The list of merchants that accept Bitcoin is continuously expanding. However, it’s still not possible to purchase everything with Bitcoin. But you can now order your own Bitcoin debit card, thanks to several companies in the Bitcoin ecosystem.
It’s as simple as it sounds. Bitcoin debit cards help bridge the Bitcoin world with traditional finance. You can simply load a debit card with bitcoins or altcoins and spend them at almost any credit card accepting merchant.
It is incredibly easy to buy stuff with a crypto debit card and you will see how further down in this article.
Bitcoin debit cards do not allow users to spend bitcoins directly. However, they at least allow people to store balances in bitcoin.
Bitcoin balances can be held up until the need to spend because most debit card top ups only take a couple of seconds to confirm.
In this article, we’ll take a look at seven of the market’s best Bitcoin debit cards. Bitcoin has made a lot of progress in seven years, and perhaps in the year 2025, the vast majority of the mainstream world will offer a Bitcoin payment option just as ubiquitously as they do PayPal. The world still runs on plastic. That’s why the Bitcoin business community has begun to offer more and better debit card options over the last three years.
Pros of Using a Bitcoin Debit Card
The pros are pretty obvious. Now, any place that accepts credit or debit cards would accept your Bitcoin debit card as well, which means that you can now buy virtually anything with Bitcoin. The merchants get paid in their own currency by the debit company and the charge will be deducted from your Bitcoin balance, which allows you to live purely on Bitcoin.
For example, Bitcoin debit card is like the traveller’s check of the digital age. I always take my Bitcoin debit card when I travel abroad, as a backup card in case my money gets stolen.
Cons of Using a Bitcoin Debit Card
Centralization is the major con of a Bitcoin debit card. You need to deposit money into your account at the debit card company in order to use the card. This means you’re giving control over your coins to a 3rd party. This risk is decreased by not depositing too many Bitcoins into your balance. Basically, you should deposit only an amount you can afford losing in case of a hack. Also, since you are using the service of these companies it comes with a price. This means that you can’t ignore the fees that Bitcoin debit card companies charge.
There are seven Bitcoin debit card companies currently available. Here’s a short summary of each one and their pros and cons.
Coinbase Visa Debit Card
The new Coinbase Card is directly tied to a person’s cryptocurrency balance in digital wallets managed by the eponymous digital currency exchange. This is the latest product launched by the leading crypto exchange – Coinbase.
|Coinbase Bitcoin Debit Card|
|Availability||UK, Selected EEA|
|Supported Currency||EUR, GBP, BTC|
The card will be associated with a users Coinbase account via a separate Coinbase card app that is available for both iOS or Android. The cards can be used to withdraw cash at any VISA-supported ATM’s worldwide and make point-of-sale (POS) payments with either ‘chip and pin’ or contactless technology.
There’s a 2.49 percent fee charged for each transaction using the card – made up of 1.49 in conversion fees and one percent transaction fee. However there are no maintenance fees and no additional cost for ATM withdrawals – but you will need to withdraw less than £200 per month.
Using the card in other European countries will incur a 2.69 percent fee, and outside of Europe will see a 5.49 percent charge. Coinbase says it is planning to roll out the card to other European countries soon, but there are no plans for a US launch just yet.
Crypto.com MCO Visa Card
This is a card offered by the formerly known Monaco Coin team – it works in pair with the MCO wallet. You can then spend cryptocurrency seamlessly at the over 40 million retailers globally who accept Visa.
|MCO Bitcoin Debit Card|
|Supported Currency||USD, BTC|
|Perks/Bonuses||Cashbacks & Discounts|
The list of advantages for Crypto.com card holders rivals that of any of the best Visa rewards cards. Users can use this Visa card with no annual fees, get free shipping, receive up to 2% cashback on purchases, and select cards get unlimited airport lounge access.
Users also have the ability to spend overseas and receive interbank exchange rates. And with the Platinum Referral Reward Program it’s possible for users to receive up to $10,000 sign-on bonus!
The biggest drawback – it currently works only in Singapore with EU zone next on the waiting list. USA and the rest of the world are not even in the queue as of right now.
Nexo is very popular service, primarily for crypto loans but they also plan to launh their own debit card – both physical and free Virtual cards for safe online purchase. Nexo wallet (you don’t own the keys, better use hardware wallets) offers zero transaction fees and you can easily use your existing funds to use with your card. There will be no monthly/annual fees.
Features of Nexo card:
- Freeze and Unfreeze your card with a single tap.
- Create free virtual cards for online purchases
- Cashback on all purchases
- Payment in local currencies
- View your Pin and change it at any ATM
Get on Nexo card wait list
Bitwala Visa Debit Card
Bitwala’s VISA debit card is another premier Bitcoin debit card by the company that gained fame for its ability to pay bills with Bitcoin. This is the most affordable bitcoin debit card on the market, both in terms of card price and the lowest, transparent fees that follow card usage. Bitwala issues prepaid debit cards that can be used with 44 cryptocurrencies and 20 currencies worldwide. The Bitwala team is based in Berlin since 2012. The 15 000+ Bitwala users are spread across 120 countries. They use one of the fiat or cryptocurrencies with great pleasure.
|Bitwala Bitcoin Debit Card|
|Supported Currencies||EUR, BTC|
The Bitwala debit cards are issued in both virtual and physical forms. They cost €2.00 and can be funded with 20 different currencies and 44 cryptocurrencies. Besides the usual USD, EUR and GBP accounts, user may use the Bitwala bitcoin debit card with all European currencies, many currencies in Asia AUD and a couple of currencies in South America. Issuing the PIN code cost 0.80 EUR, while the monthly service fee is €1.
Denominated in Euros, you can use the Bitwala debit card to pay online and offline where VISA is accepted, and cardholders can also cash out at any ATM worldwide with the best rates and transparent fees. ATM withdrawals at domestic machines cost 2.25 EUR. On the other hand, ATM withdrawals at international machines cost 2.75 EUR+ 3% currency exchange rate. As you can see, withdrawing money from ATMs costs a little less than the market average.
Bitwala offers 2 shipping plans for their card:
- Free of charge (after ordering, the card arrives within 7-10 business days)
- For an extra fee of €69 the expedited shipping only takes 3-5 days.
- It has good pricing structure
- It supports 44 altcoins and 20 currencies
- The owners work as C-level directors in the company
- It is not available to US citizens
- There is no search function in FAQ
- It uses third party bitcoin exchanges, not own exchange price
Wirex Visa Debit Card
Wirex is a card company that offers its users USD, EUR and GBP and cryptocurrency debit cards to ease the use of traditional and digital money.
The cryptocurrency debit card allows BTC, ETH, XRP and LTC deposits which can be converted to fiat currencies at live rates. The cards are delivered free worldwide on order, users will pay $1.50 USD management fee per month afterwards to cater for the operational costs.
|Wirex Bitcoin Debit Card|
|Supported Currencies||USD, EUR, GBP, BTC|
Other Wirex debit card fees include $2.50 USD for any ATM withdrawal within Europe and $3.50 USD for withdrawals outside of Europe. Online and offline payment for goods and services is not charged.
Bitcoin users are eligible to the Cryptoback program that returns 0.5% of your Bitcoin every time you punch in your pin, swipe, or use contactless pay with the Wirex VISA debit card. The Wirex cryptocurrency card can be accepted around the world anywhere VISA is accepted.
- The availability of many options of cryptocurrency and fiat payment systems.
- Wirex is an established card company.
- The Wirex app offers efficient transactions to users. The app can be downloaded from Google Play Store, Apple Store or open an online account with Wirex.
- Only available in Europe locking out other investors worldwide.
- The management fee is quite high.
Cryptopay Debit Card
The Cryptopay bitcoin debit VISA card is the oldest and most established Bitcoin debit card, with over 23,000 issued. The CryptoPay card comes up first in the results if you look up “Bitcoin debit cards” in Google. Let’s see if that means it is the best debit card!
|Cryptopay Bitcoin Debit Card|
|Supported Currencies||USD, EUR, GBP, BTC|
Cryptopay supplies a Bitcoin debit card that is available worldwide, and this card has made it simple for customers to spend bitcoins at millions of businesses around the world.
Benefits include access via the three major currencies, and the card can be bought with these currencies, or with Bitcoin. The card price is slightly above average, at $15, and it is shipped for free anywhere in the world. ATM withdrawal costs $2.5. Also, international currency change adds another 3% on each transaction. You can either order a virtual debit card if you’re just into online shopping, or a physical card with a chip & pin. Another great bonus of Cryptopay is that if you don’t need high card limits, you do not have to supply full ID verification.
For buys both offline and online, Cryptopay makes the process convenient for users and easier than ever for merchants, and in Europe you’ll get faster delivery times (about 5 business days).
- Supplies both physical and virtual cards
- Available worldwide
- Access via the three major currencies
- Maintenance and load fees
- You can only load up to €2500 in your card if you’re not verified
Xapo was one of the first companies to supply a Bitcoin debit card, beginning operations as a company back in 2013. Xapo serves major markets like China, Japan, Canada, and the U.K, but it does not serve most African countries (except South Africa) and the US.
Xapo claim to offer most secured bitcoin storage option available. Their bitcoin wallets are easy to use and backed with a serious infrastructure, and they are known as of the Fort Knox of bitcoin.
The card arrives within 10 to 25 days depending on the distance and standard shipping is free. However, for an extra $55 DHL expedited shipping delivers the cards just within 7 days.
Xapo’s service cannot be used completely anonymously, and even unverified users must provide certain personal information, like name, phone number, e-mail, date and country of birth. Unverified users may withdraw $1 000 cash maximum and spend $2500 online. On the other hand, verified users have no limit on online purchases nor in ATM withdrawals. Only daily limits apply – daily ATM withdrawal at $2 000 which can come from 2 transactions, and POS spending is capped at $20 000.
The Xapo debit card costs $20 with a $1 for the PIN. The first year annual fees are free of charge. However, from next year it costs $12 annually. Xapo charges 1% fee for purchasing bitcoins. However, it has no network transaction fee for sending bitcoins using a Xapo account. Users may withdraw cash from international ATMs for $3.5 and domestic ATMs for $2.5. Buying with the Xapo debit cards cost no money in the card’s default currency, but foreign exchange fee is 3% if the purchase currency is not the same as the account’s base currency.
Using the Xapo account itself is free, which means that unlike many other bitcoin debit card provider, the funding of the account does not cost anything to the user.
- No top up fees are charged
- It has strong capital structure
- It has high level of security
- Established company reputation
- US citizens are excluded
- Shipping is expensive
- Unverified user have limit for POS and online transactions
- No chip and PIN
BitPay VISA Debit Card
Although this is the newest kid on the block, BitPay’s VISA debit card is probably the most exciting of the bunch. Bitpay is a well known company in the Bitcoin ecosystem. It provides payment solutions for individuals and businesses. It is the first Bitcoin debit card that is available to US residents from all 50 states, but you must have a home address (no PO boxes), Social Security number, and government-issued ID to apply.
|BitPay Bitcoin Debit Card|
|Supported Currencies||USD, BTC|
The card costs a low $9.95 to obtain and there is also no charge to change your PIN (most cards here have a $1 charge.) This card arrives 7-10 days after purchase. It works with any ATM that works with VISA cards, and can also be used online, in-person.
You will pay a fee of 3% when traveling outside of the US to cover the cost of currency conversion. There is a $3.00 fee for any ATM or cash-back withdrawals outside of the US and a $2.00 fee for ATM or cash-back withdrawals inside the US.
Benefits include the highest limits of this comparison, because each card can hold up to $25,000 in funds, and up to $3,000 can be withdrawn daily, $750 at a time. These numbers are all highest in this review, which removes the need for any verification at all.
This card is exactly what you would want in a Bitcoin debit card. Customer support has been solid and the online account is easy to use. Transfers into dollars can be done in less than one minute and no documents needed for high limits.
- Card is accepted worldwide
- Well known and established company
- Plenty of security and currency options to choose from
- Online account is easy to use
- Solid customer support
- It requires verification
- It doesn’t have chip and PIN
- It is limited to US citizens only
Services to Avoid
- BitPlastic– It was among the first Bitcoin debit cards, but they do not appear to be innovating much. Supposedly they are TOR compatible. However, whenever I try to use their services, I get strange error messages. Maybe there is too much cyber security on my computer for them!! To get started, BitPlastic actually encourages you to use TOR email and a fake name. Your name is not printed on the card because it does not require your ID. This is a double-edged sword. You can take money out of ATM’s anonymously. However, it can be difficult to find an offline merchant who will accept a nameless card at checkout.
No card is perfect and most of these cards are more or less the same. The difference is only in their branding because they probably all use the same card supplier to run their business. However, the market has come a long way since BitPlastic, and just because you own Bitcoin does not mean you can’t shop conveniently, anywhere in the world.
You now have plenty of solid options, but I recommend to make sure the bitcoin debit card you choose is available in your country and then use the one with the lowest fees. For example, using Shift is a reasonable option if you live in the US.
CaptainAltcoin's writers and guest post authors may or may not have a vested interest in any of the mentioned projects and businesses. None of the content on CaptainAltcoin is investment advice nor is it a replacement for advice from a certified financial planner. The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of CaptainAltcoin.com