Best Bitcoin/Cryptocurrency Debit and Credit Cards for 2019
Last Updated on
A cryptocurrency is a form of digital value that can be sent to another user anywhere in the world within a matter of minutes. Bitcoin is a primary example of a cryptocurrency that can be sent, received, and settled within a short time. However, cryptocurrencies are usually transacted using mobile or internet technologies – what if you’re looking to use the cryptocurrency physically, say like you use a debit card? Luckily, you can use your cryptocurrency via what are called Cryptocurrency Debit and Credit Cards. There’s a large amount of crypto-card providers, and many are illegitimate, so it’s important to conduct extensive due diligence on your own time. This guide will serve as a resource for users to understand how to use cryptocurrency debit/credit cards, which cryptocurrency credit/debit cards are the best, and how to get started with one today.
What is a Bitcoin Credit/Debit Card?
Bitcoin and cryptocurrency are steadily entering the retail payments industry and serving as a form of near instant, immutable payment type. Each day, more and more developments are being made that allows for cryptocurrency and Bitcoin to be accepted in a facilitated way at local retailers, online, and so on; now what about if you could put your Bitcoin or cryptocurrency on a debit/credit card and use it just as normally as you would any other credit or debit card? Well, you can, and it’s possible today. Let’s review both the two types of Bitcoin/cryptocurrency cards as they are fairly different from one another: debit and credit.
How does a Bitcoin or Cryptocurrency Debit Card Work?
Just like a normal debit card works, you are given a physical card with a unique code, identification number and expiration date that can be used as a direct link to any facilitated bank account that you might have. When you have a traditional debit card with a bank, the debit card is a direct link to your bank account; in other words, anytime you use the debit card, money is deducted from your bank account directly, or in other words, money that you actually have is deducted from your account.
A Bitcoin/Cryptocurrency debit card functions almost identically, except with a specified party and not a centralized bank. With these types of debit cards, you create an account with a card provider and login to your main funding platform. Then, you select which cryptocurrency you want to deposit, in most cases Bitcoin, and then order a debit card. Once the debit card arrives, you can then use that debit card at any supported outlets (Traditionally all VISA carriers). Every time you use the card, the fiat value will be deducted and liquidated from your account at the time of the purchase. It’s a convenient way for you to use your cryptocurrency at any VISA supported area.
How Does a Bitcoin/Cryptocurrency Credit Card Work?
To understand cryptocurrency credit cards, you first have to understand credit cards in general. A credit card is a payment method that is given to you by a bank. A bank will look at your credit history, see how reliable you are in terms of repaying funds, and determine if they want to give you a credit line. This is an amount of money that they will lend you, to be used by a representational card, that you can pay back at later dates. In exchange for lending you the money, the bank will also incur what is called an interest rate, which is a fee that is added to your credit balance. The bottom line is that a credit card is essentially money that a bank is lending you that you promise to pay back – how you pay back is dependent on minimum payments, interest rates and more.
Now, cryptocurrency and Bitcoin credit cards are fairly similar to traditional credit cards. They are still essentially funds that are being loaned to you, however in a different manner. In terms of a cryptocurrency or Bitcoin credit cards, you are given credit in the form of fiat value based upon how much worth in cryptocurrency you put up for ‘collateral’. For more info, check out our Bitcoin loans guide that overviews the loaning process.
Prior to diving into this guide, you should definitely understand how cryptocurrency is bought preliminarily, and if you already do, you should refine your skills on the process by reading our guide on how to buy cryptocurrency. This will enable you to more confidently maneuver the world of cryptocurrency and Bitcoin debit/credit cards.
Best Bitcoin/Cryptocurrency Credit Cards for 2019
Now that we’ve just had a refresher on what Bitcoin/Cryptocurrency credit cards are and how they work, let’s assess which Bitcoin credit cards we believe are the best in the industry at this moment. This is based on extensive due diligence, comparisons to other industry competitors, and our own experiences with the providers. Keep in mind, this requires you to have previously bought cryptocurrency; if you haven’t done so, we recommend Coinbase as it’s a reliable, quick option.
These reviews are unbiased and have been deducted based upon a thorough our own research; your own interpretation and conclusion about a certain card may be different.
Nexo is our ultimate favorite and premier selection as far as Bitcoin and cryptocurrency credit cards go for a variety of reasons; let’s review Nexo as a whole. Nexo is primarily a loan issuance company. That means that the company provides what is called LTV-based Cryptocurrency loans. Users deposit a certain amount of cryptocurrency and are rewarded a credit line in fiat currency within mere minutes of signing up. That credit line is then directly linked to a ‘Nexo Card’. Nexo Cards have no monthly fees, no monthly minimums, and are extremely flexible and easy to use.
Nexo Cards incur no additional fees for usage; the only fees are the interest on the credit line you are granted, for which fees are imposed strictly on the credit line itself, meaning fees are minuscule compared to legacy credit cards.
Zero card fees are imposed.
Registered, regulated, and entirely compliant with most global financial authorities.
Partnered with the major credit company Creddissimo.
Get a loan and a Nexo Card within just a few minutes, no credit checks or identity verification needed.
No minimum monthly payments
You do have to deposit usually double the amount of cryptocurrency relative to the value of the credit line you want to take.
It is a MasterCard provider, which has a bit less number of supported outlets than VISA.
Monaco, otherwise known as Crypto.com, has offered a cryptocurrency credit card that runs on an LTV-based model and enjoys some unique benefits while also enabling its own proprietary cryptocurrency ‘Monaco’ internally to facilitate the credit card.
Monaco credit cards are given a specific credit limit based upon the amount of cryptocurrency you deposit. However, Monaco is partnered with various outlets where you can use the card, including cashback offers for staking Monaco tokens.
The credit cards don’t require any type of credit checks, however, do require identity verification, unlike Nexo.
Crypto.com’s credit cards provide the leading industry card fees, besides Nexo, at approximately 3.5%. In addition, however, cashback opportunities on the card can cancel this fee out if looked at it in a long-term point of view.
Unique benefits and integration of their Monaco (MCO) cryptocurrency, cashback offer for multiple major retail outlets.
Exclusive retail partnerships for cashback offers
No minimum monthly payments
Cashback offers, 5% starting for MCO cards
Flat card fees
LTV ratios are very uncompetitive
Limited amount of support and available collateral options
TenX is fairly well known for its large ICO, where it was able to raise $80M in cryptocurrency for a range of different products. Fast forward a year and a half, and TenX is running one of the more well known and reliable credit cards in the industry.
TenX cards can be configured either as credit cards or debit cards. In the case of credit cards, an LTV-based model is purported. With a TenX credit card, you have additionally incurred a flat fee monthly based on how much you use the card. The more you use it, the less the flat fee, which starts at $15 / month. The card is very reputable and has maintained clear registration and compliance with legal as of recently.
TenX cards maintain a flat fee structure and then depending on the type of product that you’re engaging in, will incur an additional interest charge or APR. In the case of a cryptocurrency/Bitcoin credit card, TenX charges various interest rates in addition to a flat fee.
Hybrid option between credit or debit card
A reputable company that has completed an $80M ICO, meaning they have a lot of funds in reserve if they’ve kept their promise.
Multi-asset support, hold and spend a variety of different cryptocurrencies using either a credit or debit card on the platform.
Access your funds via an ATM, or go directly to a number of VISA supported outlets and use the card there.
Not available in the U.S. or U.K.
Incurs fees that are relatively hefty in comparison to other providers, additionally incurs annual fees if you don’t hit a spending minimum.
Coinbase is widely known as one of, if not the staple cryptocurrency provider for retail users. The firm has been at the forefront of pushing for retail and merchant adoption Bitcoin and general cryptocurrency for multiple years now and has additionally registered and maintained compliance in a very clean way amongst quivering legal outlooks on cryptocurrency and what not. Their most recent take on improving the accessibility and retail usability of cryptocurrency is the Coinbase Card, a cryptocurrency debit card.
The card, which is directly linked to your Coinbase account maintains all of the security features, easy interface, and supported assets of the main Coinbase platform, however, just on a debit card linked to a unique debit card. If you don’t know how to use Coinbase or need help setting an account up, check out our Coinbase guide here.
Coinbase Card maintains some of the most competitive fees in the industry, our reasoning for ranking it so highly. Coinbase imposes just a .20% fee on any domestic transactions and a 3% fee on transactions completed internationally.
Linked directly to your Coinbase Account, gives you all the accessibility, features, and options that a Coinbase Account gives you, only an app and debit card.
Coinbase is registered, regulated, and overseen by very large financial institutions.
The Coinbase Card app has a payment tracker and ledger where you can organize any and all debit card transactions.
Access your funds via an ATM, or use crypto directly at any supported VISA outlet.
Coinbase verification is required
Since it’s relatively new, some users have reported errors and bugs
Wirex is one of the longest lasting cryptocurrency and Bitcoin debit cards. Because of its track record, ability to maintain low relative fees, and multi-asset support, it is one of the best debit card options.
Wirex can be loaded with a variety of cryptocurrencies, including XRP, Ethereum, Bitcoin, and more.
Wirex imposes a singular $3.5 card issuance fee and a flat monthly fee of $1.5 per month, making it one of, if not the most cost-efficient cards.
Very extensive track record
Amongst the lowest fees in the industry
Access your funds via an ATM, or use crypto directly at any supported VISA outlet.
Only available to investors in Europe
Although very low fees, withdrawal charges, in the case of cash withdrawal, are imposed which can add up.
BitPay is a cryptocurrency payment processor that has been in the industry for quite some time now. Since starting with just cryptocurrency purchase options, BitPay now offers its own inclusive card. The BitPay card is accepted worldwide, maintains fairly low fees, and comes with an exclusive BitPay app to keep track of funds and spending.
BitPay spending limits are very high and maintain custom institutional accounts if you reach out privately, which is an excellent opportunity.
BitPay incurs a standard 3% fee on international transactions and a flat 1% fee on all domestic transactions.
Reputable company, long track record
Lowest domestic fees in the industry
Deposit multiple assets and monitor them inclusively on BitPay app.
Sleek design and unique card design
Withdrawal fees are comparatively high
Lengthy verification is required, and the card is only available to U.S. residents.
A Bitcoin credit card has a few positive factors that can be of great use to multiple types of users. For starters:
Bitcoin credit cards allow you to receive loans without having any minimum monthly payments, large APR fees, or the like.
Bitcoin and cryptocurrency credit cards can serve as additional hedges for your investments in cryptocurrency.
While most credit cards require a credit score and credit check, Bitcoin credit cards don’t.
The Future of Bitcoin/Cryptocurrency Debit and Credit Cards
While we can’t be sure that cryptocurrencies will be used actively by every single consumer in the world within the next few years, signs are pointing towards these debit and credit cards being more accessible in our everyday life.
Cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin are making progress in their underlying technology each and every day; things like cryptocurrency credit and debit cards are becoming more and more efficient by the day. In any case, ensure you’re checking up on InsideBitcoins daily for the latest and most useful information and developments in the industry.
Can I get a Bitcoin credit or debit card if I have bad credit?
Yes! You can get a Bitcoin credit card or debit card with bad credit, in fact, in the case of a Bitcoin credit card, since the entirety of the loan is given based on the collateral you put up, there are no credit checks whatsoever. As long as you can buy Bitcoin, you’ll be set to get a crypto credit or debit card.
Are there hidden fees associated with Bitcoin debit/credit cards?
For the cards we reviewed above, we ensured that no hidden fees were imposed; it’s always good to do your own due diligence as well, and ensure thorough research if selecting a card that is lesser known.
What's the most important quality of a Bitcoin credit/debit card?
In the case of a Bitcoin credit card, the most important quality to adhere to is the loan terms, as unfavorable or misconceived terms can lead to a large loss of funds.
For Bitcoin debit cards, the most important quality is most likely accessibility and regulation.
Are Bitcoin debit/credit cards legal?
In major jurisdictions where cryptocurrency is legal, cryptocurrency debit and credit cards are legal. However, some providers may be restricted in where they can provide the cards, so keep this in mind.
In a short explanation what's the difference between a Bitcoin debit and credit card?
A Bitcoin debit card spends and liquidates funds in your account immediately upon usage. A Bitcoin credit card marks the payment and lets you pay it off later.
Remember, all trading carries risk. Views expressed are those of the writers only. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. The opinions expressed in this Site do not constitute investment advice and independent financial advice should be sought where appropriate. This website is free for you to use but we may receive commission from the companies we feature on this site.
John Iadeluca is the founder of the Wall Street hedge fund Banz Capital. He's a blockchain developer, quant, and consultant that specializes in the digital asset sector.