
Spending cryptocurrency today can be a pain: In the worst-case situation, a client may be forced to transfer coins to an exchange, sell them, and then deposit the proceeds into a bank account in order to spend them. Some people buy gift cards with their cryptocurrency. Others are signing up for Coinbase Global Inc. debit cards, which allow users to use cryptocurrency anywhere Visa is accepted.
Verifone is the latest company to try to make bitcoin payments more convenient. Users of the social media platform Twitter were able to tip in Bitcoin last week. PayPal Holdings Inc. has also increased its digital payment activities. Starbucks formed a partnership in 2018 to create a venture designed to more tightly integrate digital currencies into global commerce.
Merchants are lining up for the product, Pulli said. “There's a very nice backlog of them,” he said. “There's lots and lots and lots of interest. I think our phones will be ringing off the hook” once the capability is more widely known. While the companies didn't say which merchants will be included, some brands that Verifone works with already include American Eagle Outfitters, Macy's, Williams Sonoma, Taco Bell and Whole Foods.
Verifone and Atlanta-based BitPay didn't disclose how long their exclusive partnership will last. Verifone has an option to invest in BitPay as well, the company said. BitPay has raised more than $70 million in capital from Founders Fund and Virgin Group, among others. According to Pulli, Verifone, which was taken private by Francisco Partners in 2018, has no plans to go public again anytime soon.
In an interview, Stephen Pair, CEO of BitPay, said, "We've always felt it was only a matter of time before people had the expectation that they could pay with crypto in the same way they pay with Mastercard and Visa." “This development will hasten that process. Customers will simply expect that to be an option.”