Instant Exchange allows you to send bitcoin and pay for it with your local currency from the same page. You can also receive bitcoin and Coinbase will execute an instant sell in the background. The sell will credit funds to your local currency wallet.
Instant Exchange is a great tool for people who want to use bitcoin but prefer to cash out immediately to fiat currency. The fiat currency value of each conversion transaction, after Coinbase’s conversion fee, will be reflected in your USD, EUR, and/or GBP wallets. Instant Exchange is supported only for users who hold fiat currency wallets with Coinbase.
Instant Exchange is just a different way to use Coinbase's existing Conversion Service. For example, when you wish to instantly purchase and send bitcoin using Instant Exchange, you can simply click on the "Send/Request" tab in your Coinbase Account, identify the recipient, and indicate the amount of bitcoin or USD-equivalent you wish to transfer. By selecting your USD Wallet as the funding source, when you confirm the transaction you will (a) use Coinbase's Conversion Service to purchase a corresponding amount of bitcoin, and then (b) immediately transfer the bitcoin from your Coinbase Account to the recipient.
On the flip side, you can also use Instant Exchange to immediately sell bitcoin which you receive into your Coinbase Account. Using the same “Send/Request” feature, you can generate a unique bitcoin address for this purpose. Instant Exchange will then allow you to use that address to (a) receive bitcoin from the payer into your Coinbase Account, and (b) immediately sell the bitcoin using Coinbase's Conversion Service. This is a great way to use the Bitcoin payment network.
Coinbase’s standard Conversion Fee applies to all bitcoin purchase and sale transactions. There are no additional fees for use of Instant Exchange.
For example, if you wish to use Instant Exchange to send $15-worth of bitcoin to a recipient, the total amount debited from your USD wallet will be $15.15: the amount of USD you wish to convert into bitcoin plus Coinbase’s Conversion Fee. This works the same way in reverse, so if you receive $15-worth of bitcoin and sell it immediately using Instant Exchange, then your USD wallet will be credited $14.85: the USD-value of the bitcoin you converted into USD, minus Coinbase’s Conversion Fee. As always, you can freely fiat currency from your Coinbase Account back to your own bank account without charge from Coinbase (for ACH transfers; for list of all withdrawal fees, please see this page).
Instant Exchange is just another way to use Coinbase’s Conversion Service, so your standard buy/sell limits will apply. You therefore will not be able to exceed your weekly or aggregate buy limits when you use Instant Exchange to purchase and send bitcoin. It is also important to remember that you cannot use Instant Exchange to receive and sell bitcoin in excess of your weekly or aggregate sell limits. If you receive an amount of bitcoin for Instant Exchange whose conversion would exceed your weekly or aggregate sell limit, all of the bitcoin will be received into your default bitcoin wallet and no conversion will occur. You can separately initiate a bitcoin sell transaction in an amount that does not exceed your sell limit.
You can check your buy/sell limits by logging into your Coinbase Account and visiting this page.
Not yet, but we are working on this feature.
Nothing changes on the merchant side of things. We are just extending and expanding Instant Exchange to the rest of our customers.