Just like any other currency, Bitcoin also has a debit card. It performs just the same functions as every other debit card, by connecting your debit card to your Bitcoin balance. Bitcoin can be used to buy almost anything currently, with many merchants ready to accept this steadily appreciating digital currency, therefore, to improve the trade experience of Bitcoin users, several Bitcoin debit Visa cards are now available. This debit cards are a support to Bitcoin ATMs worldwide and can be used just like any other debit card. When you purchase something with the Bitcoin debit card, the merchant receives money in their local currency, while your Bitcoin balance reduces.
Now, the different Bitcoin debit card companies, charge differently, serve in different geographical locations and allow different limits of Bitcoin to be deposited with them. We will review the very best, and allow you to make your choice depending on your preference.
5 Bitcoin Debit Cards
- Shift Card
Launched in 2013, Cryptopay, is the most established Bitcoin debit card, with very many users. Using Cryptopay, Bitcoins can be spent anywhere around the world. The Cryptopay debit card is issued in either plastic or a virtual card which can be used online alone. It also allows your privacy as a Bitcoin user, allowing you to load up to €2500 in your debit card without requiring you to verify your ID, but if you want to store more Bitcoins with your debit card, ID will be required. The physical debit card costs about $15, with free card activation and shipping worldwide, but monthly maintenance fees of $1, transaction fees and fiat conversion fees are charged.
Bitcoin giants, Bitpay, are one of the newest to offer a Bitcoin debit card. This cards are available to all the 50 US states and can be used online also while being accepted by any ATM that accepts VISA cards. To obtain this prepaid Visa card costs about $9.95 and you need a government-issued ID, social security number, and home address. Bitpay charges $5 monthly maintenance fees, 3% fiat conversion fees, between $2-3 ATM withdrawal fees, but no transaction fee. You can store a limit of $2500 in your Bitpay debit card. However, Bitpay does not offer its services worldwide.
Xapo was the first to be launched, although, in 2014, many improvements to the debit card were made. The Xapo plastic card costs $20, with an annual activation fee of $12 after the first year and takes 10-25 days to be delivered after it is ordered. Xapo offers its services to most European countries but not to the United States. It deducts the amount spent, directly from your Xapo web wallet and a 3% transaction fee, but no fiat conversion fees and the limit to be stored in your Xapo debit card is $2500.
The SpectroCoin Visa debit card was launched in 2013 and offers prepaid cards which can be used in ATMs anywhere around the globe where MasterCard or VISA is accepted. It offers both plastic and virtual cards which can be used for online shopping, and although ID verification is not obligatory, higher amounts of Bitcoin can be stored when your ID has been verified. SpectroCoin also funds Dashcoin and charges low transaction fees. The activation of the debit card is free, and only $/£/€ 1 monthly fee is charged.
Launched in 2015, Shift card is a more convenient Bitcoin debit card for residents of US. Although it is increasing in the area it serves, it is only available in select states in The United States. Shift card works by deducting the amount of money spent, directly from your Coinbase Bitcoin wallet. An issuance fee of $10 is charged, but no transaction fees are charged for domestic transactions (for a limited time), and also no Bitcoin to USD exchange fee. A 3% international transaction fee and $2.5 ATM withdrawal fee is also charged. There is a daily spending limit of $1000, and ID verification is required.
The best Bitcoin debit card to be used should be the one that is supported in your area while charging the lowest fees. Also keep your card safely, because extra charges may apply for the change of pin (as in Xapo). Currently, although they do everything, these Bitcoin debit cards are not much better than normal fiat debit cards so use them only when needed, especially because of fees and possible taxes.