Shift's payment app

Part of the challenge of Bitcoin and other virtual currencies has simply been the need to juggle different apps and cards to use every payment option at your disposal. Wouldn't it be nice if one card could handle everything? You might just get your wish. Shift Payments is testing a new debit card that can switch between real and virtual money on the spot, such as through an app; you could pay for morning coffee with Bitcoin and after-work groceries using real cash. Loyalty card support is in the works, too.

Whether or not you'll get to use the card's full potential is another matter. As Shift's Meg Nakamura tells our colleagues at TechCrunch, American banks are jittery about backing the project; until (and unless) there's a clear legal structure, you may be limited to handling digital cash. The team is willing to be patient, though, and it believes that loyalty points by themselves could be a big deal. If you're willing to jump in early, you can sign up at Shift's site to get an alert when testing opens up.

Shift's debit card