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BitPay, Reaching a $2M Milestone in March, Cuts Fees

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Bitcoin payment processor BitPay Inc. today announced its global processing volume for the month of March will exceed $2 million, a milestone for the company.

BitPay is also reducing its fees. The company will now process Bitcoin transactions and support settlement into 11 local currencies at a rate of 0.99% for all merchants. Previously, there were separate conversion fees on top of the 0.99% processing fee, so the company has essentially waived the currency conversion charges.

Bitcoin payments are designed to resemble cash transactions more than credit-card transactions. Bitcoin payments have no disallowed merchant category codes (MCCs), no selective payment embargoes, no chargebacks and near immediacy of final transaction confirmation. 

Accepting the digital Bitcoin currency as a payment method allows merchants to reach customers in over 60 countries not supported by PayPal. It also allows merchants to reach various countries that are restricted by Visa and MasterCard for high fraud or lack of infrastructure. A consumer transacting in bitcoins needs only a mobile phone application or an Internet connection.

"We chose to celebrate this milestone by rewarding all merchants, large and small, with an across-the-board fee reduction, instead of offering tiered pricing which rewards only the largest merchants," says BitPay CEO Tony Gallippi, in a press release. "We want our merchants to use this fee reduction to offer discounts and incentives to their customers for paying with Bitcoin."

Settlements to local currencies are made with a guaranteed exchange rate locked in at the point of sale for no additional fee. This protects the merchant from potential volatility of the bitcoin exchange rate.

Supported currencies for settlement include the U.S. dollar, Canadian dollar, Australian dollar, New Zealand dollar, euro, Pound sterling, Danish krone, Mexican peso, Norwegian krone, Swedish krona and South African rand. Currently, BitPay provides one-day settlement for the U.S. and settlement in 2-3 days for other countries. Euro settlement is currently available in Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the Netherlands.

BitPay has over 4,000 merchants on its payments platform and is acquiring new merchants at a rate of 1,000 per month, the company says. It also recently announced that it has integrated its payment platform with Amazon’s fulfillment services, enabling merchants to combine frictionless international payments with international shipping in a fully-automated system.

The Amazon deal alone is a massive win for BitPay as it fits perfectly with Amazon's expansion strategy and showcases the qualities of the bitcoin payment method. Gallippi said in an interview that "the Amazon partnership has the potential to catapult the company to an entirely new level."

Jon Matonis is an e-money researcher and crypto economist focused on expanding the circulation of nonpolitical digital currencies. His career has included senior posts at Sumitomo Bank, Visa, VeriSign, and Hushmail. Currently, he serves on the board of the Bitcoin Foundation. Follow him on Twitter.

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