Bitrefill Review – A Beginner’s Guide

By: Eliot Prince | Last updated: 5/1/20

Bitrefill is a website and app exchange platform aiming to make living with cryptocurrency easier. This post covers everything you need to know about the company and its services.

Bitrefill Review Summary

Bitrefill aims to allow users to to buy almost anything with cryptocurrencies via the use of gift cards. The company supports a wide variety of gift cards and the purchasing process is pretty easy and intuitive. Service fees range between 2%-3%.

The service seems solid with the only downside seems to be a somewhat unresponsive support staff.

That’s Bitrefill in a nutshell. For a more detailed review keep on reading, here’s what I’ll cover:

  1. Company Overview
  2. Company Services
  3. Currencies and Payment Methods
  4. Fees
  5. Limits
  6. Supported Countries
  7. Customer Support and Reviews
  8. Conclusion

1. Company Overview

Bitrefill was founded by Michael Grünberger, Michel Gustavsson and Sergej Kotliar in 2014 from Stockholm, Sweden.

During 2019 it expanded its services after successful seed funding totalling over $2 million. This includes investment from notable VC firms and Litecoin creator Charlie Lee.

Bitrefill is helping to make living on cryptocurrency easier and I am excited to help them grow. Their participation on the Lighting Network opens up even more potential for Bitcoin and beyond.” explains Lee in a Bitrefill press release. 

bitrefill homepage

The ultimate goal for the growing platform is to enable users to buy anything with cryptocurrency. Currently, that is achieved via gift cards, mobile phone top-ups and a lightning network node.


2. Company Services

Bitrefill offers a clean well developed user interface accessible via a web platform or app. There are 3 main services on offer – gift card, phone refills and lightning network access.

Gift Card

When you land on Bitrefill’s website you are immediately greeted with the option to buy gift cards with cryptocurrency. I thought this was a good place to start, an amazon voucher would be handy for buying gifts in the upcoming festive season!

The user-interface makes the whole process so simple. It immediately recognises my location in the United Kingdom and offers correlating gift card options. This is handy, as it would be easy to accidentally buy an amazon.com voucher rather than amazon.co.uk.

There are just 3 quick steps to complete and no need for an account sign up. First, select your amount, I just stuck with the minimum, £10.

Next, you add the email address to where you want the voucher delivered. Then select your payment cryptocurrency.

Finally, just scan the QR code and send the payment to the Bitrefill address. Everything else is automated.

payment detected

In less than 2 minutes I had a £10 amazon gift voucher, which I can confirm is legitimate.

On the face of it, Bitrefill is one of the smoothest ways to turn cryptocurrencies into a spendable format or digital asset.

Phone Refills

This works very much the same way as a gift card. You simply choose your carrier, email and make the payment. A refill code is then delivered to your email address.

Lightning Network

Bitrefill has also added an innovative lightning network channel called Thor, a function I’ve not seen in many platforms.

Essentially it allows people to open an empty lightning channel on the Bitrefill node. This enables users to send and receive Bitcoin almost instantaneously.

While most people aren’t currently using Bitcoin’s Lightning Network it is an innovative solution for merchants to accept Bitcoin payments.

Without Bitrefill’s channel, you need to lock funds into a lightning channel to open it. For retail payments, consumers are unlikely to do this for a single merchant. It would require them to lock funds into a channel to spend at a later date.

Bitrefill negates this problem as its node allows users to create empty receiving channels. Users can then send Bitcoin via the Bitrefill service and the integration of a Lightning wallet.

It’s an innovative solution to the current barriers in growing the use of Bitcoin’s Lightning Network.


3. Currencies and Payment Methods

Bitrefill is not a place to buy Bitcoin, it is a place to spend Bitcoin. Sorry, Hodlers!

It is completely immersed in digital assets from cryptocurrency to gift cards.

You can purchase gift cards and phone credit via:

  • Bitcoin
  • Litecoin
  • Ethereum
  • Dogecoin
  • DASH

There are over 1500 vouchers on offer including most major retailers such as Amazon, Google Play, Apple, Steam, Walmart, PlayStation, Microsoft, eBay.

Credit for all major telecoms providers is available too.


4. Fees

The fees are not clearly stated on the website and are built into the transaction. My purchase of a £10 Amazon voucher cost 0.215921 Litecoin which equates £10.24 at the time of writing.

Additionally there was a markup of 2.4%, on further inspection, the rate seems to vary anywhere between 2% and 3% depending on the cryptocurrency and purchase amount.

Network fees are not included in this as you are sending payment from an exterior wallet. So overall £10 an amazon voucher cost me £10.29.

The markups are fine on a small transaction but heavy with large buys. For a large transaction, you’ll be better off using a more traditional order book exchange. Overall, for the convenience and speed I can’t complain too much.


5. Buying Limits

Various limits apply depending on what product you are buying on Bitrefill. Here are some examples for you:

Phone refills:

  • Maximum of $100 per day per number

Gift cards vary massively depending on type and location:

  • Amazon.com gift voucher is a maximum of $2000 per transaction
  • Amazon.co.uk gift voucher is a maximum of £5000 per transaction
  • Gift voucher minimum is generally around $10.

The Thor Lightning Network Channel – depending on Bitcoin market prices.

  • Minimum of about $50
  • Maximum of about $1500

6. Supported Countries

Bitrefill offers services spanning 170 countries with over 1500 vouchers to choose from. Voucher choice depends heavily on location.

For example, Amazon vouchers are available to USA, UK, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, India, Japan and China.

I was particularly drawn to the fact that you could truly travel the world using Bitcoin through Bitrefill. You can buy Expedia flights, hotels, Uber even food via the platform.


7. Customer Support and Online Reviews

The Bitrefill website is particularly easy to use and doesn’t require much help or explanation. Happily, there is an adequate FAQ page to answer most simple questions.

I did feel very much at the mercy of the technology which is completely automated. It doesn’t feel like there is much of a human face to the company. This is worrying if something goes wrong. There is an email contact for support which replied to my queries in 12 hours which is pretty good.

Looking at reviews elsewhere around the internet gives a pretty good indication of how Bitrefill deal with customer support.

The Bitrefill subreddit is filled with customer issues and requests for help. Generally due to web glitches and crashes during transactions. The customer support team is not very responsive to its own subreddit.

bitrefill reddit

The service maintains a 4-star rating on both Google Play Store and Bittrust. People seem generally happy with the service and its reliability.

I certainly had no issues. However, when things do go wrong users appear to be left in the dark. Despite dealing with my personal email query, there appears to be a lot of people who have had less help.

Whilst customer support has historically been a problem in the cryptocurrency industry, many companies have now addressed their downfalls. Bitrefill seems to have room for improvement in this area. I believe it is the reason it is a 4-star service not 5-star.


8. Conclusion

Bitrefill is legitimate and has received strong investment from some notable figures. The services on offer are slick and well designed making it painless to swap crypto for spendable assets like gift cards.

Currency support is streamlined with a small selection of cryptocurrencies exchangeable for a huge selection of gift cards. Perhaps we don’t need any more coins, sometimes the choice of cryptocurrencies can be overwhelming. Bitcoin, Ethereum and Litecoin are enough for me.

Fees are competitive for such a convenient service at between 2% and 3%, you can instantly access gift cards to spend almost anywhere in the world at a fair price.

Unfortunately, customer support is a let down at the moment and the only big weakness I could find in the platform. If you don’t experience any issues then no problems. But I am left wondering how much help you get if a transaction doesn’t complete. I’d be nervous about a large transaction.

Have you had any experience with Bitrefill? I’d love to hear about it in the comment section below.

Bitrefill

8.5

Ease of use

9.5/10

Currency options

8.1/10

Variety of merchants

9.1/10

Customer support

7.2/10

Pros

  • Very easy and intuitive to use
  • Wide variety of merchants available

Cons

  • Limited currency options
  • Questionable customer support

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