CoinLoft's homepage gave me three options for my purchase, cash, POLi or the unique Flexpin voucher option. For the purpose of the review I wanted to go with the most familiar option, a cash purchase, but when I tried to go down this route I quickly realised that CoinLoft had a minimum order of $200, not exactly a trivial amount when making a first purchase. I went back to the homepage and tried POLi pay, but again was put off by the high minimum order required, in this case $100, It looked like I was going to have to try use a Flexpin voucher.
Flexpin turned out to be a simple and effective option. I used the map provided by CoinLoft to find a location nearby, a local newsagents. and went in store to purchase a $20 voucher from the cashier in the form of a receipt with a 16 digit code. I headed back to CoinLoft later that day to swap my voucher for some bitcoin. The experience was straightforward although I had to supply my own bitcoin wallet, not an issue for me but certainly an obstacle many other services have overcome by providing one for you. Up until now I had avoided the identity verification process most services have required, and it turned out CoinLoft was no different, before I could confirm my order I had to upload some documents via Green Id. Once I had completed my process the bitcoin arrived in the wallet in around 30 minutes without issue. I was disappointed in the high processing fee however, my $20 dollar voucher only bought me $15 dollars of bitcoin.
CoinLoft have done a great job in keeping the buying process as fast as possible by placing all the options right on the home page, with no need to create an account or remember any passwords. Although the minimum order limits of cash and POLi payments are unsuitable for a small purchase and introduction to bitcoin, the Flexpin method impressed me in its simplicity. I liked that there was no time limit on my purchase and I could use the voucher at my leisure. Flexpin vouchers also appear to have good outlet coverage but if you were hoping to buy a small amount of bitcoin without leaving the house you may need to look at another service. The SMS notification is a nice feature, providing an alert once your purchase is complete.
The direction provided in making my purchase was adequate and I felt confident through each step. For a beginner CoinLoft do a decent job in guiding users, but assume that you already posses a certain level of knowledge and you have your own bitcoin address to send any bitcoin to. There is no clear tutorial on creating a wallet or advice on where to start which I found disappointing. I did find a PDF 'Bitcoin Guide' in their FAQ, although it seems out of date and did not cover either the Flexpin or POLi payment methods.
By requiring users to provide their own wallet address CoinLoft avoid the need for many of the security measures offered by more elaborate services. This does leave security responsibilities up to the individual users which comes with its own set of problems, especially in regards to beginner bitcoin users.
CoinLoft proudly proclaim there association with the Australian Digital Currency Commerce Association (ADCCA) as an industry member, which certainly provides a level of assurance, along with their background as a software company. I found it difficult to find any reference to specific team members or executives however. In regards to activity and social media, they appear to have a useful blog and updated twitter account. The support procedure is very much on the basic side, with a simple contact sheet although I did receive a prompt and accurate reply to my request.
CoinLoft as a service is another bare bones approach to the bitcoin buying process, although they do offer a unique and effective method of purchase in Flexpin vouchers. For simply buying bitcoin the site is useful but it lacks the additional services many other providers offer such as providing a bitcoin wallet or the set up of regular purchases. I would conclude they are specifically useful for new users that can visit a local Flexpin outlet. The limits imposed on both cash and POLi payments are significantly higher than other Australian services without the additional advantages others can provide users.
Review date: August 2016.