Circle gifts $50 in BTC to beta users to atone for accidental cash advance charges

By Michael Carney , written on August 1, 2014

From The News Desk

Still waiting on an invite to Circle Internet Financial, the user-friendly bitcoin bank that is slowly rolling out beta access to its platform? You're not alone, but the line between whether it's a good or bad thing to be an early adopter continues to shift.

As we reported two weeks ago, the good news for those of you still on the outside looking in is that you’ve avoided accidentally being billed for a cash advance by your credit card company, and skipped the associated high fees and interest rates. Score one for not being part of the club.

A statement from the company at the time read:

We’ve become aware that some credit card issuing banks are erroneously processing settlements as cash advances. It is not our intent to process charges as cash advances whatsoever, and we’re investigating the issue. We understand the frustration. Since this issue does not occur across all issuing banks, and since we are not notified when it occurs, it would be helpful for any affected customers to let us know by way of email to[email protected].
But today, it seems like Circle is going above and beyond to make the hassle worth its customers’ while, meaning if you’re not already an insider, you’ll wish you were.

According to an email from Circle posted to Imgur by a user named Bruce, Circle has gifted $50 worth of bitcoin (0.08476157 BTC) to all users that have purchased bitcoin using a credit card, not just the ones confirmed to be affected by the cash advance error. This is after the $10 it has already promised all new users upon signup.

The company's message this time around reads, in part:

We recently learned that some of our customers are being charged cash advance fees by their credit card issuing banks for deposits made to Circle. We noticed you used a card with us, and we hope that you have not been charged these fees. Just in case, we’ve sent you $50 in bitcoin for any inconvenience.
With only a few thousand users on the platform (max) and some $26 million in venture funding, it seems like the right kind of customer service calculus. Far better than suffering an unwanted PR crisis at this still early stage. Skeptical observers will likely view the move as a bribe, but savvy entrepreneurs and investors will be more apt to see it as a prudent gesture of goodwill. It’s certainly money more well spent on ensuring that early users are satisfied and apt to become brand evangelists.

Countless startup companies have survived far worse than Circle’s cash-advance-gaffe, if you can even call it that. It’s likely that whatever the ultimate outcome for the company, this early incident will be long forgotten by the time Circle is rendered a success or failure. Then again, it’s never too early to reward and delight loyal customers.

Pando reached out to Circle for comment on this initiative but did not receive a response prior to press time. We will update this post with more information if and when it becomes available.