What is the best Bitcoin Debit Card for me?
How to choose the right Bitcoin Debit Card provider?
There are many companies and start ups providing bitcoin debit cards nowadays as the cryptocurrencies are gaining more and more popularity. However how can we trust a random company on the internet asking for our money?
There are some points that a wanna-be bitcoin debit cardholder may need to look for when searching for the best provider. The card providers disclose most of this information on their sites, so all it takes just to read it through carefully. This can save a lot of future headaches for everyday users if they look for these before signing up for a service.
Get background information of the card issuer company
The whole idea behind bitcion and the public blockchain ledger is distrust. So bitcoin debit cardholders are usually more suspicious clients than customers in other industries. Therefore the providers must convince their future clients that they provide legit, trustworthy services.
A clear, transparent ownership structure can gain the trust of future clients. Missing the About section from a website is like hiding the business card from a customer. The client confidence can be easily raised with such founders and owners who have a traceable history in payment systems and crypto currency businesses, like in the case of Xapo. They even have shareholders outside of the owners and managed to raised venture capital to support their growth further.
However many bitcoin debit card providers are yet to operate at that high scale, still can show their commitment if the founders are working as C-level executives, like CEO, CTO and COO that ensures they look after the business carefully.
Usually the providers offers much more services than just a card. Everyone has a wallet, but for example CoinsBank, Cryptopay.me, Spectrocoin, Wirex, Xapo all run their own bitcoin exchanges enabling direct bitcoin purchases through their website. Otherwise user have to possess cryptocurrencies before loading them to the respective bitcoin debit card.
The three major fiat currencies, like USD, EUR and GBP are accepted by all providers. RUB is the forth most common currency, Russian users may order AdvCash bitcoin debit cards where the accounts are denominated in RUB. However many clients from Asia and the Emerging Markets may want to use other currencies as well. For them, Bitwala and CoinsBank offers a solution. Usually only bitcoins are accepted but some these two also offer other cryptocurrencies as options for the accounts.
Plastic and virtual cards are on the market. The plastic cards can be used for both ATM withdrawals and online purchases, the virtual cards can be used only online. It worth checking before signing up whether the provider issues the plastic cards or only a virtual option is available.
At many bitcoin debit card provider, users may use the services even without personal identity verification, although with certain applied limites. These limits include a daily, monthly and lifetime limits on cash withdrawals or on POS purchases. If someone would like to use a bitcoin debit card anonymously, Coinizy lets them to do that. Otherwise the verification process is done by submitting a proof of identity in a form of national ID card and a proof of residence which can be a utility bill from the past 3 months in most of the cases. The time needed for verification can vary a lot, from couple of hours to even 10 days, so bear in mind than if you need a verified status quickly.
Which Bitcoin Debit Card to choose?
The bitcoin debit card providers are servicing usually about 130 countries in the world. Due to regulations and legislation issue users in the United States are excluded from the services, except at CoinsBank which offers limited services to US citizens.
The shipping of the plastic card prices is built in other fees, so normal shipping is usually free, the providers charges about 45-75 USD for expedited delivery option.
Most of the providers have smartphone apps available to make sure users control their finances everytime, everywhere. Usually Androids and iOS applications are provided, but Windows phone users may need to search further, as it is only available for Spectrocoin clients.
Transaction Fees and Card Pricing Schedule
The initial card issue fees are ranging from 5 USD (Bitwala) to 20 USD (Xapo) with an average of 10 USD. Coinizy solely provides virtual cards, but that only cost 0.5 USD. CoinsBank itself offers six different types of cards to choose from.
Monthly maintenance fee is around 1 USD. At some providers being inactive with the card is not penalized but many charge an extra fee for being inactive. Inactive users are the ones who are not transacting even once in two years with the card.
Clients can loading the card with wire transfers or SEPA transfers for a fees around 0.5%-1%. Some providers applies flat rates, so clients should pay attention to the number and amount of funds transferred from the wallet account to the debit card. There is the option to load and unload with alternative payment providers such as Skrill, Neteller or PayPal some bitcoin debit cards, however the pricing is higher than wire transfers and very wide, can be 1% to 5% per transactions.
The bitcoin debit card providers are profiting when the user is transacting with the card. Although the online purchases are usually free, but some may charges fees on that too. ATM is always charged on the other hand. The domestic cash withdrawals is around 2-3 USD, the international withdrawals are 3-4 USD, it is also possible that flat rate is applied beside the percentages. If the purchase or withdrawal currency is different than the default currency of the account all providers charge an extra currency exchange rate of 3%.
User Experience and Client Feedback
Everything starts with a good landing page. It should be clear what is the service and how much does it cost. The design itself can prove it to be professional or can distract the potential users upfront.
The clients use the website to find relevant information about the services provided. Beside a clear menu structure, FAQ is also helpful and all providers should include a search functionality within it. Customer satisfaction is highly depending on the supports provided by the bitcoin debit card issuers. Live chat, hotline, ticket systems are all making sure that the issues are resolved quickly. If the support team availability and the usually response time is given upfront the customer can manage their expectations and can remain patient easier.
It is not too appealing if a simple Google search of the company name leads to bitcoin forums where people complain about services, support accuse the company of being scam. An unsatisfied user yelling over the internet is always more loud than the satisfied ones. That can be mitigated if the provider addresses these issues on the forums too, making sure everyone is on the same page. There are review sites where users can rate the services, like TrustPilot.
As we can see there are many possibilities a bitcoin debit provider can offer for its client. The best bitcoin debit card provider is dependent on the user’s needs.
These perspectives can be:
- anonymous card with high limits: Coinizy
- able to verify but need low fees: Wirex, Cryptopay.me
- able to use other cryptocurrencies and non-major fiats: Bitwala, CoinsBank
- strong capital background and security: Xapo
- VISA or Master card: most providers have VISA only
- Virtual or Plastic card: some offers only virtual cards but for a cheaper price
- Smartphone Apps: most of them available for Android and iOS, for Windows use Spectrocoin