Bitcoin Debit Cards
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Bitcoin is a cryptocurrency, currently the most well known. Cryptocurrency is a way to transfer assets online and some people refer to it as ‘digital cash’.
The key benefit of cryptocurrency is that it is not owned by the government or any other authority; it acts the same way as normal currency but only exists online.
This is also the main disadvantage, as bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are not guaranteed by any official entity therefore they can be hard to spend on goods and services.
Bitcoin debit cards will allow you to spend your bitcoins on goods and services. This article will explore the different types of bitcoin debit cards, things to consider and how to get one.
What Is a Bitcoin Debit Card?
Most shops and services will not accept bitcoin as payment so, if you wish to spend your bitcoin, the most usual way is to trade it for a fiat currency that is accepted (such as US dollars or euros).
A convenient and fast way of doing this is to open a bitcoin debit card.
A bitcoin debit card works in the same way as any other cryptocurrency debit card and in a largely similar way to any other prepaid debit card.
However, there will be processing and conversion fees that you will need to consider.
Instead of topping it up from your ordinary bank account, you transfer funds from your bitcoin wallet. The card automatically converts your bitcoin to the fiat currency of your choice.
The bitcoin debit card can then be used anywhere that major credit cards are accepted and this includes physical as well as online shops.
What Are the Different Types of Bitcoin Debit Card?
There are two different options for bitcoin debit cards – virtual cards and plastic/physical cards.
When considering which option is better for you, think about your current spending habits and patterns.
If you are more likely to only want to spend your bitcoin online, a virtual card is the better choice.
You can add your virtual card to your smartphone or computer wallet and use the card to pay for online purchases.
Virtual cards are usually the cheaper option for a bitcoin debit card.
Note: for obvious reasons you cannot use a virtual card to withdraw cash.
If, however, you mainly want to use your bitcoin debit card to complete physical transactions, you will want to consider the plastic, or physical, card option which comes with a chip and pin.
You should also opt for the plastic card if you want to withdraw cash from an ATM.
As you would expect, it is usually a more expensive option to have a physical card.
How to Get a Bitcoin Debit Card
To get a bitcoin debit card you will need to have a bitcoin wallet with the company offering the bitcoin card.
You open an account and purchase the card from your selected company (such as Wirex, Coinbase, Bitpay or Cryptopay).
Fees will vary and you should pick an account that suits your circumstances and spending habits. Make sure to look around and compare the various fees, rates and so on before making your decision.
Once you have made your decision as to which card is right for you, you can make an online application and pay the correct fees.
How Do I Choose Between Bitcoin Debit Cards?
As bitcoin debit cards all work in pretty much the same way, the main differences between them are:
- The companies backing them
- The fees charged
- The bitcoin wallet to which they are linked
As with all debit cards, there are major providers which are safer, as well as less well-known companies which may be more risky or even fraudulent. There are also various inactive cards which should, for obvious reasons, be avoided.
When choosing between them, you can either start by looking at the cards associated with your current wallet, or look at the various charges and open a wallet with the company which you feel gives you the best deal based on your circumstances and spending habits.
Key fee differences to look out for are whether you are charged per withdrawal/transaction or as a monthly fee.
You should also remember that the actual value of bitcoin fluctuates daily, the amount of bitcoin required to complete a specific transaction will also vary – therefore you should keep an eye on your bitcoin wallet daily to ensure you have sufficient funds to complete the transaction and pay the applied charges.
What Are the Benefits of Bitcoin Debit Cards?
If you have bitcoins that you want to spend for physical or online transactions you’ll find that most places do not accept unconverted bitcoin.
Instead, you need to first convert it into the fiat currency accepted where you wish to spend.
You’ll find that it is not easy or straightforward to cash-out your bitcoin account as you cannot just make an online transfer to your bank account.
A bitcoin debit card makes it much easier and quicker to convert your bitcoin without the need to use a third-party exchange or local seller for each transaction.
If you regularly travel abroad or carry out transactions in a currency different to your home currency, bear in mind you can use a bitcoin debit card in any country worldwide – just convert your bitcoins into the desired fiat currency.
Other benefits include the ability to hold multiple fiat currencies simultaneously.
What Else Should You Consider When Getting a Bitcoin Debit Card?
When getting a bitcoin debit card there are other things to consider:
Spending your bitcoin will reduce any profit you could make from it if bitcoin rises in value (although, of course, it also releases your profit should bitcoin lose value).
Additional benefits vary depending on the card provider. Some more desirable options include additional extras such as free Netflix subscriptions and cash-back options.
Different cards have different limits on cash withdrawals and spending limits. Check to make sure the card and provider you have chosen is suitable for your needs.
Some bitcoin users wish to be anonymous but you will need your ID to register for an account or debit card. The requirements vary by provider but, if anonymity is crucial to you, check before you sign up.
If you use multiple cryptocurrencies and wish to only operate one cryptocurrency debit card, check in advance that the card/provider you have chosen supports all your chosen cryptocurrencies.
You should also check that your chosen provider actually serves in your home country and that the provider is well-funded and reputable (not a scam).
Do you want to use an app to monitor your account? This may dictate which company you choose.
Where to Get a Bitcoin Debit Card?
Best for: Keeping your money safe
Based in California, Coinbase is one of the leading crypto exchanges in the world and a popular choice when buying bitcoin. The company offers both a wallet (which is free) and an exchange for customers.
According to Coinbase, 98% of digital currency is stored offline in vaults and safe deposit boxes. The company also has a 48-hour withdrawal cancellation option in place to protect users from fraudulent activity and offers investors the option of adding a second person’s name to the approval list for added withdrawal security.
Coinbase accepts payment by credit and debit card and charges a flat fee of $3.99 for the privilege – low cost compared to other US and UK exchanges.
Uphold was launched in 2015, and since then it has handled more than $4 billion in transactions, trading in 184+ countries with more than 30 currencies.
Uphold allows clients to trade directly between different asset classes in one transaction – so you can trade anything to anything.
Uphold also focuses on Socially Responsible Investing (SRI) by providing an opportunity to trade on carbon tokens for more than just a financial return.
New traders will like the transparent pricing – there are no commission or account fees, and no withdrawal or deposit costs, but the trading fees are built into the spread. Uphold will present a complete price for each trade that includes fees, so you will know exactly what the trade will cost.
Uphold has a quite simple trading platform that is available on the web, as a desktop application and on mobile.
Uphold also offers a debit card option, where you can pay for goods and services using any asset in your portfolio – and earn cashback as well as crypto on your purchases.
The Uphold debit cardworks on the Mastercard network, which means that it can be used anywhere in the world where you can use a more traditional debit card, both online and in physical Uphold debit cardstores.
The benefit of the Uphold card is that you can choose to pay with any asset that you hold, with no exchange fees, and if you pay in USD, you can earn up to 1% cashback, or 2% back in cryptocurrency if that is how you pay.
Crypto.com was created as a place to buy, sell and trade cryptocurrency, and is a decentralised exchange where users can exchange fiat or cryptocurrency for more than 100 of the most popular altcoins.
Crypto.com has more than 10 million users and provides services in 90+ countries globally. For security, 100% of user crypto is kept in cold storage, while the hot wallets that are used to ensure fast transaction speeds contain corporate funds.
All fiat currency is held in regulated custodian bank accounts, and there are strict security protocols around access to wallets based on the principle of least privilege.
You can deposit 20+ fiat currencies using a credit or debit card, as well as through bank transfer, and through the app you can buy cryptocurrency at the true cost (with a commission).
The Crypto.com offering includes a VISA card with the potential to earn up to 8% in CRO (The Crypto.com currency), a Pay application that lets you use your cryptocurrency balance to make payments online where accepted, an instant loan based on your cryptocurrency balance with no late fees and instant sending of crypto to other app users with no fees.
With the Crypto.com app, you can earn up to 8.5% pa for staking crypto, and up to 14% if you stake stablecoins (which are designed to offer price stability because they are aligned with an asset).
The exchange platform at Crypto.com offers tracking for all major cryptocurrencies, and with bitcoin you can easily see an up-to-date price when you decide to buy.
Crypto.com allows users to purchase BTC and other altcoins at the ‘real price’ with commission paid on deposits via credit or debit card, so it might be a cheaper way to buy if you are using fiat currency.
Trading fees are a small percentage (up to 3%, depending in volume) so it is possible to trade both current crypto holdings and fiat for BTC, too.
Bitcoin debit cards can be a convenient and fast way of converting bitcoin to the fiat currency of your choice, although you should bear in mind that not all providers work in all countries.
You should also consider that the reputable providers have different levels of cards and accounts, much like any other bank, at differing price points for differing benefits.
You should consider carefully where you wish to use your cryptocurrency debit card, for what purpose and in what currencies before comparing the various rates and charges and making a final decision.
WikiJob does not provide tax, investment or financial services and advice. The information is being presented without consideration of the investment objectives, risk tolerance or financial circumstances of any specific investor and might not be suitable for all investors. Past performance is not indicative of future results. Investing involves risk including the possible loss of principal.