While the number of establishments accepting bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies as payment is rising steadily, most establishments don’t offer this service. One of the best ways you can circumvent this is by using a crypto debit card. They work the same as any traditional debit card except it uses your crypto funds instead of your bank account – merchants receive their payment in fiat, but funds are deducted from your crypto account.
Of course, by using a crypto debit card, you are going against one of the driving forces of crypto adoption – decentralization. If you use one of these crypto debit cards, it means you have to deal with a debit card company who will have some control over your funds, and there will be nominal fees that vary depending on which crypto debit card you use.
You can, of course, minimize this risk by depositing enough bitcoin as you need and no more. Just like most types of non-hardware crypto wallets, you should only store as much crypto as you can afford to lose in the case of a breach.
Without further ado, here are some of the crypto debit card leaders in 2018.
Wirex used to be called E-coin before rebranding to Wirex in 2016. You can use their mobile or desktop app to load litecoin, bitcoin, or fiat onto the contactless Visa debit card.
It’s currently free to get a physical card, and fees are in line with industry standards. It will cost you 3% when making an international payment and $2.50 to make an ATM withdrawal. The physical card also has a 0.5% CryptoBack feature that works in the same way as cashback, but you receive bitcoin instead.
If you do not want to use a physical card, Wirex is currently the only crypto debit card that allows you to use a virtual option. There are service fees in place, but these are usually only around $1.50 per month.
Wirex has already issued over a million cards and is hotly tipped to lead the way toward mainstream crypto adoption.
The Visa-branded Monaco Card allows you to move funds from your crypto-funded account. Both the card and the bank account are free to use. However, it is currently only available to those based in Asia with a waiting list for European customers.
At the moment, you are unable to use the Monaco Card in the United States, but the company plans to change that in the future.
There are no monthly fees or minimum balance, but there is a $200 limit on ATM withdrawals and a limit of $2,000 on interbank exchanges. Furthermore, Monaco takes typical transaction fees of 1.5%-2%.
The main drawback of the Monaco Card is that you need to hold a specific amount of Monaco coins to use this card, which is complicated and unappealing for the average person.
TenX has a partnership with MasterCard and Visa who provide their crypto debit card services. They were the first prominent crypto debit card on the market, and they are also one of the most popular.
They utilize the COMIT network, which is a routing protocol that was built in-house and allows them to connect with different blockchains. It will cost you $15 to have the physical card sent to your address, and the virtual card will cost you $1.50 to activate.
There is a $10 annual charge for each card, but this is not required if you have spent more than $1,000 during the year. Every time you withdraw from an ATM, you will be charged $2.50.
With every purchase you make, you will get a reward of 1% of the transaction value in the form of PAY tokens. Currently, the cards can be used in all locations where VISA cards are accepted except in the United States.
TenX temporarily halted the issuance of new cards when they broke away from WaveCrest, but they are set to resume issuing new cards soon.
At the moment, only bitcoin and ether payments available, but more tokens are expected to be added as the year progresses.
Bitpay is well known in the crypto community, and they are a payment solutions crypto debit card for both individuals and businesses. Their prepaid Visa card is available to those within the United States, and you must provide a home address, a social security number, and government-issued ID to apply.
The physical card costs $9.95, and it will take approximately one week for it to be shipped to you. If you are using this card outside of the US, there is a 3% fee to cover currency conversion costs. Every time you use an ATM or cashback, you will be charged $2 when in the US and $3 when outside the US. Currently, there are no transaction fees.
Wirex, Monaco, TenX, and BitPay are the most well-known crypto debit card companies around. There are other, however. What do you think? Which crypto debit card do you like the best? Which one would you have in your wallet?
Whatever you choose, crypto debit cards look to explode in 2018 and may well lead to the widespread adoption of cryptocurrencies.