Did you know there is a way you can spend your crypto like fiat currency without converting your coins?
Meet crypto credit cards that function like normal (traditional) payment cards with the only difference that you spend your digital assets instead of cash.
Early on, when digital assets were rather new, we didn’t have too many cryptocurrency credit cards to choose from. Fortunately, with the industry’s growth and the rising popularity of digital assets, there are plenty of great crypto credit and debit card solutions on the market.
In this article, we will explore what a crypto credit card is, how it works, and the best cryptocurrency debit card solutions to spend your coins.
Let’s dive in!
What Is a Crypto Credit Card?
A crypto credit card is a payment card that allows the cardholder to spend his digital assets like they were cash.
By utilizing large, global traditional payment networks like Visa or MasterCard, you can use your cryptocurrency credit card to shop even in stores that don’t have dedicated crypto payment gateways.
Therefore, crypto credit cards bridge the gap between the digital asset space and the traditional world, providing a new use-case for cryptocurrencies.
Cardholders benefit from the ability to hold some cryptocurrency in their wallet while using the other part to pay their bills, buy coffee, or spend their crypto for other products and services.
Additionally, merchants without dedicated digital asset payment gateways benefit from the purchasing power of crypto enthusiasts who use their cryptocurrency debit cards in their stores.
How Do Crypto Credit Cards Work?
How crypto credit cards work depends on the solution you choose.
Generally speaking, you send your digital assets to a dedicated cryptocurrency wallet (usually on the service provider’s platform) and load them on your card. Some crypto credit card solutions may require you to exchange digital assets into fiat currency to load them on your card.
Also, other service providers do not require their users to store cryptocurrency on dedicated wallets. So you are free to use whichever (compatible) wallet you prefer to load funds on your card.
After loading your crypto on your card, you are ready to make digital asset payments. Your crypto debit card will work as a traditional payment card. Therefore, you will be able to make all kinds of payments from paying your rent and utility bills to buying beer or your favorite latte while you are on your way to work.
Unless the service provider requires you to convert your digital assets into fiat currency, the cryptocurrency on your card will be automatically exchanged into cash when you make a purchase.
Like prepaid cards, your crypto card will have different periodical limits (e.g., maximum balance, daily purchase, and monthly top-up limits).
Some of the crypto debit card solutions use universal limits for all their customers. Others utilize tiered systems where users in the higher levels have increased limits as well as access to premium features (e.g., airport lounge access, cashback rewards).
In exchange for a higher tier, users have to either pay a monthly subscription fee or stake cryptocurrency (lock up some coins for a specific time in their wallets).
What Are the Best Crypto Credit and Debit Cards?
In this section, we have collected the top five crypto debit card solutions.
Let’s see them!
1. Crypto.com MCO Visa Card
Crypto.com’s MCO Visa Card is one of the most popular cryptocurrency credit cards on the market.
Formerly known as Monaco and later re-branding to Crypto.com, the Hong Kong-based company created a comprehensive cryptocurrency credit card solution after securing nearly $27 million in its token sale in June 2017.
What made Crypto.com’s MCO Visa Card popular is its crypto cashback rewards system, where users receive rebates in MCO tokens on their purchases.
In addition to the MCO Visa Card, Crypto.com features a rapidly growing ecosystem where users can store, exchange, and earn digital assets as well as use their coins as collateral to borrow funds on the platform.
The MCO Visa Card features competitive fees.
First, there is no card issuance fee. Also, you don’t have to pay a dime for maintaining your account.
While depositing crypto and exchanging it to other coins is free, Crypto.com charges a small fee for withdrawals. Also, if you use a credit or debit card to exchange fiat to crypto instantly, you will be charged a 3.5% fee.
Based on your account tier, you can withdraw a certain amount of cash in ATMs per month ($200 for the lowest level) for free. After you reach that limit, Crypto.com will charge a 2% fee for ATM withdrawals.
The same goes for interbank exchange limits, which will cost you 0.5% after reaching your monthly limits ($2,000 for the lowest tier).
The MCO Visa Card is available in the European Union, the UK, Canada, the United States, and multiple APAC countries.
Why We Like It
The first reason why we like the MCO Visa Card is its widespread availability, which is among the best among crypto debit card solutions.
While Crypto.com uses a tiered system – where you have to stake MCO tokens for at least six months to access premium features as well as higher limits and more rewards –, you’ll get quite high limits as well as a 1% cashback rate with the basic card (Midnight Blue) that requires no staking.
In addition to the competitive fees on all levels, you have access to plenty of premium features – such as free Netflix, Spotify, and Amazon Prime subscriptions, bonus Airbnb and Expedia cashback, as well as airport lounge access – at higher account tiers.
Read our review on the MCO Visa Card for more information.
2. Coinbase Card
Coinbase, one of the most popular cryptocurrency exchanges, launched its crypto debit card solution in the EEA in 2019.
With support for nine coins – Bitcoin, Ethereum, Bitcoin Cash, Ripple, Basic Attention Token, Augur, 0x, Stellar Lumens, and Litecoin – Coinbase cardholders can use their Coinbase Wallet balance to fund their cards directly with crypto.
Like the MCO Visa card, the Coinbase Card uses Visa’s network to offer its users worldwide coverage for cryptocurrency payments.
The company’s cryptocurrency exchange has been known for its user-friendly platform, not its low fees.
And the same can be said about the Coinbase Card. However, considering that you are using the cryptocurrency debit card of one of the most prominent companies in the industry, the Coinbase Card’s fees are more than reasonable. While there are no fees for account maintenance, Coinbase charges 4.95 EUR for card issuance.
Like with the MCO Card, you get a decent limit for free monthly ATM withdrawals with Coinbase (200 EUR). For domestic cash withdrawals, you have to pay a 1% fee, while it costs 2% to withdraw funds in an international ATM after you’ve reached your free limits.
In addition to some other fees – which you can take a look at here – Coinbase also charges your card for international transactions (3% for international and 0.20% for intra-EEA POS transfers).
Currently, the Coinbase Card is available in the EEA.
However, Coinbase will likely expand its crypto debit card service to additional markets (such as the United States).
Why We Like It
The Coinbase Card comes from a trusted service provider with a great history in the cryptocurrency space. And, as mentioned before, the Coinbase Card’s fees are reasonable if you take the service provider’s reputation into account.
While you can hold nine cryptocurrencies on your Coinbase Card, it’s a good feature to load your card directly using your Coinbase Wallet.
3. Wirex Visa Card
Founded in 2014, the UK-based Wirex has been one of the oldest crypto debit card solutions on the market. In addition to the crypto debit card, Wirex has a mobile app where you have access to a built-in cryptocurrency exchange and wallet. You can fund the latter with both fiat currency and digital assets.
Similarly to the MCO Card, you get crypto cashback rewards (in BTC) on your Wirex Card purchases. The percentage of crypto rebates you receive on your transactions is based on how much Wirex Tokens (WXT) you hold.
Like Coinbase, the Wirex Visa Card features higher fees than some of its competitors (e.g., the MCO Visa Card). However, as Wirex has been operating its cryptocurrency card service since 2014, it is reasonable to assume that your funds are secure with the company.
While there are no fees for card issuance and delivery, Wirex charges 1.20 EUR per month for account maintenance. Also, Wirex charges a 3% foreign exchange fee for international transactions, which is added to both your non-domestic card purchases and ATM withdrawals.
The fixed fee is 2.25 EUR for domestic and 2.75 EUR for international ATM cash withdrawals.
Initially, the Wirex card was only available in the EEA. However, the company has recently expanded its services to countries in other regions (such as the APAC).
You can find more information about the crypto debit card’s availability on Wirex’s website.
Why We Like It
Wirex has been a trusted crypto debit card service provider with a great history of operation.
In addition to the credibility, you also get an up to 1.5% cash back rewards rate by holding a certain amount of the company’s tokens.
With an integrated crypto-to-fiat exchange, you can easily load both digital and traditional currency on your Wirex Card.
4. Monolith Visa Debit Card (Formerly TokenCard)
Formerly known as TokenCard, the Monolith Visa Debit Card is among the most exciting cryptocurrency credit card solutions.
In addition to a crypto debit card that uses Ethereum’s network for digital asset wallets, the Monolith Card provides access to the DeFi (decentralized finance) economy for its users.
Monolith is powered by the project’s native TKN token, an ERC-20 digital asset running on the Ethereum network. TKN holders can use the coin to get fee discounts when they top up their card as well as redeem their share from Community Contributions.
In addition to providing an affordable crypto credit card solution, Monolith is very transparent about its fees.
You can get a Monolith Card in two base currencies: EUR or GBP, which will be used to calculate some of your fees. There is no account maintenance, card issuance, or shipping charges with Monolith. For funding your card, Monolith charges a 1+1% fee. One of these fees is the Community Contribution fee – that goes to TKN holders who can withdraw their share anytime – while you pay the other for card top-ups.
However, if you top up your Monolith Visa Debit Card with TKN, the service provider will waive the Community Contribution fee. You can also eliminate the top-up fee if you choose to load your card with DAI.
Although, it’s important to note that no matter which option you choose, you have to pay a 1% fee for loading your card with funds.
While it’s free to exchange fiat to crypto and vice versa at Monolith, the company charges 1.75% on transactions that are not in your base fiat currency (EUR or GBP).
You have two free base currency ATM withdrawals in a month. After reaching your limits, domestic cash withdrawals will cost you 0.85 EUR while withdrawing funds from your Monolith Card has a fixed 2 EUR fee (1.5 EUR for GBP withdrawals).
The Monolith Visa Debit Card is available in all 31 countries of the EEA as well as in multiple Special Member State Territories.
Why We Like It
The Monolith Visa Debit Card is nothing like the other crypto credit card solutions on the market.
In addition to the cost-efficient fees and high levels of transparency, you have exclusive ownership over your Monolith Ethereum wallet. You can track your spending in real-time for your Monolith Card in the service’s iOS or Android app.
As a great benefit, Monolith has a Decentralized Exchange (DEX) aggregator that you can use to swap tokens at the best rates on the market. In the near future, Monolith is planning to add support for WalletConnect to (optionally) integrate numerous DeFi solutions into user wallets.
Monolith also seeks to offer customers the opportunity to receive their salaries in DAI by integrating either a regular sort code and account number or a European IBAN into the app.
5. TenX Visa Card
In June 2017, TenX collected a huge sum ($80 million) from its contributors during the company’s token sale. Later on, the project launched its crypto debit card solution, the TenX Visa Card, which has become one of the most popular services in the Asia Pacific region.
Interestingly, TenX also offers its cryptocurrency credit card as a virtual payment card that customers can use instantly upon approval.
While the TenX Card’s fees may seem much at first, it’s important to note that the company does not charge any foreign exchange fees. Therefore, we can safely say that the TenX Visa Card has quite reasonable fees.
The card issuance fee is 15 USD or 15 EUR for physical and 5 USD or 5 EUR for virtual crypto credit cards. After the first year (which is free), TenX will charge a $10 annual fee, which can be waived by spending at least $1,000 in a year.
TenX does not charge any fees for card shipping, deposits, or crypto withdrawals. However, for ATM cash withdrawals, TenX will charge 3.25 USD or 3 EUR per transaction.
Also, the service provider will charge a small spread when you convert fiat to crypto or vice versa.
Currently, the TenX Visa Card is available in APAC countries as well as in Austria and Germany.
However, the company will likely expand its services to additional countries in the near future.
Why We Like It
Similarly to Monolith, we appreciate how TenX is transparent about its fees, which seem quite reasonable, considering that there are no foreign exchange charges for international transactions.
We also like that there is an option at TenX to get a virtual crypto debit card with your account that you can use instantly after your account is approved.
As an additional benefit, you have access to multiple security controls and spending features with the TenX Visa Card.
How Do You Get a Crypto Card?
Now that you know the essentials about crypto debit cards, it’s time to show you how to get one.
Please note that the instructions here are general, and the service provider you choose may require different steps to get a crypto card.
Step 1: Registering an Account
First, you need to open an account at a crypto debit card provider.
Most service providers use dedicated wallets to load cryptocurrency on your card. Therefore, you will get a crypto wallet when you open an account at such services.
Important: When you receive a cryptocurrency wallet with your account, make sure to write down and store your wallet’s secret keys at a safe place. You can either keep them securely on your computer or print them and store the document at a physical location. No matter where you store them, you should have exclusive access to your private keys, and you should never share them with anyone.
Step 2: Verifying Your Account
As the company operates a payment service, it has to comply with different regulations.
Therefore, the next step is to submit Know Your Customer (KYC) and Anti-Money Laundering (AML) documents to verify your identity and residence. You may also need to answer some questions, such as the purpose of your account or the origin of your funds.
After submitting the documents, the cryptocurrency credit card provider will take some time to verify them.
Step 3: Shipping and Activation
Upon successful verification, the service provider will ship your crypto debit card to your address.
While some cryptocurrency credit card solutions will do this automatically, others – especially those that require users to stake coins to unlock premium features – may ask you to deposit digital assets to a specific wallet before shipping your card.
In case you have to stake crypto to receive your card – and unlock higher account tiers –, make sure that you know the exact requirements and potential risks.
When you have received your card, the next step is to activate it based on the service provider’s instructions.
Step 4: Crypto Credit Card Top-Ups
Upon successful activation, send crypto to either a dedicated wallet or one that’s compatible with the cryptocurrency card solution you are using.
If you don’t have any digital assets, we recommend using a prominent cryptocurrency exchange to convert fiat to crypto, and sending those coins to your card wallet.
Crypto credit card solutions use two different processes here.
A part of cryptocurrency debit card services allows users to load digital assets directly to their cards. For these solutions, you have to use your coins to top up your card. Sometimes, it is enough to have your coins in the service provider’s dedicated wallet. In that case, they will be automatically loaded on your card.
For the other process, you have to convert some of your digital assets to the base fiat currency (usually EUR, USD, or GBP), and use those funds to top up your card.
Whatever the process, you are ready to use your crypto credit card after a successful top-up.
Crypto Credit Cards: Bridging the Gap Between Traditional Finance and the Cryptocurrency World
By allowing crypto enthusiasts to spend their digital assets directly from their wallets, cryptocurrency debit cards open up new opportunities for the industry.
Fortunately, as the industry is developing at a fast rate, we have access to numerous crypto credit card solutions that provide an excellent service to their customers.
From cashback rewards and premium features to access to the DeFi economy via the Ethereum blockchain, crypto debit cards empower the industry with new use-cases while providing numerous benefits to users.
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