Just days after imposing a $100 USD minimum for merchant payments and debit card reloads, BitPay says it will lower the minimum to $5 instead. However it noted that users may still face transaction fees higher than the actual purchase, depending on network conditions.
$100 Minimum Was ‘Temporary’
In a new post, BitPay called its earlier statement “an emergency update” and said the minimum was “temporarily raised”, before switching it back to $5 just days later. It said:
Our recent Payment Protocol improvements to the BitPay payment experience have effectively eliminated these payment mistakes. This has allowed us to make $5 or greater invoices available once again.
BitPay had faced a backlash from merchants dealing in smaller payment amounts and users who felt the company should be devoting more resources to “supporting SegWit”. BitPay had addressed the latter complaint in its original statement, but said SegWit compatibility would only reduce transaction fees “by 40 percent on average”.
Fees are high because companies like BitPay, Coinbase, https://t.co/YZBTvJZNld are making thousands of non-segwit transactions. Bitcoin is fine. You guys and every person not using segwit is the problem.
— Tomasisko (@Tomasiskoo) December 22, 2017
BitPay said there were no immediate plans for any further changes to the invoice minimum, but warned that anyone paying less than $100 could still face fees that made their transactions “uneconomical”.
Transaction Fees Above $50 USD
According to BitInfoCharts.com, network congestion from increased trading activity in late 2017 has cause the average Bitcoin transaction fee to rise above $50 USD. Fees began to rise around the same time as bitcoin’s price skyrocketed in the first week of December — when it was a more modest $7.
Even $7 would have alarmed bitcoiners of years past, though — its enthusiasts once mocked professional money transmitters like Western Union for imposing $5 fees for sending small amounts. Both are higher than PayPal’s roughly 3 percent fee — also a regular source of user complaints, and often cited as a reason for needing something like Bitcoin to exist.
Are Bitcoin transaction fees too high, about right, or something users need to live with? Let’s hear your thoughts.
Images via Wikimedia Commons