2021 started off with a massive rally for bitcoin. The price of the first cryptocurrency broke $40,000, more than doubling the previous all-time high reached in 2017. The wave of growth entailed an influx of new users into the cryptocurrency market. In this article, we will look at one of the ways to use cryptocurrencies in everyday life, crypto cards, and talk about the most popular crypto card issuers, the benefits of each of them and the possible risks. Learn more about kraken trading bot at our official resource.
What is a cryptocard?
A cryptocurrency card is an analogue of a bank debit card that allows you to replenish your card account and pay using one or more cryptocurrencies. Since many stores and points of sale do not accept cryptocurrency itself as a means of payment due to legal barriers and unwillingness to become a victim of the high volatility of cryptocurrencies, most crypto cards provide the ability to pay with instant conversion of cryptocurrency to fiat currency.
The convenience of crypto cards lies in the ability to replenish a card account using cryptocurrencies without the need to first go through a long procedure of exchanging cryptocurrencies for the desired fiat currency and crediting it to a personal bank account. Such a tool is most in demand among those who receive part of their salary in cryptocurrencies, and other holders of cryptocurrencies who want to be able not only to invest in digital assets, but also use them in everyday life - in grocery stores, restaurants, to buy airline tickets or goods in online stores.
Founded in 2011, BitPay has grown to be one of the largest payment crypto processors in the world. In 2016, BitPay was one of the first companies to launch its own debit card, allowing you to deposit with bitcoin, pay for purchases through POS terminals, and withdraw money (fiat) from ATMs after instant conversion at the market rate. The first series of BitPay prepaid cards worked on the VISA payment system, but in 2020 the company changed partners. Currently, the BitPay Prepaid Mastercard is available for issuance only to US residents, where it is issued in partnership with Metropolitan Commercial Bank and works on the MasterCard payment system.
The cardholder must first register an account in the BitPay wallet, fund their wallet account with cryptocurrency or fiat, and then replenish the card account from the wallet account. It should be taken into account that when replenishing a card account, cryptocurrencies are automatically converted into US dollars and fiat money is actually stored on the card, not digital assets.
British crypto card company Wirex operates a digital financial platform, one of whose services is the issuance of prepaid crypto cards. The Wirex platform supports 10 different cryptocurrencies (BTC, LTC, ETH, XRP, WAVES, WOLLO, DAI, NANO, XLM and internal tokens of the Wirex Tokens platform), as well as EUR, GBP and USD fiat currencies. As of the end of 2020, there were approximately 3 million registered Wirex Card holders worldwide.
The card is available for registration only for residents of Europe and Asia, not available in the USA and Russia. Wirex is a full member of MasterCard and Visa payment systems in Europe. With full membership of the VISA payment system, which was achieved in December 2020, Wirex is able to independently issue VISA cards without resorting to the services of third-party issuing partners.
To replenish a Wirex VISA card, you need to register a personal account on the Wirex platform, transfer money to it using one of the convenient methods (cryptocurrencies or bank transfers) and replenish the card account from this current account. Crediting to the card account is made in three fiat currencies - pounds sterling, euros or US dollars.
One of the nice bonuses provided to Wirex Card holders is cashback for purchases through POS terminals at points of sale. It is up to 1.5% of the purchase amount and is charged in bitcoins.
In 2020, TTM Bank, a virtual bank registered in Estonia, launched the issuance of cryptocurrency cards that work on the VISA payment system and can be used wherever cards of this system are accepted. The TTM cryptocard has two important advantages that distinguish it from the other analogues mentioned. Firstly, TTM crypto cards do not require the storage of digital assets on the wallet of the corresponding service. The owner can replenish the card account directly from his wallet, and not first transfer coins to the current account, and already from it to the card account. This keeps control over crypto assets in the hands of their owners, who do not need to trust other services to store coins. Secondly, it is the only crypto card
It is possible to replenish the TTM crypto card account using four digital assets (BTC, ETH, USDT and TRX) or a regular bank card, from which the required amount will be debited in fiat. When credited to a card account, funds are converted into euros. Distribution, delivery and maintenance of card accounts is carried out by the company's partner, financial services operator UAB Walletto, registered in Lithuania and being a member of the Visa payment network. Deposited funds are kept in a licensed bank. Users can issue both a plastic card and its virtual equivalent.
The TTM card also allows you to make instant transfers to the accounts of other TTM Bank crypto card holders without commission. Transfers are made in euros. The sender only needs to indicate the recipient's card number and the full name of the recipient user.
The number of active users of issued TTM crypto cards at the end of 2020 exceeded 40,000.
Launched at the height of the cryptocurrency boom in 2017, the Monaco ICO project survived a decline in investor interest, a crypto winter, and a drop in the value of the internal token of the MCO platform, but managed to cope with difficulties and continue to exist. In 2018, the project rebranded and also acquired the Crypto.com service, under which cryptocurrency cards are now issued, available to residents of the US and Canada, Europe and the UK, as well as Singapore.
The Visa MCO card works on the VISA payment system and can be used at VISA-connected points of sale and ATMs around the world.
The Crypto Card (MCO) offers a wide range of pricing plans. Five levels of cards are available to holders, depending on the number of internal CRO tokens that the client owns. At the base level, cardholders can enjoy 1% cashback on the value of a transaction, and a fee-free ATM withdrawal limit of $200 per month. For the highest, fifth, level, there is an 8% cashback, a limit on cash withdrawals from ATMs up to $1000 per month, as well as many other bonuses - a 10% discount on bookings through popular platforms, an affiliate program with a business jet ordering service, access to the business lounges of the airport.
To replenish a Crypto MCO card, you need to register on the platform, replenish your current account using cryptocurrencies or a bank transfer, and then send the required amount to the card account. When credited to a card account, the cryptocurrency is converted into US dollars.
Unlike its Crypto competitors
(MCO) is issued in plastic only and is not available as a virtual card.
Another veteran of digital currency payment services is CryptoPay. The company occupies a leading position in Europe and allows you to buy cryptocurrencies with a bank card, store, transfer and exchange BTC, ETH, LTC and XRP, and also issues crypto cards for everyday use. The CryptoPay card works on the VISA payment network and allows you to pay for purchases wherever cards of this payment network are accepted. Customers are given a choice - to order a plastic card or issue a virtual card. Only residents of the European Economic Area (EEA) can become a holder of a prepaid Cryptopay cryptocard.
Tariffs for basic transactions with the Cryptopay cryptocard correspond to global practice: a monthly subscription fee is provided, cash withdrawals from ATMs in Europe are €2.5, and outside of it - €3.5.
To replenish a Cryptopay card, you need to register a personal account in the Cryptopay service, replenish your current account using cryptocurrencies or a bank transfer, and then send the required amount to the card account. When credited to a card account, the cryptocurrency is converted into US dollars.