What are Bitcoin debit cards?
With the increasing popularity of cryptocurrency, many people have a question – how can Bitcoin be cashed? One of the most popular and already available methods is plastic bitcoin cards.
Thoughts about creating a debit card, linked to cryptocurrency, appeared long ago – back in 2011. The prospects were obvious – the card could significantly simplify the use of bitcoin in real life – to exchange, replenish, buy cryptocurrency using the card would not be difficult for the user. At the end of 2013, the first debit cards with digital currency support appear. And in 2015, rapid growth in the number of services offering users various types of bitcoin cards begins.
Bitcoin card features
Crypto cards work in MasterCard or Visa payment systems and have accounts in Fiat (USD, EUR, GBP) and virtual currencies, so the exchange between them within the service is automatically at the internal rate. Also, the cards are tied to a bitcoin account opened in the service where the card is issued, so the speed of transactions increases.
Why do many people prefer Bitcoin cards to exchangers and exchanges?
- Lack of intermediaries in the exchange of Bitcoin for Fiat
- Many services offer anonymous cards that do not require verification.
- 24-hour access to funds
- Convenience and ease of use, you can pay wherever Visa / MasterCard is accepted
The most popular cryptocurrency cards
Among the many Bitcoin cards, there are several, the most popular:
The Shift card
The Shift card has a number of advantages – it is relatively inexpensive ($ 10), free transactions within the country (USA), a convenient mobile application, non-commissioned transfer of Bitcoin to Fiat. But this card has quite low limits for withdrawal/replenishment, it only works with BTC and USD and only in the US (even not in all states).
The BitPay card
The BitPay card (based on the Visa payment system) is perhaps the most popular Bitcoin card in America. BitPay card can be used by residents of all states of America and many other countries (Turkey, Switzerland, Slovenia, Monaco, Poland, etc.). Like Shift, BitPay works with only one fiat currency (USD) and only with BTC, but it has quite high limits that do not require additional confirmation. Users of this card note the high speed of transfers (less than a minute is the transfer of dollars to bitcoins and vice versa), competent technical support service and ease of application. At the moment, this debit card can only be bought for Bitcoins.
The Bitwala card
The Bitwala card is the result of the work of the European cryptocurrency startup Bitwala. This card can be virtual (cost 2 €) or plastic (cost 8 €), verified (in this case, the transfer limit is increased to € 50,000 per month) or not (the limits are significantly reduced). In addition to Bitcoin, the user can replenish the Altcoins card, which has become possible thanks to the Bitwala collaboration with the Shapeshift exchanger. The disadvantage is the presence of a commission of 0.5% of the amount for depositing funds on the card, for reissuing the card, monthly maintenance fee.
The Xapo card
The Xapo card is the “old” crypto map in Europe, produced since 2013. The advantage is the presence of a personal bitcoin wallet and the ability to use cold storage, that is, the service itself is responsible for the safety of your funds. The Xapo card supports BTC, EUR, GBP, USD, does not have a fee for the completion of the card. But there are a number of “minuses” – a commission for service, low limits on withdrawals, the high cost of the card and its reissue, mandatory verification.
EPayments card (MasterCard payment system) – the card was developed by the British Electronic Payments Association. The ePayments card is quite popular among cryptocurrency owners, as the Electronic Payments service is constantly “adjusted” to the needs of card users. Thus, from April 2017, the one-time annual maintenance fee was canceled (now the maintenance fee is charged monthly (2.95 USD), but the first two months are free), the issue price has significantly decreased – 5.95 USD (and from 2.10 to 9.10 of the current year you can order for 2.95 USD), SMS informing became free, PayPass support appeared.