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What is Bitcoin debit cards

29.06.2021
752
26 min.

Bitcoin (BTC)

Bitcoin is a decentralized digital currency created and operated exclusively on the Internet. It appeared in 2008 and its main task was the transparency of transactions, the eradication of corruption and the limitation of fees so that each owner could control their funds and understand what was happening to them. You can buy anything for cryptocurrency on the Internet, the same as for another currency, cryptocurrency is also traded on exchanges. Millions of computers around the world create bitcoins using programs for calculating cryptographic tasks of various complexity.

What is Bitcoin debit cards

Bitcoin exchanges with credit or debit cards

Attention! Coinbase is biggest Bitcoin broker in the world.

Here you can instantly buy Bitcoin worth up to $150 or €150 a week by your debit card usage in the following counties:

  • the USA
  • Europe
  • Australia
  • Canada
  • the United Kingdom

Note! 3.99% flat fee on all buying made with a debit card is collected by Coinbase and it is one of the lowest for customers in Europe and the US.

Below is the step-by-step instruction how to purchase bitcoins at Coinbase with the help of a debit card:

    • Create a user account. Have your own account at this platform
    • Tie a debit card. Enter your debit card details at the account
    • ID verification. Validate you ID

Purchase your bitcoins.

    It can be done by utilizing your debit card

The top Bitcoin debit cards

Seeking mass adoption remains a central topic in the sphere of cryptocurrency and crypto debit cards are considered as a wonderful way to close the gap between cryptocurrencies and traditional finance.

Important! These debit cards afford to integrate both and fiat currency and cryptocurrency in an easy-to-use way, and cardholders can transfer funds to cards as well as pay and make purchasing in retail outlets, cinemas, restaurants and many other places.

With this card it is easier to spend cryptocurrency and often no special knowledge related to receiving and keeping digital assets is required.

For many people this greatly simplifies the process of getting involved in cryptocurrencies. In addition, over the past several years a number of companies have decided to provide the public with various spending options with prepaid debit cards.

Since card issuing companies rely on the VISA and MasterCard provided services, any problems with the credit card giants could result in serious delays. Thus, the issue between Gibraltar bank, WaveCrest and Visa forced Visa to announce that WaveCrest Holdings will no longer be eligible to use prepaid Visa cards either outside or inside the European Economic Area (shortly EEA).

Due to the fact that WaveCrest has dealt with most of the companies that issue cryptocurrency debit cards, this has appeared to be the major obstacle for the segment, but a lot of projects are already up and running and are allowing clients to spend funds using virtual and plastic debit cards.

The idea of crypto debit cards

Though the choice of a proper Bitcoin debit card is dependent on a customer's needs and specific circumstances, there are a number of factors to consider when selecting a proper card and service supplier. They include:

  • Jurisdiction: because of the way the cryptocurrency industry is currently regulated, a definite card may only be available in specified regions. Users should check thoroughly whether the region is served by the provider that is also compliant and committed to staying updated about any legislative changes.
  • Simplicity of usage: Bitcoin debit cards should be simple-to-use but funding options, spending limits and charges may complicate this process. In addition, since cards are often tied to online exchange accounts, the possibility to have an easy access to your account and contact the support service will greatly impact the common experience. Virtual cards may also simplify the spending procedure drastically.
  • Security: improved security leads to greater calmness and such protocols as double authentication, website encryption as well as SMS and e-mail notifications can help properly protect user accounts. Additionally, integrations with the main credit card issuers enable users to leverage checking protocols like 3D Secure by MasterCard.
  • Credibility: Bitcoin has been created only 10 years ago and this sector is still young and it makes sense to select more respected and credible service providers. Cards issued by such companies are fully transparent, compliant and integrated with the regular banking system. MasterCard as well as Visa have the best chances of surviving in the long term rather than suddenly disappearing or discontinuing their service delivery.
  • Fees: while the digital asset world is inherently unstable, holders of Bitcoin debit cards are still interested in finding the best prices and an excessively limitative fee structure shouldn't discourage spending on the card. The projects maintaining a simple and transparent commission structure are also well positioned to maintain their userbase.
  • Incentives: some projects are more focused on providing a reliable and safe services while new projects sometimes are aimed to attract new clients by providing cashback and referral programs as well as discounts which make them more attractive.
  • Features: every Bitcoin debit card renders the same basic online and offline cost relief features and enables cardholders to withdraw funds from ATMs. However, additional functions like banking, altcoin support, payment and transfer services as well as currency exchange can also come in handy.

Top Crypto debit cards

Below is a selection of the top crypto cards that are currently presented on the market.

Nexo

It is a new platform allowing users to obtain a loan using your cryptocurrency as collateral which actually means cryptocurrency depositing on the platform and after that you get cash.

Note! Your cryptocurrency is not for sale, they hold it for you during the loan repayment.

This is a nice idea for a variety of reasons because nominally you have access to the cryptocurrency and you receive it back after the loan is paid off. Also, since you are not putting it up to selling, taxpaying like capital gains tax can be avoided.

The platform is very easy to use, you can register in a couple of minutes and start the deposit process.

For those looking to spend money with a card, the free Nexo Mastercard is on offer and it allows clients to access their money around the world without monthly and currency exchange levies.

The card operates in conjunction with the mobile app and that means you can monitor all transactions and even get 5% cashback on your purchases.

The card of Coinbase

This card affords Coinbase customers to momentarily spend funds available on the accounts. It's available to customers in Italy, France, Germany, Spain, Ireland, the UK, the Netherlands.

Visa debit cards are tied to the Coinbase cryptocurrency account balance and when the card is used, Coinbase instantly converts the this currency to fiat currency which is afterwards used for buying.

Predictably, it is possible to utilize the card wherever Visa payments are accepted. Clients can use it to make purchasing through contactless technologies, chips and PINs and to withdraw money from ATMs. Users can spend from any cryptocurrency balance held in accounts such as ETH, BTC, LTC and BCH. The card supports EUR and GBP fiat currencies too.

The mobile application is developed for both Android and i0S and it provides transaction summaries, instant receipts and expense categories.

Fees, Limits and Benefits

In compliance with the common business model of the exchange, Coinbase applies a transparent payment structure and the charge for a card issuance of £4.95. However, in-country purchase transactions are free and intra-EEA transactions are charged at 0,20% of the POS transaction cost and for international purchases a transaction fee is charged at 3.00% of the POS transaction cost.

In-country cash withdrawals (ATM and non-receipt cash withdrawals) for the sum up to £200 monthly are charge-free and the 1% fee on the withdrawal amount over £200 a month is applied. Cash withdrawals abroad up to £200 a month are also free of charge and thereafter the 2% fee will be charged on the amount withdrawn.

It also should be noted that Coinbase charges a commission for cryptocurrency liquidation at the rate of 2.49% for a transaction as the costs trigger the sale or, in other words, liquidation of digital tokens kept in a client's account for funding a fiat transaction. It leads to a bigger value of the card compared to other available options and the card is supplied with the daily limit of £500 for ATM withdrawals as well as a daily limit of spending equal to £10,000. In addition, the £20,000 monthly purchasing limit and the £50,000 annual purchasing limit are applied.

The card of Coinbase doesn't include any solid incentives, however, when the card was brought to the market, the card issuance charge of £4.95 was waived by the exchange for the first 1,000 customers who have signed up to be added in the waiting list.

As anticipated, this card is a worthwhile option for anyone already using the exchange and it acts as an easy way to turn funds kept at Coinbase into expendable tokens. Coinbase is a reputed operator and among the most transparent and respected projects in the field but it is necessary to have a Coinbase account in order to take advantage of this card. Customers should remember that the charges are a bit higher than other available cards offer.

Wirex

Located in London, Wirex renders a full range of custom and business solutions focused on cryptocurrency. It also has branches in Tokyo, Japan and in Kiev, Ukraine.

Note! This is the most successful project of the industry which has the transaction volume of $2 billion and a user base of around 2 million.

Wirex provides contactless Visa cards and allows to tie credit and debit cards, hold cryptocurrency and buy bitcoins as well as selected altcoins with favorable conversion rates and higher limits.

Customers may also make an exchange between cryptocurrencies and fiat and perform direct funds transfers with low fees. Maintained cryptocurrencies include BTC, XRP, LTC, DAI, ETH, XLM, NANO and WAVES. In the meantime, USD, GBP and EUR are maintained fiat currencies.

Instant exchanging between these currencies is possible by using transparent current values and conversion rates. To use the service, it is necessary to set a Wirex account, deposit it and after add money to the Visa card by Wirex. The account can be deposited via bank transfer, topping-up depositing cryptocurrency or utilizing a credit or debit card.

Diverse wallets for various cryptocurrencies are provided by Wirex and this allows to hold a card in pounds sterling, US dollars or euros. When choosing a GBP card you can get a Visa debit card with a number and sort code of a bank account. However, if you choose to use USD and EUR then you will receive a pre-paid card.

Fees, Limits and Benefits

Wirex usually offers low-fee services while a number of features remain free. There are no transaction charges and top-ups are also free regardless of their method. Most transactions are charge-free and they include card purchasing online and in-store, cashback, crypto or fiat exchange and transfers at Wirex.

In addition, the issuance and delivery of the card is also free and there is no charge for using the mobile app, however there is a small fee for a card managing that is presently around $1.50, €1.20, £1.00 a month.

When using a card you usually just pay the cost of each product, service or exchange type price, although there is a fee for using an ATM which is around $2.50, €2.25, £1.75 in Europe as well as around $3.50, € 2.75, £2.25 outside Europe and also a monthly maintenance charge of 1%.

Wirex also sets a purchase limit equal to $10,000, €8,000, £7,500 for in-store and online buying and a daily limit for in-store cashback is £50. ATM daily withdrawals are limited to the sum of $250, £250, €250. In addition, a 10 BTC daily transfer limit is applied as well as daily top-ups on credit and debit card are limited to the sum equal to $5,000, €5,000, £5,000. Users need to adhere to a $20,000, €16,000, £15,000 maximum balance on their cards.

Wirex also implements the Cryptoback Rewards Program and allows customers to receive cryptocurrency rewards when utilizing a Visa debit card. It is possible to earn 0.5% of your Bitcoin spending whenever payments and shopping are made.

Bitcoin earned with this program are automatically awarded every time payments are made with a card and are instantly redeemed and can be spent and converted at your will. The company has recently launched it WXT token and it provides an additional 1.5% reduction in Cryptoback rate and fees.

Wirex is a proper option for those looking to spend their money at any stores accepting Visa cards. Additionally, a variety of available currencies and competitive conversion rates turn Wirex to a suitable option for travelers. But the service is at present time unavailable in the US and the company is oriented to the European market and is planning to expand to the US and Asia in the future.

Revolut

Revolut is a financial technology success story that has set a course to revolutionize the financial industry with the help of its app for mobile banking.

Note! The services of Revolut are available across the EEA, Australia and Switzerland, and besides providing services for mobile banking, the British company affords the customers to buy cryptocurrencies.

To do this, you need to subscribe to one of the fee-based monthly subscription and the cost of the Premium subscription is €7.99, £6.99 a month and the Metal subscription at €13.99, £12.99 a month.

With fee-based plans users have access to integrated into the platform digital assets and purchase Bitcoins and also Litecoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum and Ripple. The standard rate is kept and the 1.5% extra charge and is added to the final value of a purchase.

The process of cryptocurrency selling and purchasing is relatively quick and easy as everything can be done with a single click of a mouse. Any cryptocurrencies stored in your account can be instantly sent to your Revolut contacts, and you can spend cryptocurrencies utilizing Revolut Visa or MasterCard debit cards because assets are automatically converted to a local currency while the purchase is being made.

However, being an easy and quick option, it may not be for everyone as you do not own your private keys and are unable to transfer crypto assets outside of the system of Revolut and, in the meantime, digital assets are efficiently preserved by the mobile bank. Consequently, a number of cryptocurrency proponents may not see this as the “true” method of buying Bitcoins.

Revolut has a number of functions making it a proper option. These functions include Euro and UK IBAN accounts, charge-free overseas health insurance, free unlimited currency, free virtual cards as well as delayed flights and lost baggage insurance. The company has also launched discount and referral programs and they should make the closed system of apps more useful for customers who want to transfer cryptocurrency to family members and friends.

BitPay

BitPay is a respected operator and a cryptocurrency payment provider in the USA since 2011 and serves moire than 10,000 merchants. This platform offers US citizens prepaid Visa cards that can be funded through their accounts at BitPay.

The debit cards are full-pledged in 50 US areas, available throughout the country and are also accepted worldwide. Users of BitPay can make purchasing and payments with debit cards at a variety of stores accepting Visa cards.

Clients can load their accounts by cryptocurrency depositing or direct debit depositing and ACH transfers, BitPay is currently maintaining both BCH and BTC and it applies USD card and account balances.

Since the service is accessible only to US citizens clients have to provide government identification, proof of home address and a valid number of social security to use BitPay. Besides, the company offer a number of business services that make it easy to integrate Bitcoin into day-to-day business activity.

Fees, Limits and Benefits

Note! BitPay also maintains the common low payment structure, despite a card issuance charge is $9.95 and shipping takes about a week.

The card is free of transaction and service fees, and customers need to pay a $2 ATM and counter-based withdrawal fee which increases to $3 in case these activities are taken outside the US. As with Wirex, most transactions are charge-free, yet anyone who decides to deposit funds through ACH will have to cover a $5 charge.

This platform charges 3% for any purchasing and payments made outside the USA resulting form currency conversion expenses. Customers who are not planning on using the card regularly should note that there is a monthly $5 inactivity fee for each next month. 90-day inactivity duration till the card is utilized again.

The card applies the daily limit equal to $10,000 for loading and purchasing along with the $3,000 daily limit and transaction limit equal to $750 for cash withdrawals. The daily limit on card-to-card transfers equal to $500 and a maximum card debt of $25,000 exist.

BitPay is not currently running any promotional programs and clients have to search another option for discount and cashback schemes, however this platform is a worthy option for those who live the US.

Bitpay is a well established and well known Bitcoin transaction processing company and its cards are accepted all over the world. But this service is accessible only for citizens of the USA and the company doesn't currently provide any discounts or incentives for using the card, so it is best suited for those looking for a secure and easy solution to pay for Bitcoins.

MCO Visa

Visa debit card by MCO renders services that are suitable for real cryptocurrency enthusiasts and includes a variety of options for cards, digital currency, incentives and discounts.

The card issuing company has been renamed to Crypto.com from Monaco and the project based in Asia also provides mobile wallets allowing users to purchase, transfer and exchange fiat and cryptocurrencies and also a crypto loan service that allows customers to make deposits, their cryptocurrencies to get credit to use their MCO Visa cards.

Note! This service is targeted at people living in Singapore and is currently launching in the USA and is already available in 37 states.

The list of maintained currencies is BTC, ETH, BNB, LTC, MCO and XRP along with USD, EUR, JPY, AUD, GBP, HKD and SGD. Clients are encouraged to load their accounts by IBAN or ACH deposits making through the MCO mobile phone application. In addition, when registering via the application customers have to provide their full name, the government-issued ID photo and a personal photo.

Fees, Limits and Benefits

Currently 5 MCO cards are brought to the market and the exact service type a client receives depends on the card held. Differences in fees and limits vary between card tiers, from the lowest one for the Midnight Blue card to the highest tier for the Obsidian Black. Meanwhile the free of charge Midnight Blue card provides a monthly limit equal to $200 for chargeless ATM withdrawals which may increase to $1,000. Regarding to Obsidian Black, upon the monthly limit exceeding for any further withdrawals the commission of 2% is charged.

The monthly interbank exchange rate restriction varies from $2,000 to unlimited depending on the card, there is a 0.5% commission charged on the over-limit and the complete list of the limits and fees can be found in the section "Fees and limits" of the application.

The MCO card is distinguished by its set of rewards and bonuses, and customers may benefit from the absence of shipping, customization, monthly or annual storage fees for MCO tokens. By blocking these tokens clients are granted access to premium functions that include 1% to 5% cashback on general purchasing, a potential cashback of 10% on Expedia and Airbnb as well as cashback of 100% on Netflix and Spotify.

According to the card and the desired services, the blocking amount varies from 0 to 50,000 MCO and clients must take on the obligation to purchase MCO tokens and place them for the 6-month time period.

MCO is a wonderful option for those who are deeply interested in a wide range of currencies and staking. It is also proper for people who to travel frequently and want to take advantage of cashback programs.

This card provides some of the top awards available but it is still not at free access because the service is being launched in Singapore and then moves to the US, Canada and EU.

Cryptopay card

This service allows clients to purchase Bitcoins through bank cards and keep Bitcoins in the attached mobile wallet. The payment solutions provider began operations in 2013 and currently has the team of over 90 employees and offices in St. Petersburg, Lisbon and London. Cryptopay also uses the C.Pay card which is linked to Bitcoin users' wallets and enables to spend funds wherever their cards are accepted.

Primarily this card intended for European customers and they are able to order virtual and plastic cards in Euros, Pounds sterling, US dollars and Russian rubles. With the help of Cryptopay, clients may convert funds kept in their Bitcoin wallets to the maintained fiat currencies and after that download their prepaid C.Pay card.

The prepaid card must be paid by means of a Cryptopay account funding with dollars, pounds, euros or Bitcoins and undergoing the order process after.

Fees, Limits and Benefits

The cost of issuance of a plastic card is $15, €15, £15 and a virtual card's price is $2.50, €2.50, £2.50. Both types apply a 3% overseas transaction fee, a 1% load fee and a 1.99% third party load fee.

Depending on the type of card, a monthly maintenance charge of $1, €1, £1 may be applied. A two-tier verification-based system is used by Cryptopay and users of unverified virtual cards are mostly limited to making purchases of $1,000, €1,000, £800.

Verified users can make one-time funds adding up to $10,000, €10,000, £8,000 and the maximum daily load is specified at a double amount. Daily and lifetime loads and online transactions are also unlimited.

Plastic cards are charged intra-ATM transaction commissions equal to $2.50, €2.25, £1.75 and commissions for international ATM transaction equal to $3.50, €2.75, £2.25. Unverified plastic cards have the same restrictions as virtual ones, along with ATM transaction limits of $200, €200, £160 along with daily limits for ATM withdrawal of $400, €400, £320 but these figures are higher for verified users.

Verified user limits for one-time funds adding, maximum loads a day, daily and lifetime loads and online transaction costs are identical for virtual and verified card users. The quantity of ATM transactions permitted per day increases from two to five in case the user is verified.

While there is no particular incentive, Cryptopay is nice option for everyone living in Europe. The option of an unverified card might come in useful for some customers while verified accounts afford unlimited amounts transferring online and don't apply any maximum load values.

Still, charges are a bit higher than of other options and US card fees are quoted in pounds sterling.

Note! This service is unavailable in the USA or Asia, although the company plans to render services in Singapore in the foreseeable future.

SpectroCoin prepaid card

This is a crypto currency exchange and payment processing provider that enables customers to purchase a variety of cryptocurrencies, hold and transfer them through the project's mobile wallet. The Lithuanian-based company grants prepaid cards nominated in US dollars or euros and users are allowed to exchange Bitcoins and other digital tokens like, NEM, ETH, USDT and DASH in order to use the card.

The project meets high requirements and all clients have to be verified by KYC.

Attention! Users can obtain standard as well as VIP cards but they should remember about the necessity to provide an ID or a passport along with a utility bill in order to receive a VIP card.

The program for prepaid cards is supported by CreditCard Solutions UK Ltd., the company which is registered in England and is mainly aimed to serve cryptocurrency users living in Europe.

Fees, Limits and Benefits

Clients may get whether virtual or plastic Bitcoin debit cards but the cost of a plastic USD card is $50 and takes two to four days to ship while virtual EUR card is available for €9 and is immediately created.

The monthly maintenance charge equals to $1.00, €1.00 but it will not be charged if the card has a zero balance. There is also a 1% wallet card load charge and a commission of $0.25, €0.25, for POS and online transactions and also a currency exchange 3% charge. ATM withdrawals also incur a $2.50 fee.

As stated above, all clients of SpectroCoin have to undergo KYC verification for the card usage and the card of the standard type allows for a maximum daily funds adding amount of $250, €250 with the adding limit of the same sum and a maximum card debt of $2,500, €2,500.

The limit for ATM withdrawals is $1,500 but customers can make limitless online and POS transactions. Undergoing a detailed verification and choosing the VIP variant leads to increase of the card limits to a maximum daily sum of top-up equal to $5,000 or €4,000 with the same adding limit restrictions. There is no limit for the maximum card debt, the quantity of online transactions but the limit for ATM withdrawals is identical to that one for standard cards and is $1,500.

Despite holders of SpectroCoin debit card are obliged to undergo KYC verification, they are still not allowed to deposit the amount over $250 daily. Only VIP status which can be received after the ID and a utility bill submission increases the limit of withdrawals to $5,000.

Prepaid cards by SpectroCoin is another worthy option for everyone living in Europe. Though the service doesn't currently offer any promotions or incentives like the Coinbase card to encourage potential clients to choose it.

Nonetheless, thus is a transparent project and the high levels of regulatory compliance are suitable for those who are ready to submit ID, a passport and utility bill data in order to get the VIP card with an unlimited maximum card debt and also limitless quantity of online and POS transactions.

An instantly accessible virtual card can also be useful to anyone looking for a solution to use their funds quickly to shop online.

Bitwala

This is one more European cryptocurrency exchange operating in conjunction with the German fintech Solaris Bank in order to afford the users to purchase and sell Bitcoins, make both fiat and crypto transfers and meanwhile SEPA transfers still remain an important feature. Customers of Bitwala are allowed to make online and POS payments with their MasterCard debit cards.

Although the services at present are unavailable to US citizens, people living in the EEA are able to set a Bitwala account if over 18 and can provide valid ID and address confirmation.

As anticipated, Bitwala is focused on compliance and trust maintaining and the German Deposit Guarantee Scheme (shortly DGS) protects deposits to €100,000.

The Bitwala contactless debit cards enable users to immediately exchange balances on their cryptocurrency accounts for euros and make purchases online or in a store and also withdraw cash at the nearest ATMs.

Fees, Limits and Benefits

Currently, users can only use one card at one account and the low-payment structure without any card orders, transactions and ATM withdrawals is generally applied by the exchange. However, a card reordering costs €9.50 and while Bitwala does not charge fees for ATM withdrawals, some charge their own fees, that's why customers should clarify them prior to a withdrawal.

In addition, a 1% trading fee is applied on Bitwala platform and since funds kept in Bitcoins are sold for euros when utilizing the card, every trade or spending action may incur the commission of 1%.

Expense cap is applied on a daily and also monthly basis and at present time they are daily caps of €1,500 for paying online that may be emended to €1,500 for paying offline that can be changed to €3,000. Daily caps for ATM withdrawals are €3,000 and the monthly limit for offline and online purchasing and ATM withdrawals is €10,000.

The Bitwala doesn't currently provide any specific promo or incentives but it offers charge-free accounts and fairly cheap debit cards. Since this service is unavailable to US residents and the platform only supports EUR / Bitcoin transfers, the prepaid debit card Bitwala is a valuable option for everyone in the EEA.

Conclusion

While the sector has been negatively impacted by the aftermath of the Visa and WaveCrest issue, there is still a variety of companies that offer options of prepaid debit cards. The proper Bitcoin debit card choice depends a lot on the individual requirements of each client as well as location, cost and maintained currencies are among important factors worth being considered.

Important! Bitcoin holders in the US and Europe are currently well served and have a range of cards at choice.

Bitpay has proved to be a solid option for everyone in the US. For people living in the European Union, the Coinbase card is a really reliable option, although the users are required to register on the exchange and.

In addition, Cryptopay doesn't inquire complete KYC verification, unverified euro cards are afforded to add and spend a €1,000 total and withdraw daily to €400 from ATMs.

Those who often spend money and want to avail of cashback payouts, discounts, rates and a broad range of altcoin support should obtain the MCO card at Crypto.com. This card's portfolio is the most extensive currently offered and renders various incentive programs to the dedicated clients to keep them interested.

Being a simplified option, the Wirex card affords customers to spend crypto assets as well as receive cashback payments and further reduced fees for using the WXT token.

Overall, as a result of regulatory ambiguity regarding Bitcoin debit cards, the top options are a combination of affordability, security and reliability and their customers can use these cards as they see fit without much hassle. It is worth choosing the service that best suits your needs and staying tuned to make sure you always get the best service available.

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