Spending your Bitcoin or Ethereum is quite a novelty in the real world — few stores and websites accept digital currencies at the moment, and for good reason. Retailers are scared about exchange rates, find blockchain technology too difficult to understand or think cryptocurrencies are highly volatile assets. Thankfully, new products are popping up to solve all these problems — crypto debit cards.
A crypto debit card lets you spend your digital assets at locations where debit cards are accepted. Every time you use the crypto card, money is deducted from your wallet balance and converted into the merchant’s currency. Benzinga has scoured the crypto market to bring you its top crypto debit card picks.
Best for Traveling: Bitwala Debit Card
The Bitwala debit card is the ultimate travel companion if you’re looking to make contactless payments and free cash withdrawals worldwide. You can easily trade your coins into euro and have funds ready in your wallet and on your card.
The Bitwala debit card also comes with a 3D secure feature — a private code that provides an extra layer of security when making an online purchase. Link your card to Bitwala’s interest account and watch your coins grow in real-time.
Best for Daily Use: Cryptopay Debit Card
Cryptopay offers 2 card options for those looking to maximize daily use. First is a plastic card that you can use at Visa-accepted locations to make effortless ATM withdrawals and spend your cryptos. The 2nd card option is a virtual card for online use and big purchases. You can use cryptocurrencies to spend up to ₤30,000 in a single online transaction.
The Cryptopay card also comes with overdraft protection, so you don’t have to worry about unpleasant overdraft fees. Cryptopay’s robust system makes it easy for you to convert your cryptocurrencies into the supported fiat currencies: U.S. dollars, British pounds and euro. You can always request your card statement to track your payments, deposits, withdrawals and transactions online in your wallet.
Best for Rewards: Wirex Debit Card
You can benefit from Wirex Visa debit card’s unique Cryptoback™ rewards program that lets you earn 1.5% in Bitcoin (BTC) every time you use your card to pay in restaurants, shops, bars and on transport. You can redeem, convert and spend all the BTC earned through the Cryptoback™ program.
Supporting more than 150 currencies and accepted at over 61 million locations, the Wirex card lets you save money with free ATM withdrawals worldwide, free fiat-to-fiat exchange and zero card or account fees. This multicurrency card will automatically make payments in your local currency without charging exchange fees. Link the card to the Wirex app to track payments and manage your spending.
Best for Zero Administrative Fees: Binance Debit Card
The Binance debit card does everything your regular payment card does at zero fees. The card is completely free and you won’t incur any processing or administrative fees. However, a few 3rd-party fees may still apply. Hold all sorts of digital assets in your Binance card wallet and exchange only when you’re making payments.
Binance promises up to 8% cashback on all eligible purchases made with its Visa card. All the funds on your card are protected by the highest security standards available at Binance. Anything else you need to use and control your Visa card comes within the interface of the Binance card app. Manage your funds, enable card security and spending with only a few taps.
Best for Converting into Fiat: CoinZoom Visa Card
The CoinZoom Visa debit card lets you convert cryptocurrency into fiat almost instantly. You can spend your cryptos at any retail location that accepts contactless, chip or PIN payments from Visa. Besides the Select card option, CoinZoom also offers Preferred, Gold, Platinum and Black VIP levels depending on the ZOOM tokens you hold. Maker and Taker fees decrease as you scale the levels.
CoinZoom also lets you perform instant peer-to-peer fiat and crypto money transfers. You can easily send fiat to family and friends anywhere in the world using ZoomMe.
Best for Zero Crypto Transaction Fees: BlockCard Visa Debit Card
BlockCard stays true to its word with zero crypto transaction fees. Whether you’re transferring crypto, exchanging to fiat currency or making a deposit, you won’t pay a dime. Deposit Bitcoin and over 12 other supported cryptocurrencies into your BlockCard account and use them anywhere that accepts Samsung Pay, Google Pay or Apple Pay.
BlockCard lets you start spending your crypto assets in 4 steps:
- Register for a BlockCard account.
- Fund your account.
- Initiate and pass the credential check.
- Receive your virtual BlockCard.
Best for Security: Nexo Debit Card
The Nexo debit card secures your digital assets with military-grade 256-bit encryption that also incorporates 24/7 fraud monitoring mechanisms to ensure the safety of your funds and transactions. You can order and manage your Nexo card at the comfort of the Nexo Wallet app, which gives you worldwide access to your credit line.
Use the Nexo app to create free virtual cards for safe online purchases, monitor your transactions in real-time, freeze and unfreeze your debit card and receive notifications about all your transactions.
Best for Direct Spending: Coinbase Debit Card
The Coinbase Visa debit card lets you spend directly from your Coinbase account without having to move your funds to other bank accounts. Your cryptocurrency is converted to U.S. dollars before completing ATM withdrawals and purchases. The Coinbase card also lets you earn rewards through daily spending — you can earn 1% back in BTC or 4% back in Stellar Lumens (XLM).
Manage all your spending and rewards preferences directly through the Coinbase app.
Best for Virtual Visa Card: TenX Debit Card
TenX will provide a virtual Visa card as soon as your application is approved. Use the virtual card to spend online anywhere Visa is accepted and activate full security controls through the app. For a seamless card experience, TenX gives you the freedom to spend cryptos like Bitcoin, and Litecoin with the tap of a card. Cryptos are converted to fiat in a smooth and instant payment.
Its 24/7 card security is also guaranteed through real-time notifications when your card is used, options to lock and unlock your card and 2-factor authentication for added security.
Best for Ethereum: Monolith Visa Debit Card
The Monolith Visa is a crypto debit card focusing on the Ethereum ecosystem with all the crypto tokens supported being part of the Ethereum ecosystem. The debit card also boasts its proprietary token called TKN, which you can use to waive some of the fees users are charged when using the debit card. You can also exchange your Ethereum-based tokens to fiat and load them onto your Monolith debit card.
Download the Monolith app to get instant updates as you spend as well as view all your transactions. Monolith lets you protect your crypto assets from theft through daily spend limits.
What is a Crypto Debit Card?
Similar to conventional cards, crypto debit cards let you fulfill day-to-day transactions using Bitcoin, Ethereum and other altcoins. You shouldn’t have reservations about your plastic card being accepted by merchants since most of these debit cards are backed by Mastercard and Visa.
Benefits of Crypto Debit Cards
Switch Between Currencies
Most crypto debit cards let you access both digital currencies and fiat currencies with ease. You don’t have to switch between cards to make payments in different local currencies. This is a great draw if you’re a globe-trotter who doesn’t want to exchange currency each time you need to pay for something.
Cut the Card Costs
Crypto debit cards eliminate some of the unpleasant fees associated with bank-issued debit cards. Most promise zero foreign exchange fees, zero transaction fees and zero monthly maintenance fees. Other crypto cards will waive the monthly fee if you maintain a specific account balance.
Most crypto debit cards incorporate advanced security measures to protect your digital assets and transactions. Most cards have 2-factor authentication, 256-bit encryption and round-the-clock fraud monitoring. Temporarily freeze or unfreeze your debit card if you detect an unrecognized transaction.
How do Crypto Debit Cards Work?
Crypto debit cards differ from conventional cards in the way you spend your digital assets. First, you must top up your crypto debit card with a digital currency of your choice, often from the card provider’s wallet. Most providers will let you fund your card via their website or mobile app.
Once your card is loaded, you’re ready to hit the spending spree — whether in-store or online. Most crypto debit cards will reward you with zero transaction fees and generous spending limits per day. You can expect to use your debit card at points of sale that accept Visa or MasterCard.
Rather than buying a product or service in crypto, your card provider converts your digital currency into fiat currency that you’ll use to complete the transaction. Some crypto debit card providers will issue 2 card types: a virtual card for online purchases and a physical card for in-store purchases.
Crypto Debit Rewards
Sure, crypto debit card rewards are available but they are quite different from what you’d expect from conventional prepaid debit cards. Most crypto debit cards promise to offer a cash-back percentage for every purchase you make. The amount you’ll receive depends on the card provider, and you can expect it to be in the form of a cryptocurrency.
Depending on your needs, you can redeem, spend or send the rewards into an interest-bearing account.
Crypto Debit Variables
Crypto debit cards aren’t with their drawbacks. Some providers may require that you stake cryptocurrency to unlock some of the card’s best rewards. The spending limits placed on some debit cards mean that you can’t spend big with your debit card.
And then there are concerns of Bitcoin’s volatility, which often drags other cryptos behind. For instance, the BTC you use to make a $100 Airbnb booking today may end up being twice as much a few months down the line. It could also crash and you’ll consider your booking a bargain.
There’s a Future in Crypto Debit Cards
Some of the world’s largest crypto exchanges, including Coinbase and Binance, now own Visa debit cards. Topping up your account is fairly easy since you’ll probably do it from your crypto wallet. Then you’ll have a fully functioning debit card that lets you convert your digital assets into fiat currency to pay for goods and services or withdraw funds.
But with hundreds of brands offering crypto debit cards, it’s important that you perform some due diligence, including understanding the regulations within each brand’s jurisdiction.
Frequently Asked Questions
Where can I use a crypto debit card?
Where can I use a crypto debit card?
You can use a crypto debit card at merchant outlets that support Visa or MasterCard debit cards. Pay for goods and services, exchange currencies and withdraw from ATMs with ease.
Are crypto debit cards safe to use?
Are crypto debit cards safe to use?
Certainly, yes. Crypto debit cards uphold some of the highest security standards. For starters, you’ll need to complete several know your customer (KYC) checks when applying for a crypto debit card. What follows is a raft of security measures including PIN login, 2-factor authentication, 256-bit encryption and fraud monitoring. Your digital assets are safe in a crypto debit card.
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