Bitcoin, as well as the rest of the digital assets sector, are only beginning to be taken seriously as a legitimate part of modern finance. This is evidenced by the new wave of cryptocurrency payment card services pitching in to bridge the gap between the traditional financial system and the digital assets ecosystem.
The crypto payment cards currently on offer may be a step in the right direction, in terms of driving the wide adoption of digital assets, as the top cards usually sport, either a Visa, or MasterCard logo. Being Powered by the top two payment networks on the planet allows these firms access to an ocean of liquidity and instantaneous exchange between digital and fiat currencies.
Ordinary consumers are then afforded the ability to, seamlessly, interact both digital and fiat currencies. This is achieved by Visa and MasterCard enabling these crypto payment cards to instantly switch cryptographic assets – for the equivalent value (minus fees, of course) – to fiat currencies when a cardholder makes an online purchase or till point payment.
We have listed the best payment cards available, and detailed their offerings for comparative value. We will, however, leave the decision on which card is best overall to the reader, as that is a subjective matter, and is usually dependent on individual needs. The options were weighed according to the following criteria:
With the crypto industry plagued with hacking incidents and loss of funds, it is imperative that a payment card provider has the right safeguards in place. Partnerships with Visa or MasterCard ensures a degree of security that allows customers to use their cards with confidence.
Having a crypto payment card is one thing, but having a crypto payment card attached to a wallet that offers investment, interest, discounts and other incentives may propel digital assets into the mainstream. Support for multiple cryptocurrencies is an added bonus.
Much of the world is still heavily reliant on the incumbent financial system. Therefore, crypto payment card offerings who present a package that is, operationally, familar to tradional banking services (plus the added crypto bells-&-whistles) likely stand to flourish in the next decade.
Fees are an inevitable part of the payment game, whether crypto or fiat. With digital asset prices still resembling a stormy ocean, it behooves users to seek the lowest fees and maximize the funds they retain.
Companies enabling customers to transact at low fees will, naturally, see more users.
Singapore based cryptocurrency payment card provider, Crypto.com (rebranded from Monaco), in addition to a payment card, offers a comprehensive suite of digital asset based financial services. The crypto payment card supports BTC, ETH, LTC, XRP, BNB, and its own native token, MCO (which offers additional discounts and incentives). The card also allows users to directly fund their accounts with USD, GBP, EURO and a large number of other fiat currencies through ACH or IBAN deposits.
Crypto.com offers 5 card levels, each with their own incentives. Users stand to get up to 5% cash back on purchases and can also lock up some of their assets for automated, interest earning investment or staking.
One stands to incur a 2% transaction fee for payments exceeding a particular card’s monthly limit ($200 for the lowest level card, and $1,000 for the highest). Monthly interbank exchanges exceeding a particular limit will incur a 0.5% penalty for all cards except the highest level card, which allows limitless transacting.
UK based fintech firm, Revolut, also presents a bank-like interface along with their crypto payment card service. Revolut enables customers to bank exclusively on their mobile devices and interact with cryptocurrencies, as well.
Through their Revolut accounts, users can easily purchase and hold BTC, ETH,BCH,LTC and XRP. Said assets can then be spent through Revolut’s Mastercard, or Visa debit cards.
Revolut doesn’t allow users to move outside of the platform, but it offers a brilliant payment solution. This includes UK, or EU IBAN accounts, virtual and physical debit cards, free overseas medical insurance, and delayed flight or baggage insurance.
Revolut offers a Premium Subscription to their service, which will set the user back, €7.99 per month, and Metal Subscription, which costs €13.99 per month. The paid subscriptions give users access to the platform’s digital asset integration, allowing them to purchase any of the available assets. Revolut takes a 1.5% markup on all crypto purchases.
German digital asset card provider, Bitwala, offers one of the best examples of integrated banking, in addition to a glimpse into the services banks of the future might offer. A partnership with Solaris Bank enables users to buy and sell crypto through the Bitwala platform. The firm also offers a contactless card for users to spend their crypto with.
Bitwala follows a compliance oriented strategy in order to have customers use their service, confident of regulatory protection. The company has gone as far as obtaining GDS (Deposit Guarantee Scheme) protection for deposits up to €100,000.
The payment card provider generally charges low fees for card orders, ATM withdrawals, and transactions. Transactions come with a 1% fee, a more detaiedl pricing schedule can be found here.
London, UK, based digital currency payment card service, Wirex offers a wide range of crypto payment services for both businesses and individuals. Being the most well heeled card firm in the digital assets space, Wirex enjoys a transaction volume of $2 billion + and nearly 3 million users.
Wirex allows users to purchase digital assets via bank deposits, as well as enables customers to interchange value between supported currencies; BTC, ETH, LTC, XRP, XLM, NANO, DAI, WAVES and native token, WXT. On the fiat side,the platform supports GBP, EUR, and USD.
One can order a Wirex card, executing payments in either, GBP, EUR, or USD. GBP card orders will receive a Visa powered debit card, complete with bank account number and sorting code, whereas EUR and USD cards are simply prepaid cards.
Wirex charges no fees for transactions, top-ups, and card purchases (both online, and in-store). Wirex charges a nominal, €1.20 card management fee, and €2.25 ATM usage fee (€2.75 outside of Europe), along with a 1% maintenance fee.
Cryptocurrency debit cards are a great way to use digital assets for real-world purchases, and increases their usability by enabling them to be used in a way that is familiar to most of the world. Though the particular card option each user goes with ultimately depends on their individual needs, many offer services and incentives – beyond payment – that bring crypto into public view, as assets as opposed to something belonging to the darkest parts of the web.