Spend your cryptocurrency in stores or online using a conventional payment card. You won’t need a bank account anymore.
A crypto debit card is exactly like your regular payment card, except that you have the option to load it with crypto instead of fiat. In other words, once loaded with crypto, the card can be used in the same manner as you would with your debit or credit card. For example, you can buy groceries, pay for petrol or book a holiday. Though you are spending your cryptos, the merchant is receiving payment in fiat (e.g USD or EUR).
Crypto cards are extremely convenient if you hold most of your funds in crypto but occasionally need to make spendings in the real world. Holding your fiat and crypto in the same wallet gives you a lot of flexibility. You can buy more crypto instantly when you feel like the timing is good or sell some of your holdings in a matter of minutes when you need some cash. Unlike with an exchange, where typically you have to wait for 2-3 days for your funds to arrive back in your bank account.
Crypto cards vary a lot by region because it is a very regulated space. Providers can not simply launch a card that works worldwide but launch one separately for every region and work with different partners for each. This being said for Europe we like Bitwala a lot and the best crypto card in the US is the Square Cash card in our opinion.
Many people own cryptocurrencies and would like to pay for goods and services in the real-word with their cryptocurrency. The problem is that merchants simply don’t have the infrastructure in place to accept cryptocurrency payments. What most merchants do have however, are traditional payment terminals that accept Visa and Mastercard payments. A crypto debit card is exactly like a regular payment card, except that you have the option to load it with crypto instead of fiat. In most cases the provider offers an app that holds both crypto and fiat currencies like Euros or US Dollars. When users want to make a purchase in a store (or online ) they can convert their funds into fiat within the app and spend those funds instantly with their crypto debit card. In this process, merchants don’t need to make any changes to their payment terminals. Because funds are converted before they reach the merchant, merchants continue to receive funds in Euros or Dollars, nothing changes for them. That’s how crypto debit cards bridge the gap between the legacy fiat system and the future of cryptocurrencies.
As a reference point, cryptocurrency exchanges, which are the cheapest option to convert funds take a 0.25% fee on average. In most cases, crypto card providers take a slightly higher fee than that in order to make a profit. It should not exceed 1% however otherwise you are overspending and should look for another crypto card.
Conversion speed is the time it takes for your funds to be “spendable” after you traded crypto to fiat. In some cases you can spend your funds instantly, in others, you have to wait for up to 30 minutes for the trade to settle before you can spend, which can be inconvenient if you’re in a hurry. Some apps offer “auto-conversion”, which means you don’t have to do anything manual. The conversion happens in the background (instantly) as you put your payment card to use.
Most crypto card providers offer so-called custodial wallets, where you don’t have direct ownership over your funds. Instead, the provider stores your crypto for you (exactly like banks). Non-custodial wallets on the other hand, give you direct access to your funds and no one else but you with your private key can access them.
It’s equally important to watch out for other fees that these providers charge. These can include monthly or yearly maintenance fees, a one-time card activation fee, ATM withdrawal fees or foreign currency exchange fees when you travel. We try to list these fees transparently so you can make the right decision.
Some wallets not only offer ONE fiat currency but a full fledged multi-currency account with the ability to convert one fiat currency into another (e.g Euros to Dollars). These are typically a great option for users who travel a lot.
Look out for cards that offer cashbacks on every purchase made. These offers vary greatly. Some are free others require you to “stake” a certain crypto token to be eligible for the reward. Wirex and Crypto.com for example offer a low % reward for free but require you to “stake” their token to get the higher tiers.