The search for mainstream adoption remains a central theme in the cryptocurrency space, and crypto debit cards have been seen as a great way to bridge the gap between traditional finance and digital currencies.
Bitcoin debit cards allow both cryptos and fiat currencies to integrate in a usable way and cards holders can transfer funds onto their cards and make payments and purchases at restaurants, cinemas, retail outlets, and a host of other places. The cards make it much more straightforward to spend cryptos, and often do not require much of the specialized knowledge that comes with obtaining and storing digital assets.
This makes it much easier for the majority of people to get involved with cryptocurrencies and over the past few years a number of companies have ventured into the space in order to provide the public with a range of prepaid debit card spending options.
However, as card providers rely on the services provided by VISA and MasterCard, any issues with the credit card giants can lead to serious hold ups, and an issue between VISA and the Gibraltar-based WaveCrest Bank last year led to VISA announcing that WaveCrest Holdings would no longer be authorized to operate Visa® prepaid cards both inside and outside of the European Economic Area (EEA).
As WaveCrest dealt with the majority of crypto debit card companies, this was a significant setback to the sector, however, a number of projects are up and running, and allow people to spend their funds via physical and/or virtual debit cards, and here are some of the best choices.
What to Look for in a Crypto Debit Card
While the final choice of Bitcoin debit card depends on the individual and their particular set of circumstances, there are a number of factors that should be taken into consideration when choosing a card and/or service provider and these include:
- Jurisdiction: Due to how the cryptocurrency industry is currently being regulated, each debit card solution will only be available in certain areas. Users need to double check that their region is supported by a debit card provider who also remains regulatory compliant and aims to stay up to date with any changes in legislation.
- Ease of Use: Bitcoin debit cards should be easy to use; however, funding options, fees, and spending limits can complicate the experience. Also, as the cards are often attached to online exchange accounts, the ability to easily access your account and/or get in contact with a member of the support team will greatly influence your overall experience. Virtual cards can also help to greatly simplify the spending process.
- Security: As ever, with increased security comes greater peace of mind and protocols such as site encryption, two factor authentication, and email/SMS notifications can help to further secure users accounts. Also integration with the major credit card providers enables users to make use of verification protocols such as MasterCard’s 3D Secure.
- Reliability: With Bitcoin still only ten years old, the sector is still youthful and it makes sense to try and choose the most established and respected service providers. Cards that are supplied by projects that are fully compliant, transparent, and integrated with the traditional banking system as well as with Visa and MasterCard stand the best chance of surviving in the long run, and to not suddenly disappear or halt their services.
- Fees: While the world of digital assets is inherently volatile in nature, Bitcoin debit card users are still motivated to seek the best price rates, and spending on the card shouldn’t be hindered by an overly restrictive fee structure. Projects that maintain transparent and simple fees structures are also well positioned to retain their user base.
- Features: Bitcoin debit cards all provide the same core functions of facilitating online/offline spending and allowing card holders to make ATM withdrawals. However, additional features such as altcoin support, banking services, payments/remittance services, and foreign exchange functionality also come in handy.
- Incentives: Certain projects focus more on providing a secure and reliable debit card service, while newer projects sometimes aim to attract new users by offering discounts, cashback programs, and referral programs that make their service more attractive.
The Coinbase Card allows Coinbase customers to instantly spend the funds they have on their accounts and is available for Coinbase customers based in the UK, Spain, Germany, France, Italy, Ireland, and The Netherlands.
The Visa debit card is linked to a user’s crypto account balances on Coinbase, and when using the card, Coinbase instantly converts the crypto to fiat currency which is then used to complete a purchase.
|Coinbase Bitcoin Debit Card|
|Availability||UK, Selected EEA|
|Supported Currency||EUR, GBP, BTC|
As expected, the card can be used anywhere that accepts Visa payments and customers can use the card to make purchases via contactless, Chip and PIN technology, and also make ATM cash withdrawals. Users are able to spend from any of the cryptocurrency balances they hold on their accounts such as BTC, BCH, ETH, and LTC, and the card also supports GBP and EUR fiat currencies.
The mobile app is available in both i0S and Android versions and also provides instant receipts, transaction summaries, and spending categories.
Fees, Limits, and Incentives
In keeping with the exchange’s general business model, Coinbase operates a transparent fee structure and there is a card issuance fee of £4.95, however, domestic purchase transactions are fee free, while intra-EEA purchase transactions accrue a fee of 0.20% of the POS transaction value, and international purchases accrue a transaction fee: of 3.00% of the POS transaction value.
Domestic cash withdrawals (both ATM and Over the Counter “OTC” withdrawals) of up to £200 per month are free, and there is a 1% fee on the value of the withdrawal for any amount over £200 per month. International cash withdrawals are also free up to £200 a month, and come with a 2% fee on the value of the withdrawal thereafter.
It’s also worth noting that Coinbase charges a crypto liquidation fee of 2.49% per transaction as spending triggers the sale or “liquidation” of digital assets held on a customer’s account in order to fund the fiat transaction. This makes the card slightly more expensive than other options, and the card also comes with a daily ATM withdrawal limit of £500, and a daily spending limit of £10,000. There is also a monthly purchase limit of £20,000 and a yearly purchase limit of £50,000.
The Coinbase card doesn’t include any major incentives, however, when the card was launched, the exchange waived the £4.95 card issuance fee for the first 1,000 people who signed up to join the waitlist.
As expected, the Coinbase card is a great option for anyone who already uses the exchange, and acts as a straightforward method for turning funds held on Coinbase into spendable assets. Coinbase is an established operator, and one of the more respected, and transparent projects in the industry, however, in order to use the card you must have a Coinbase account, and the fees are somewhat higher than other cards that are available.
While based in London, Wirex provides a comprehensive cryptocurrency-oriented range of personal and business solutions and the company also has offices in Kiev, Ukraine and Tokyo, Japan.
The project is one of the most established in the space, and has a transaction volume of $2.0 billion and close to 2 million users. Wirex provides a contactless Visa card, and allows you to connect your credit and debit cards, store cryptocurrencies, and purchase Bitcoin and selected altcoins with competitive exchange rates and high limits.
|Wirex Bitcoin Debit Card|
|Supported Currencies||USD, EUR, GBP, BTC|
You can also exchange between cryptos and fiat, and make low fee direct money transfers. Supported cryptocurrencies include BTC, LTC, ETH, XRP, XLM, DAI, NANO, and WAVES while GBP, EUR, and USD are the supported fiat currencies.
It is also possible to make instant exchanges between these supported currencies using transparent live prices and exchange rates. In order to use the service you will need to create a Wirex account, fund it, and then add funds to your Wirex Visa card. You can fund your account by performing a bank transfer, using a credit or debit card, or by depositing cryptocurrency.
Wirex provides different wallets for each cryptocurrency, and allows you to order a card in GBP, EUR, or USD. When selecting a GBP card, you will get to use a Visa debit card with a bank account number and sort code attached; however, when opting to use USD and EUR, you get a prepaid card.
Fees, Limits, and Incentives
Wirex operates a generally low fee service, with a number of functions remaining fee free. There are no commissions or transactional fees, and top-ups, regardless of the method are also fee free. The majority of transactions are also free, and this includes online card purchases and in-store card purchases and cashback, as well as cryptocurrency or fiat exchanges, and Wirex crypto /fiat transfers.
In addition, card issuance and delivery are also free of charge and there are no fees attached to using the mobile application, however, a small fee is charged for card management, which is currently at around £1.00/€1.20/$1.50 each month.
When using the card, you generally just pay the price you see for each service, product or type of exchange, although, there is a fee attached to ATM use, and this is around £1.75/€2.25/$2.50 inside Europe, and £2.25/€2.75/$3.50 outside of Europe, and there is also a 1% monthly maintenance fee.
Wirex also imposes a purchase limit of £7500/ €8000/$10,000 for online and in-store purchases, and the limit for cashback in-store is £50 per day. ATM withdrawals are limited to £250/€250/$250 per day, while there is also a transfer limit of 10 BTC per day, while credit and debit card top-ups are limited to £5,000/€5,000/$5,000 per day. Users must also stick to a maximum card balance of £15k/€16k/$20k.
Wirex also operates a Cryptoback Reward Program, and allows you to earn crypto rewards when you use the Visa debit card. You are able to can earn 0.5% of your spending back in Bitcoin whenever you make payments and/or purchases.
The Bitcoin you earn via the program is automatically awarded whenever you spend by using the card, and instantly redeemable, and can be spent and/or converted as you wish. The team have also recently launched their WXT Token which enables further fee discounts and a Cryptoback rate of 1.5%.
Wirex is a good option for anyone who wants to spend their funds at any outlets that accept VISA cards, and the range of currencies available, and competitive exchange rates make the Wirex card a good option for travellers. However, the service is currently unavailable in the US, and the company is focused on the European market, and plans to expand into the US and Asia in the future.
Revolut has been a Fintech success story and has set about disrupting the finance industry through its mobile banking app. Revolut’s services are available in the EEA, Switzerland and Australia, and on top of providing mobile banking services, the UK based company also allows its customers to purchase cryptocurrencies.
In order to do this, it’s necessary to sign up for one of the paid monthly subscription plans and the Premium Subscription costs £6.99/€7.99 a month while the Metal Subscription costs £12.99/€13.99 a month.
The paid plans allow users to access the digital assets integrated into the platform, and purchase Bitcoin as well as Ethereum, Bitcoin Cash, Litecoin, and Ripple. Revolut maintains a standard rate and adds a 1.5% mark-up to the final purchase price.
The process of buying or selling cryptos is relatively quick and straightforward and everything can be done at the touch of a button. Any cryptos held in your account can be sent to your Revolut contacts instantly, and you can spend your cryptocurrencies via a Revolut MasterCard or Visa debit card, as your holdings are automatically converted into your local currency when you make a purchase.
However, while being a quick and easy option, Revolut might not be for everyone as you are not in possession of your private keys, and are not able to transfer your crypto holdings outside of the Revolut system, and the mobile bank effectively retains custody of your digital assets. As a result, some cryptocurrency advocates may not view this as a “true” method of purchasing Bitcoin.
Despite this, Revolut incorporates a range of features that make it a solid choice and these include UK and Euro IBAN accounts, free virtual cards, free overseas medical insurance, free unlimited FX volumes, and delayed flight and delayed baggage insurance. The team are also operating referral and discount programs which should see the app continuing to grow in popularity which should make the apps closed system more useful for anyone also looking to transfer cryptos to friends and family.
BitPay is another established operator, and the US based cryptocurrency payments provider has been around since 2011 and has onboarded over 10,000 merchants. BitPay offers a prepaid Visa card to US citizens which can be loaded with funds via a Bitpay account.
The debit card is fully operational in 50 United States territories, available nationwide, and is also globally accepted. BitPay users can make payments and purchases via their debit card at a range of outlets that accept Visa cards.
Users can fund their accounts by depositing cryptos or by making direct debit deposits and ACH bank transfers, and BitPay currently supports both BTC and BCH, and account/card balances are held in US dollars.
|BitPay Bitcoin Debit Card|
|Supported Currencies||USD, BTC|
As the service is only available to US citizens, in order to use BitPay it is necessary to submit a government ID, a proof of home address document, and a valid Social Security number. In addition, the company also provides a range of business services that allow the easy integration of Bitcoin into everyday business activities.
Fees, Limits, and Incentives
BitPay also maintains a general low fee structure, although the card costs $9.95 and takes around a week to arrive. The card is free of transaction and maintenance fees, and users need to pay a $2 fee for ATM and over the counter withdrawals which rises to $3 when these activities are conducted outside of the US. Similar to Wirex the majority of transactions are free, although anyone choosing to deposit funds by ACH will be required to pay a $5 fee.
Bitpay also charges 3% fee for any purchases or payments made outside of the US, as a result of currency conversion costs, and anyone not planning to use the card regularly should note that there is a dormancy fee of $5 a month for each month following a 90 day period of inactivity until the card is used again.
The account/card comes with a load and purchase limit of $10,000 a day, and a cash withdrawal limit of $3000 a day, and $750 per transaction. There is also a card to card transfer limit of $500 per day and a maximum card balance of $25,000.
At the moment, BitPay isn’t running any incentive programs and users will have to look elsewhere for cashback and discount schemes, however the service is a solid option for anyone based in the US.
Bitpay is a well established and widely acclaimed company for processing Bitcoin transactions, and their cards are widely accepted around the world. However, the service is only for US citizens and the company currently don’t incorporate discounts or any special incentives to use the card, therefore it’s best suited to anyone looking for a reliable, straightforward Bitcoin payment solution.
The MCO Visa debit card provides a service best suited to serious cryptocurrency enthusiasts and incorporates an extensive range of card options, digital currencies, rewards, and incentives.
The company behind the card has rebranded from Monaco to Crypto.com, and the Asia based project also incorporates a mobile wallet that allows users to buy, exchange, and transfer fiat and cryptocurrencies, as well as a crypto credit service that allows customers to deposit their cryptos to receive credit to spend with their MCO Visa Card.
|MCO Bitcoin Debit Card|
|Supported Currency||USD, BTC|
|Perks/Bonuses||Cashbacks & Discounts|
The service is specifically aimed at people based in Singapore and is also currently being rolled out for US citizens and is available in 37 states. Supported currencies include BTC, BNB, ETH, LTC, XRP, and MCO as well as EUR, USD, AUD, HKD, JPY, GBP, and SGD and users are prompted to fund their accounts by making ACH or IBAN deposits via the MCO mobile app. Also, when registering via the mobile app it’s necessary to provide your full legal name, a picture of a government-issued ID and a “selfie” picture.
Fees, Limits, and Incentives
There are five MCO cards available and the exact type of service received depends on the card you hold. The differences in the fees and limits range across the card tiers from the lowest level for Midnight Blue to the highest for the Obsidian Black card, and the free Midnight Blue card offers a $200 monthly limit for free ATM withdrawals, and this increases to $1,000 for the Obsidian Black card, once the monthly limit has been exceeded, further withdrawals are charged a 2% fee.
The interbank exchange rate monthly limit ranged from $2,000 to an unlimited amount depending on the card and a 0.5% fee is charged on the amount over the limit, and anyone looking for a full list of details can find all the cards limits and fees in the Settings, in the Fees & Limits section of the app.
The MCO card sets itself apart with its range of incentives and rewards and users can benefit from no shipping, setup, monthly, or annual fees for holding MCO tokens. By locking up or “staking” MCO tokens, users gain access to premium features which include from 1% to 5% cash back on general purchases, and a possible 10% cashback on Airbnb and Expedia, and a 100% cashback on Spotify and Netflix.
Depending on the card and services desired, the lockup amount ranges from zero to 50,000 MCO, and users must commit to purchasing MCO tokens and staking them for 6 months.
MCO is a great option for anyone with a deep interest in using a wide range of currencies and taking part in staking, it is also best suited to people looking to travel frequently and make use of the cashback programs.
The card offers some of the best rewards available; however, it is not yet freely available with the service starting in Singapore, and then moving to the United States, with the European Union, and Canada planned to be covered at some point in the future.
Cryptopay allows users to purchase Bitcoin via their bank cards and store BTC on the supplied mobile wallet. The payments solutions provider started in 2013, and currently has over 90 employees with offices in London, Lisbon, and St. Petersburg. Cryptopay also operates the C.Pay card which links to users’ Bitcoin wallets and allows them to spend their funds wherever credit cards are accepted.
The card is primarily aimed at customers in Europe, and customers can order EUR, USD/GBP, and RUB virtual and physical cards. Via Cryptopay users can convert the funds held in their Bitcoin Wallet to a supported fiat currency and then load their C.Pay Prepaid Card.
|Cryptopay Bitcoin Debit Card|
|Supported Currencies||USD, EUR, GBP, BTC|
Users are also required to pay for a prepaid card by funding their Cryptopay account with Pounds, Dollars, Euros, or Bitcoin and then going through the order process.
Fees, Limits, and Incentives
The plastic card can be ordered for €15/$15/£15, while the virtual card costs €2.50/£2.50/$2.50. Both cards also come with a foreign transaction fee of 3%, a loading fee of 1%, and a third party loading fee of 1.99%.
Depending on the card type, there is also a monthly service fee of €1/$1/£1. Cryptopay also uses a two tier system based on verification and unverified virtual card users are basically restricted to making $1,000/€1000/£800 worth of purchases.
Verified users can make single top ups of up to $10,000/€10,000/£8000 and the maximum daily load is set at the double the amount. The number of loads per day, lifetime loads, and value of online transactions are also all unlimited.
Plastic cards accrue a domestic ATM transaction fee of €2.25/£1.75/$2.50, and an international ATM transaction fee of €2.75/£2.25/$3.50. Unverified physical cards face the same restrictions as virtual cards alongside a single ATM transaction limit of €200/£160/$200, and a daily ATM withdrawal limit of €400/£320/$400, however, these figures rise to €1000/£800/$1000, and €2000/£1600/$2000 for verified users.
The limits for verified users with regards to single top ups, maximum daily loads, number of loads per day, lifetime loads, and value of online transactions are the same as the for verified virtual card users. The number of ATM transactions allowed per day rises from two to five when users become verified.
While there are no special incentives, Cryptopay is another option for anyone based in Europe, and their unverified card option may prove handy for some while verified accounts can send unlimited amounts online, and have no maximum load value.
However, fees are slightly higher than other options, and the USA card’s fees are denoted in Pound Sterling. Also the service isn’t available in the USA or Asia, although the team are aiming to bring the service to Singapore in the near future.
SpectroCoin Prepaid Card
SpectroCoin is a cryptocurrency exchange and payments processing provider that enables its users to purchase a range of cryptocurrencies and store and transfer them via the project’s mobile wallet. Based in Lithuania, the project provides prepaid cards that are denominated in EUR or USD, and allows users to exchange BTC, and other digital assets such as ETH, NEM, DASH, and USDT in order to spend via the card.
The project is high on compliance and all users must pass KYC verification, there are standard and VIP card options and VIP card holders must provide a passport or ID card and a utility bill.
|SpectroCoin Bitcoin Debit Card|
|Supported Currencies||USD, EUR, BTC|
The SpectroCoin Prepaid Card Program is facilitated by CreditCard Solutions UK Ltd a company registered in England and the solution is primarily aimed at cryptocurrency users located in Europe.
Fees, Limits, and Incentives
There are both physical and virtual Bitcoin debit cards available; however, shipping for a USD physical card costs $50.00 and takes around two to four days to arrive, while the EUR virtual card is supplied for a price of €9.00, and is instantly generated.
There is a monthly $1.00/€1.00 service charge fee, although this is waivered whenever the card has a zero balance. There is also a card load via wallet fee of 1%, and a POS/online transaction fee of $0.25/€0.25, as well as a 3% charge for currency exchanges. ATM withdrawals also accrue a charge of $2.50.
As stated, all SpectroCoin customers must pass KYC verification in order to use the card and the standard card option allows a maximum top-up amount per day of $250/€250, with a load limit for the same amount, and a maximum card balance of $2500/€2500.
ATM withdrawals are limited to $1,500, however, users are able to make an unlimited amount of POS/online transactions. By going through more detailed verification and opting for the VIP option, card limits improve to a maximum top-up amount per day of $5,000 / €4,000 with the same load limit restrictions. The maximum card balance is also unlimited as is the number of allowed POS/online transactions, however, the ATM withdrawal limit remains the same as the standard card at $1,500.
It is mandatory for SpectroCoin debit card users to be KYC verified, but you still will not be allowed to deposit more than $250 per day. Only those who obtain the VIP status after submitting their ID and utility bill will increase their withdrawal limits to $5,000.
The SpectroCoin prepaid card is another viable option for anyone based in Europe, however, the team are not currently engaged in offering any incentives or promotions to entice potential customers to choose it over the Coinbase card for example.
However, the project is transparent in nature and its high regulatory compliance levels will suit anyone looking to submit a passport, ID card and a utility bill in order to make use of a VIP card that comes with an unlimited maximum card balance and also allows unlimited POS/online transactions.
The instantly available virtual card may also come in handy for anyone looking for a solution that enables them to quickly use their funds to make online purchases.
Bitwala is another European cryptocurrency exchange and works in conjunction with German fintech operation Solaris Bank to allow its users to buy and sell Bitcoin, and make both crypto and fiat transfers, with SEPA transfers a significant feature. Bitwala also allows its customers to make POS and online payments via a MasterCard debit card.
While the company’s services are currently unavailable to US citizens, anyone based in the EEA can open a Bitwala account as long as they are over 18, and provide a valid proof of identification and a proof of address.
As expected, Bitwala also focused on remaining compliant and maintaining trust, and deposits up to €100,000 are protected by the German Deposit Guarantee Scheme (DGS).
|Bitwala Bitcoin Debit Card|
|Supported Currencies||EUR, BTC|
The contactless Bitwala debit card allows users to instantly exchange their cryptocurrency account balance into Euros and make online or in store purchases, and withdraw funds at the nearest ATM.
Fees, Limits, and Incentives
Users are currently limited to one card per account, and the exchange generally operates a low fee structure with card orders, card transactions, and ATM withdrawals all fee free. However, reordering a card costs €9.50, and although Bitwala does not charge ATM withdrawal fees, some ATMs have their own fees attached, so users will need to confirm before making a withdrawal.
Also, Bitwala applies a 1% trading fee on its platform and as funds held in BTC are sold for Euros when using the card, each trading/spending action may incur the 1% fee, and the team elaborate on their pricing schedule in more detail here.
Spending limits are applied on a daily and monthly basis, and they currently stand at daily limits of €1,500 for online payments which can be changed to €5,000, and €1,500 for offline payments which can be changed to €3,000. ATM withdrawals are restricted to €3,000 a day and both online and offline payments and ATM withdrawals face a monthly limit of €10,000.
The Bitwala team are currently not engaging in any specific promotions or incentives, however, accounts are free and the debit card is quite a low cost option. The service isn’t available to people in the US, and the platform only supports EUR/BTC transfers, however, the Bitwala prepaid debit card is another viable option for anyone in the EEA.
Despite the sector being negatively affected by the fallout from the WaveCrest/Visa issue, there are still a number of companies providing prepaid debit card options. Unsurprisingly, the best Bitcoin debit card option very much depends on each person’s individual requirements, and cost, location, and supported currencies are important factors to consider.
Bitcoin users in the United States and Europe are currently well served and have a number of cards to choose from with Bitpay being a solid established option for anyone in the US. For people located in the EU, the Coinbase card is another reliable option although it requires users to sign up to the exchange in order to use the debit card, and as a result the Cryptopay card is also a viable option.
Additionally, Cryptopay doesn’t require full KYC verification and unverified EUR cards can load and spend a total of €1,000, and make ATM withdrawals of up to €400 per day.
More frequent spenders and anyone looking to take advantage of discounts, cashback payments, staking, and a wide range of altcoin support should try the MCO card from Crypto.com. The MCO card range is the most extensive currently on offer and provides more dedicated cryptocurrency users with a variety of incentive programs to keep them engaged.
The Wirex card is more simplified alternative, and allows people to spend their crypto holdings while also benefiting from cashback payments and further fee reductions for utilizing the WXT token.
All in all, due to the regulatory uncertainty surrounding Bitcoin debit cards, the best options combine a mix of availability, reliability, and security and allow customers to use their cards as desired without too much fuss. It makes sense to choose the debit card service which best suits your needs, and to keep an eye on news developments to make sure that you are always receiving the best service available.
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