- Crypto debit cards enable you to pay using cryptocurrency at any store that accepts debit cards.
- You can use crypto debit cards at ATMs, in shops, and on online merchants.
- There are a number of different options available, supporting a range of cryptocurrencies and offering a selection of fees and cashback incentives.
While a few retailers accept direct payments of cryptocurrency, the overwhelming majority do not. There’s a way around that, however: crypto debit cards—which let you spend your crypto just like they were fiat currencies, such as the US dollar, the British pound or the Euro.
A crypto debit card, upon the point of sale, converts the crypto you have stored in your debit card account to the fiat currency that everyone accepts. You can use crypto debit cards at ATMs, in shops, and on online merchants.
But each crypto debit card is different: these cards differ in which cryptocurrencies they support, the fees they charge, and the incentives they offer to users. Some of them are only available to people from certain countries, too. Here’s our whistle-stop tour.
Bitpay is a Bitcoin payments processor. In 2016, it started to offer a US-only debit card. The card supports Bitcoin, Ethereum, Gemini Dollar, USD Coin, Paxos and Bitcoin Cash, as well as eight different fiat currencies.
Bitpay doesn’t offer a cashback scheme. It has a daily spending limit of $10k as well as a larger maximum account balance at $25k.
The card has an upfront cost of $9.95. Within the US, there are no transaction fees—but if you leave the country, these rise to 3%. ATM withdrawals, similar to the European cards, have a flat fee in the home region. In this case, it’s $2, rising to $3 outside of the USA.
Paxful, the peer-to-peer crypto marketplace, is also coming out with a US-only card. It’s a Visa debit card produced together with a fintech startup called Ternio. It’s the same premise: Convert your crypto to dollars upon point of sale, use ATMs and open a checking account.
Wirex is a London-based crypto debit card company. It launched its crypto debit card in 2015. The Wirex card is available in Europe, as well as several African and Asian countries, and plans to expand services into the USA by the end of 2020.
The card supports 18 cryptocurrencies and fiat currencies, including Bitcoin, Ethereum and XRP, as well as the British pound and the US dollar. You can convert currencies on the Wirex app. It also comes with its own loyalty token, the WXT.
Wirex’s cashback program, Cryptoback, gives cashback based on how much WXT you have in your account. The catch is that this only applies to in-store payments; the program doesn’t support ATMs withdrawals or online purchases.
If you hold 50,000 WXT (approximately $450), you get 0.75% back every time you use the card in shops. This reward comes in the form of BTC. At 500,000 ($4,500), this rises to 1.5%.
The account has a monthly maintenance fee of €1.20 per month. As for cash withdrawals, these are €2.25 within Europe. Outside of Europe, the fee is still €2.25 but there’s an additional 3% fee. The card balance is limited to $20,000 and has a spending limit of $10,000 per day.
Binance is the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, and launched its own debit card, the Binance Visa Card, in July 2020. The card has zero fees, and offers up to 8% cashback on payments. Cashback is determined by the amount of Binance’s cryptocurrency, BNB, you have in your account.
But to get that 8% cashback, you’ll need an average of 6,000 BNB (around $192,000) in your account for the past 30 days. After a trial period, Binance rolled the card out to European customers in September 2020.
Paycent has three different cards: Ruby, Sapphire and Solitaire. Each card costs $49, and Sapphire and Solitaire charge monthly fees of $2.
Each card has different uses. Ruby has a spending limit of $5,000 and a withdrawal limit of $5,000. Sapphire has a higher spending limit of $5,600, but a much lower withdrawal limit of $1,650. Solitaire is Paycent’s premium card. It has a daily spending limit of $13,000, as well as a withdrawal limit of $10,000.
Paycent’s cashback program offers discounts on foreign exchange as well as cash out fees. Again, it’s a token system based around loyalty tokens. For Paycent, these are called PYN-C37. The more tokens you have, the better. At the top end (over 500,000 PYN-C37, equivalent to around $1,250), there are no foreign exchange or withdrawal fees. To start getting rewards, you need at least 20,000 PYN-C37. This gives zero Forex fees on amounts up to $1,000 per month.
Coinbase, which is one of the largest crypto exchanges in the world, also has its own card—called, imaginatively, Coinbase Card. It’s available in Europe, the UK and soon the US. The card doesn’t charge any fees for converting Coinbase’s US dollar-pegged stablecoin, USDC, which it runs along with Circle, to US dollars, but for all other cryptocurrencies, the card charges a 2.49% transaction fee on every purchase.
When the card launches in the US, Coinbase will offer a cashback scheme for customers; European users are out of luck, though, with no such option available.