Debit cards tied to cryptocurrency wallets provide an opportunity to spend your digital coins almost anywhere fiat money is accepted. It’s a working solution, at least until wider adoption comes around. That’s why they’ve become so popular in the crypto community. Challenges of different sorts have negatively affected some of the earlier offerings, but it’s good to see products that have survived and new ones that are gaining traction or are about to enter the market.
A Global Crypto Debit Card
During the past year, crypto winter forced businesses to downsize and adjust to unfavorable market and regulatory conditions. Many are still trying to adapt and some are already seeking opportunities elsewhere. For example, the company that issued Shift, arguably the first bitcoin debit card in the U.S. which allowed holders to spend from their Coinbase wallet, is not offering it anymore. It’s now operating under a new brand name, Apto Payments. And in Europe, many card providers suffered a hard blow when Visa terminated Wavecrest’s membership – some have recovered, others are yet to return.
Not everything is so bleak, however. Paycent is a crypto debit card that’s been available worldwide since relatively recently but according to its website, over 53,000 cards have already been delivered globally. They enable users of the Paycent wallet to spend their digital assets in brick and mortar stores as well as with online merchants through conversion to fiat. You can also withdraw funds in local currency from ATMs in just about any country. The card can be ordered from the platform’s wallet which supports a number of coins including bitcoin core, ethereum, litecoin, dash, and the Binance token.
Paycent’s operator, Singapore-based company Texcent Asia, issues three types of cards – Mastercard, Union Pay International and China Union Pay. The Ruby card (CUP) has spending and withdrawal limits of $2,500, while the Sapphire card (UPI) and the Solitaire card (MC) are limited to $5,600 for transactions and $1,650 for withdrawals. They come as both physical and virtual cards and are delivered for $49. You can find out more about the applicable fees and limits on the Paycent card site.
At the moment, Paycent is offering one of the few, if not the only, crypto debit cards with global coverage. Nevertheless, there’s a number of other options that we’ve previously reviewed and here are those that are still available in mid-2019. Wirex is a popular choice in Europe. Its Visa card supports conversion from several major cryptocurrencies and provides a 0.5% BTC cashback on in-store purchases. The card issued by Bitpay remains a working option for U.S. residents who can use it to shop with Visa merchants anywhere in the world. They can spend bitcoin cash (BCH) and bitcoin core (BTC) from their Bitpay wallet and the cryptos are converted to dollars.
Cryptopay is a platform that offers a prepaid card which can be loaded from its wallet supporting four cryptocurrencies – bitcoin core, ethereum, litecoin, and ripple. The card is currently available for clients in the U.K., Europe and Russia, with negotiations underway with a new issuer in Singapore. It comes in plastic and virtual form and allows holders to spend their coins both online and offline as well as withdraw fiat cash worldwide.
Cards Supporting Bitcoin Cash
A growing number of card issuers now support bitcoin cash in their products, with the above-mentioned Bitpay being the most notable example. Other platforms added the cryptocurrency more recently. Crypto.com’s MCO Visa card has allowed you to spend BCH since the end of May, when the Hong Kong-based payment processor announced it had introduced the coin to its wallet and card app. The company started shipping its debit cards to customers in Singapore last October and promised to take them to the U.S. through a partnership between its Florida-registered affiliate Foris Inc. and the Metropolitan Commercial Bank in New York. Its wallet is currently available in 36 states but there’s been no update on the plans for the card itself.
Crypto enthusiasts who have a Uquid account can order one of their virtual and plastic cards. The platform promises unlimited online spending and ATM withdrawals as well as fee-free POS purchases. You can top up your balance with a staggering number of coins and tokens, a total of 89 so far, including bitcoin cash. Your digital assets can be converted to British pounds, euros and U.S. dollars. The card is not offered in the United States, however, and you’ll be able to determine if your country is eligible only after logging in to your account. Creating one is free of charge but ordering the physical card will cost you up to $17, depending on the fiat currency you’ve chosen.
Bitnovo buys and sells more than 20 major cryptocurrencies. The trading platform has a mobile app and issues debit cards with which you can pay in stores and online with coins converted to euros. To use it you don’t need to have an associated bank account and you can top up with crypto. Bitnovo added BCH to its options in September last year. It also supports bitcoin core, dash, litecoin, ripple, zcash and stellar. Bitcard allows you to withdraw fiat from ATMs for €1 per transaction and there’s a monthly fee of €1.20. The card is currently available only for EU residents. Ordering a Basic Level card does not require any registration but you can only load up to €250 on it. The Level Plus (up to €2,500 per year) and the Premium Level cards (maximum €15,000) do come with the obligation to share personal data.
An offering known from before the Wavecrest saga is now returning to the market. Belize-based company Advcash is preparing to launch its virtual and plastic cards in the European Union, Russia and other countries. The fiat currency of the ADV Cards will be either euro or U.S. dollar but holders will be able to withdraw any currency at teller machines around the globe. You’ll be able to fund your card with the ADV wallet which supports BCH along with other leading cryptocurrencies such as BTC, ETH, LTC, HRP, and ZEC. Advcash promises free shipping for their cards and no maintenance fees but you need to pay 14.99 in euros or dollars for the card. Detailed information about other fees and limits can be found on the issuer’s website.
A new player in the niche is the Spanish fintech startup 2gether, which is targeting its products and services at the crypto community in Europe. The platform released its prepaid Visa card in April and its holders can use it in any of the 19 members of the Eurozone with plans to expand availability to the rest of the EU. It allows you to spend your digital coins anywhere Visa is accepted through instant conversion to EUR, which is the common fiat currency of the Eurozone countries. Bitcoin cash (BCH) is one of seven supported cryptocurrencies along with ETH, BTC, XPR, EOS, XLM, and LTC. 2gether lets you hold and manage euro and crypto balances in the same app as well as to buy and sell digital coins.
Are you using any of the crypto debit cards mentioned in this article or other similar products? Let us know in the comments section below.
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Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Paycent, Uquid, 2gether.