Crypto Debit Cards
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.
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.
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.
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.
Nexo is a new platform which allows you to take out a loan using your crypto as collateral, this essentially means you deposit cryptocurrency to their platform and they send you cash. Your crypto is not sold, they hold it for you while you pay back the loan.
Its a great idea for a number of reasons – it means you don’t lose access to your cryptocurrencies, you will receive them back once the loan is paid off. Also because you are not selling, you can avoid paying taxes such as Capital gains tax.
The platform is super easy to use, you can get signed up in a couple of minutes and begin the depositing process.
For people looking to spend using a card, they offer you the free Nexo Mastercard which allows you to access your money worldwide with no monthly fees and no foreign exchange fees.
The card works alongside their mobile app so you can see all your transactions and even enjoy 5% cashback on your purchases.
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.