Company Information: Peter Gray and Rodolfo Novak are co-founders of Toronto, Canada-based Coinkite, which is a service of Ripe Apps Inc. Ripe App has been in business since March 2011 and Coinkite was launched mid-2013. There are less than 10 employees. Coinkite is self-funded. Coinkite is notable because they have chosen to take the hardware path for merchant virtual currency payment processing.
Product/Service Reviewed: Virtual Currency Merchant Payment Services
Review Date: 2/3/2014
Summary Findings: It should come as no surprise that Coinkite looks great given Novak's background is in user interface design. Coinkite has chosen to focus on the physical aspect of merchant processing by developing hand-held terminals. They do offer a wallet but that is not the focus of this review.
The most obvious question is why didn't Cointkite write an interface to existing credit card POS terminals? Their answer is they want to operate in parallel because the "incumbent players in the payment industry are interested in protecting their existing revenue streams and have not exactly been jumping onto the Bitcoin bandwagon. In fact, they may be actively interfering with its adoption." This may be true but time is expected to change this and we view Coinkite as having a high probability of acquisition or facing growing competition from well-established players in the POS terminal market.
Virtual Currency Capability Quadrant: See Virtual Currency Merchant Payment Services Report: 2014 (Due March 2014).
Terms of Service Findings: Coinkite (Ripe App Inc) is governed by Canada law and all disputes are subject to the rulings in accordance with the Ontario Arbitration Act, 1991. Coinkite reserves the right to change the Terms of Service at any time, however, does not note the date for the last update/change so merchants should conduct a regular review to ensure they are aware of the current terms.
Enrollment Process: Despite a slight hiccup with registration (we were trying to use an account name the system didn't morally approve of) the enrollment process flowed quite well. After establishing the account the next page presented us with a 3-Step process.
Step 1 is selecting a Membership Level. The system automatically Saver/Mini level but you have the option of selecting Standard or Business.
Step 2 is related to security and randomly assigns an image to your account. This image will be presented to you when you visit the Coinkite site and helps a merchant ensure they are at the real Coinkite site and not an imposter.
Step 3 allows you to fund a Bitcoin Checking and Savings account.
Once you are past this point you enter a dashboard where you can manage your wallet and access merchant information.
Account Management: Once a merchant is logged into the site they will see a Merchant link across the top. This will then allow them to purchase terminals (price at time of review: 0.944 BTC | $799 USD), claim (connect) your terminal to your account, get information about their reseller program, read the terminal manual and (future) read about their API.
Accounts with no balance are temporarily closed after 30 days, but may be re-opened with any deposit. A charge of ฿0.02 will be applied on first new deposit.
Product/Service Support: Email support only. Monday-Friday 9am to 5pm Eastern Standard Time. "Tickets received outside of those hours may take longer to receive replies."
Finding how to get support was a bit of a challenge. There are no Contact Us or Support links on the site. You have to go into the FAQ and then look under Help & Support only to find an archaic mailto: link to send an email.
With regard to their terminal, Coinkite warrants against defects in materials and workmanship under normal use for a period of 1 year.
Merchant Integration Options: Coinkite does not offer any merchant integration options at this time. Their API is due Summer 2014.
3rd Party Tool Support: Coinkite does not offer support for any 3rd party tools at this time. Their API is due Summer 2014 and may or may not include this ability.
Invoicing & Billing: The POS terminal will print receipts and invoices for customers. However, there is no method for exporting the transaction history from the online account and into a merchant's accounting system such as QuickBooks. Coinkite has stated the ability to export via .csv files is on their development roadmap but no timeline was provided.
Consumer Wallet Support: The Coinkite terminal acts much like a credit card terminal but is a Bitcoin (and Litecoin) device, which any wallet that can send coins to a printed QR code printed on a receipt. The hand-held POS terminal also has the ability to act like a wallet and can scan a QR from a smart phone, laptop or paper. and inter-operates with any wallet or service that can send coins to a QR code printed on a receipt.
Coinkite also offers a Bitcoin Debit Card with a QR code on the back, which can be used to conduct transactions with or without the terminal.
Fees: The Saver/Mini level is "mostly free" in that you pay a 1% withdrawal fee. The Standard level (0.013 BTC per month) provides 1,000 free withdrawals, a free debit card, unlimited withdrawals at Coinkite point-of-sale terminals (similar to getting cash back when you use your debit card or an ATM) and other features. The top tier is the Business level (0.039 BTC per month) and offers similar benefits as the Professional level but adds unlimited free transactions and priority email customer support. All accounts offer varying volumes of sub-accounts per currency. These sub-accounts can be used to keep your funds organized (e.g. Checking, Savings, My Vacation).
Transactions over plan limit will be billed at 0.01 BTC per 1000.
Settlements: There are no settlements within Coinkite as all withdrawals are via Bitcoin. Coinkite pays miners fees. Merchants will need to maintain an account at a Bitcoin market in order to redeem Bitcoins for fiat, if desired.