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September 22, 2015

US Dollar Payments, Free Debit Cards, Circle App Updates

We founded Circle to help people share value in the same way they share other kinds of content and messages on the Internet: for free, safely, and instantly anywhere in the world. That vision includes everyone everywhere, and it isn’t limited to one currency we share with friends and family -- it spans them all.

Today we took another step toward realizing that goal. Now in the United States, you can send, receive, and hold US dollars in addition to using bitcoin for payments within the Circle app.

You can enjoy the benefits of Bitcoin without ever holding or buying bitcoin yourself, and without being exposed to bitcoin price volatility. Even if you prefer to hold US dollars in your Circle account, you gain security, speed, and open interoperability with bitcoin wallets and services around the globe. You can hold US dollars but still send someone bitcoin, and likewise someone can send you bitcoin and Circle can instantly turn it into US dollars in your account.

And if you still prefer to hold bitcoin instead of dollars? That’s perfectly fine; you can switch back and forth between currencies at any time with zero fees. As we add further currencies, you can expect the same.

Our iOS, Android, and Web apps are now called Circle Pay and they’re available now in the iOS and Android app stores. These apps sport a number of new features, including:

  • Debit cards are now free and instant. If you fund your account with a debit card, you receive the money immediately, and Circle charges no fees. Note that credit cards are also instant, but the networks do charge a fee for credit cards. You can also still link your bank account, which is free of charge, but it may take a few days for your bank to complete a transfer. So debit card usage is recommended.

  • Higher limits for cashing in, spending, and cashing out. Most customers will start with a $300 USD weekly limit and have the opportunity to graduate to $3,000. These limits are much higher than our previous levels!

  • FDIC insurance on US dollar deposits, which complements our existing full insurance protection over customer bitcoin funds.

  • Many mobile app improvements including easier, faster account signup. Now when you send a friend money, that friend will have a simpler time signing up with Circle to receive it.

As part of this release, we’re also announcing full compliance with New York’s money transmitter and BitLicense regulations, which continues our ongoing compliance as a money services business across all US states.

We’ve been fairly vocal about our concerns with the BitLicense, especially in its initial incarnation. Many of those issues were resolved, and though still not perfect, the BitLicense and its requirements became clear and irrefutable prerequisites for serving and supporting everyone in New York. We are the first company to be granted a BitLicense, and we also hold a Money Transfer License for US dollar transactions in the state of New York. We want to help people everywhere around the globe, and that includes New Yorkers.

Grab Circle Pay by visiting the iOS or Android store and give it a try! We’re excited to hear your feedback.

Jeremy and Sean
Circle Co-founders

 
 

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