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What Is a Crypto Debit Card?
Cryptocurrency holders are probably familiar with this dilemma: you have crypto you want to spend, but it takes a lot of effort to get it to your credit card.
A crypto debit card solves this. It works like a normal debit card but is a much more convenient way of spending your crypto. Consider the steps you would usually have to go through if you want to spend your cryptocurrency:
Wait for the centralized exchange to wire you the money.
Transfer the money to your current account.
It would be much easier to just be able to spend directly from your crypto balance, wouldn't it?
That is what crypto debit cards make possible. You spend from either your exchange account or a dedicated crypto account without jumping through hoops to withdraw your crypto.
Advantages of a Crypto Debit Card
Crypto debit cards have several other advantages besides saving yourself the hassle of moving money around.
Using Crypto for Everyday Purchases
You can pay for purchases online, in the store, or while traveling, and all of that from the same account you use for trading. If you have an account at one of the exchanges issuing these cards, it can even replace your regular bank account for day-to-day shopping. Plus, you never have to worry about overdrawing your account.
Effortless Integration Between Cryptocurrencies and Fiat Currencies
Crypto debit cards automatically convert from cryptocurrency to dollars or any other fiat currency. For example, you could use your account to receive a salary (if you get paid in crypto) and spend the money with your debit card. Of course, you still have to pay taxes.
Perks and Cashbacks
The best feature of crypto debit cards is the generous cashback program many providers offer — the provider returns between 1-8% of the billed amount in crypto when you spend money from the card. Some also have reward programs for streaming services or other offers, while others waive card ATM fees. In general, crypto card issuers are fighting for clients, so you can get a great deal on cashback if you do your research.
Disadvantages of a Crypto Debit Card
Still, crypto debit cards also come with a few drawbacks compared to traditional debit cards.
Not Available Globally
We will cover the best debit cards in the final section, where you will see that many have regional restrictions. For example, the Binance debit card is only available in Europe. You can still use the cards anywhere, just like a regular debit card. However, availability can be a problem, especially for users that are not in Europe or the US.
A Debit Card Is Not a Credit Card
This is equally true for traditional debit cards, but you cannot get credit with a crypto debit card. In other words, you can only spend the money you have. While this may be useful for financial discipline, it makes cryptocurrency debit cards of little use for big purchases. You will not be able to finance a bigger purchase with your crypto card because the provider cannot vouch for your solvency. Therefore, these cards can be useful for daily life but less useful for buying a car or a house.
Spending From Your Debit Card Can be a Taxable Event
If you are a U.S. citizen, you are probably painfully familiar with the difficulties of crypto taxes. Since the IRS considers crypto a capital asset instead of currency, you have to pay capital gains tax on purchases with your debit card. Put differently, if you bought BTC at $20,000 but spent it from your debit card at $40,000, you would owe capital gains tax on the difference. On the other hand, you could also use your debit card to offset losses. In any case: taxes can be a delicate topic for U.S. debit card holders.
Which Crypto Debit Card Is the Best?
Both Visa and Mastercard issue debit cards, so you will have no issue using your crypto card like a traditional card. Academy has reviewed the seven best crypto debit cards (in no particular order) and researched the best options in terms of fees, rewards and availability. Please skip to the end for the overview table.
Crypto.com Debit Card
Crypto.com offers one of the most popular crypto debit cards on the market. With more than 100 cryptocurrencies supported, it is also one of the most useful ones. Furthermore, Crypto.com issues its cards in more than 100 countries worldwide, covering not only the United States and Europe, but also Asia and Latin America.
Customers can choose between five different tiers. Each tier has its own reward structure, with the most exclusive Obsidian card offering up to 5% cashback and perks like airport lounges and free streaming services. However, its staking requirements are enormous. For the Ruby Steel option, it offers 1% cashback for $400 worth of staked CRO.
Conclusion: an global option for around the world.
Binance Visa Debit Card
Binance offers a very affordable Visa card to European customers, according to its site. With low fees and a comparably high spending limit (only limited per day), the Binance Visa card is an option for Europeans looking to spend. Like the Crypto.com card, Binance offers up to 8% cashback but only if you stake a massive amount of BNB. The card is not available outside of continental Europe.
Conclusion: an affordable choice for Europeans.
Coinbase Debit Card
With no sign-up or ATM withdrawal fees, the Coinbase card is an option for Americans. Furthermore, the card offers up to 4% cashback in XLM and 1% in BTC. Europeans can also get a hold of the Coinbase card, but will have to pay an issuance fee and conversion fees when dealing with other currencies. Due to its top-class security, the Coinbase card is one of the most popular cards on the market, according to Coinbase.
Conclusion: a choice for Americans.
BlockFi Crypto Credit Card
The BlockFi card is not a debit card, but a credit card. It works like a regular U.S. credit card, with the added perk of earning cashback in Bitcoin. After the initial promotional period with 3.5% cashback, you receive 1.5% cashback in BTC on all your purchases. As with a regular credit card, credit checks apply when you request the card.
Conclusion: an option for Bitcoin maximalists.
Wirex Crypto Card
Wirex offers a crypto card that supports numerous fiat and cryptocurrencies. That means you don't have to pay conversion fees in other currencies, making Wirex an option for travelers. Furthermore, you receive 2% cashback in the native WXT token. Wirex does not charge any fees for the card, but topping up the card with crypto costs 1% of the transaction amount. The card is only available in the UK and the European Economic Area.
Conclusion: an option for travelers.
Nuri offers a low-cost option with great ATM withdrawal limits for Europeans. You can withdraw up to €1,500 per day for free. The card can be topped up in BTC or Euro. Unfortunately, Nuri has no cashback program, although you can receive interest on your BTC through the Nuri savings account.
Conclusion: anoption for European bitcoiners.
Monolith claims to be the first non-custodial crypto Visa card. That means that unlike with other cards, you still own the cryptocurrency in your Monolith account. Another feature is that you can top up the card with almost all popular ERC-20 tokens, albeit for a 1% fee (except for DAI). You can swap the crypto to fiat to spend it from your Visa card. Monolith is only available in the Eurozone and the UK.
Conclusion: an option European Ethereum freaks.
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