Bitcoin Debit Cards Reviewed and Compared
Last updated: 15.10.18
A debit card that can be loaded with Bitcoins – It’s as simple as it sounds. Using your Bitcoin debit card you can pay with your debit card at any “normal” store while the charge is deducted from your Bitcoin balance (plus a fee of course).
Even though the list of merchants that accept Bitcoin is continuously expanding, it’s still not possible to buy everything with Bitcoin. However, thanks to several companies in the Bitcoin ecosystem you can now order your own Bitcoin debit card.
Here’s what we’re going to cover in this post:
- What are Bitcoin debit cards?
- Best Bitcoin debit cards reviewed
- Inactive debit cards
- Conclusion – Which card should you choose?
Simply put, Bitcoin debit cards allow you to add funding in Bitcoin to your card’s prepaid balance. Thanks to that, you can buy almost anything with Bitcoin. While many businesses don’t accept payments in Bitcoin (yet), they do accept debit cards. With a Bitcoin debit card, merchants get paid in their own currency while you are charged in Bitcoin from your prepaid balance.
However there are downsides. First, when using a Bitcoin debit card, you’re basically giving someone else control over your coins (at least the ones you’ve deposited).
Second, this service comes with a price. Every payment you make entails both processing fees as well as conversion fees for paying with a foreign currency if you’re not using the card’s native currency.
Important – On January 5, 2018 Visa suspended the activity of WaveCrest – the company providing most crypto credit cards out there. This means that Xape, Wirex, TenX, Bitwala and CryptoPay either suspended their services or work only in specific countries.
There are only 4 active companies that supply Bitcoin debit cards. Here’s an overview of all of them:
Pros: Multiple coins supported, established company
cons: Available only in the EEI, relatively high maintenance fees
Overall rating: 4.5 stars
Previously known as E-coin, the company rebranded to Wirex in 2016. The company supplies a Chip & Pin visa debit card that can be loaded through your Wirex app (desktop or mobile). The card can be loaded with Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), Ripple (XRP) and Litecoin (LTC).
Card balance can be converted to USD, EUR or GBP.
The card is available to all EEI residents and will soon be available in North America and Asia as well. The card is usable anywhere Visa is accepted.
There is a $2.5 for ATM withdrawal within Europe and $3.5 outside of it. Account management costs $1.5/month. The company also supplies a virtual card if you don’t need the actual plastic.
Pros: Well known company, no transaction fees
cons: Limited to US residents only, Bitcoin only
Overall rating: 4.5 stars
For US residents there is the option of using Bitpay’s Bitcoin debit card. The card is available in all 50 US states. You must have a home address (no PO boxes), government-issued ID, and Social Security number to apply.
The card costs a flat fee of $9.95 and takes about 7 days to arrive in the mail. There are no transaction fees for the Bitpay card. Bitpay’s card supports only Bitcoin.
If you’re using the card outside of the US you will need to pay a 3% conversion fee. If you withdraw money from your card you will pay a $2 fee ($3 outside the US). There are also additional deposit and mailing fees which can be seen here.
Pros: Multiple currency support,
cons: Russia only, relatively high fees
Overall rating: 4.5 stars
Founded in October of 2013, Cryptopay is a wallet and payment platform that also issues a Bitcoin debit card. The card is currently available in Russia only (European residents can use a virtual card). You can either order a physical card with a chip & pin, or a virtual debit card if you’re just into online shopping.
The card supports BTC, ETH, LTC and XRP.
The physical card costs $15 and is shipped for free worldwide. ATM withdrawal costs $2.5 and international currency change adds another 3% on each transaction. The card has a monthly maintenance fee of $1 and a 1% commission for loading money. Non-verified you can load up to €1000 in your card.
Pros: Easily connects to your Coinbase account, no maintenance fee
cons: BTC only, high ordering fee
Overall rating: 4 Stars
Shift position themselves as “the first US Bitcoin debit card”. The company supplies a debit card that is connected to your Coinbase account. The card is available in 46 out of 50 US states at the moment.
The card costs $20 to produce and has no maintenance fees. There is a 3% international transaction fee and $2.5 flat ATM withdrawal fee ($3.5 for international withdrawals).
The Shift debit card is accepted at any Visa supported payment terminal.
- XAPO debit card
- SpectroCoin debit card
- CoinsBank debit card
- ANXPro debit card
- TenX debit card
With the ongoing shortage of payment processors there aren’t a lot of options to choose from like there were in the past. US residents can choose from Bitpay and Shift, while European residents should go with Wirex. In the end, most of these cards work more or less the same.
On a personal note, using a Bitcoin or crypto debit card is a great way to start realizing your crypto gains on a day to day basis. Hopefully, a suitable solution will be found and the previous companies will resume their services.
Have you had any experience with a Bitcoin debit card? If so, I’d love to hear about it in the comment section below.