How to spend Bitcoin and other cryptocurrency with a Visa or Mastercard debit card in the USA – 2020

Leather wallet with Visa card exposed, US currency, $100 bill, one symbolic gold colored Bitcoin, and a microSD card

UPDATED 10/20/2020

As of this writing, for 98% of people alive, including myself, cryptocurrency, Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), Ripple (XRP), Litecoin (LTC), Tether (USDT), Bitcoin Cash (BCH), Libra (LIBRA), EOS (EOS) and the hundreds of other cyber money and how to use it is simply a foreign language.  It would seem a good way to learn about it would be to use it.

Keep in mind there are various nuances about how each different crypto currency works, how they’re funded, management history, and other information, this isn’t about any of that.  This article helps compare the Visa and MasterCard Debit Cards currently offered by crypto companies in the United States.

I’ve been struggling to understand the seemingly complicated world of cryptocurrency for a while.  I figured I’d get started with a few hundred dollars and a debit cart of some type. Use it for small daily expenses.  One thing I already found out: There is almost always a ‘transfer fee’, ‘network fee’, or some other charge for exchanging, transferring, paying or receiving crypto currency.

A year or two ago, I signed up for a Coinbase debit card.  But within weeks of receiving it, they shut down their debit card program in the United States.  I suspect the USA’s onerous anti-money laundering Never got to use it even once.  I’ve since been scouring for alternatives…

Option 1 of 3 – Free $50 from Crypto.com Visa Debit Card

Crypto.com offers several different Visa debit cards.  Most of them are made of metal. Each different card, there are currently five, offers a set of rewards. They offer rewards paid in CRO starting at 1%, going up to 8%, depending on how much CRO cryptocurrency you deposit and store with them. (They call a deposit a ‘stake’.  It’s kind of like a CD, in that you can’t remove it for a certain amount of time, like 6 months.) Other rewards include Netflix, Spotify and Amazon Prime membership reimbursements. I started the signup process within days of when they suddenly converted MCO to CRO.  I decided to hold off on staking Crypto.com until their offer stabilizes. But I’ll try the card…

Crypto.com seems like a crypto currency exchange looking to promote their CRO currency.  If they have other services, such as banking, gift cards, or merchant services, they’re not advertised or cross-marketed very much to cardholders. Crypto.com offers the best crypto rewards program, both for using the debit card and for referrals.  They also have excellent response when corresponding by email, within a few hours.

Try Crypto.com and sign up, get $50 to open the account when you stake 1000 CRO’s (currently about $110 as of this writing). Use my referral link to sign up for Crypto.com and we both get $50 USD.  My Crypto.com referral code is ‘ybpaktey2’. https://crypto.com/app/ywbpaktey2

BOTTOM LINE FOR CRYPTO.COM:  I ordered a card, we’ll see when it arrives.

Option 2 of 3 – Free $10 from GetBlockCard.com Visa Debit Card

GetBlockCard.com offers a prepaid Visa Debit Card.  There are three different cards available, a Virtual Card, a Plastic card, and a Metal Card.

GetBlockCard.com isn’t just an exchange or a wallet.  They also offer a bank account.  The offering is a little confusing, as they seem to separate the wallet and debit card from the bank account.  In other words, you can have the wallet and debit card – but not the bank account.

The downside of this card is if you don’t spend at least $750/month on it, they charge you a $5/month service charge.  But you can use just their wallet without the card.

When your sign up and load $100 worth of USD on a card, you’ll receive an additional $10 in TERN spending power. My referral code is ‘mtRXttQ6’. https://dashboard.getblockcard.com/i/mtRXttQ6

BOTTOM LINE FOR GetBlockCard.com:  For my purposes, just to try it out, it’s not practical due to ongoing monthly fee.  I just wouldn’t use it for $750+ per month needed to waive fee.  Next…

Option 3 of 3 – No free lunch from BitPay.com MasterCard Debit Card

BitPay.com offers a MasterCard debit card.  It doesn’t appear to be a ‘prepaid card’, but rather, it’s directly attached to your crypto wallet(s).

There are currently no rewards offered, not for using the card, and not for referrals. You can only load funds through the app, not through the website.  You can add funds in USD with a visa or mastercard, but they work through a 3rd party and fees will vary.  For me, they wanted 6% to load $200 from a Visa Debit card to ETH.  I couldn’t find a way to transfer with ACH bank account information.  You must use the iphone or Android app to load funds, you can’t do it on their website.

While they don’t call it a bank account, BitPay.com seems to feel more like a bank than an exchange.  They offer ability to directly exchange crypto for gift cards from many merchants, including Amazon.com, Lowes.com, hundreds of others.  BitPay.com also has a robust merchant program and charges only 1% merchant fee on crypto transactions. The BitPay.com phone app seemed a little confusing, but it allows to connect to other services like Coinbase.

As of this writing, I couldn’t find any rewards for signing up or referrals.  While this might seem like a disadvantage, it might also signal stability.  While others offer robust rewards, BitPay.com might outlast them.

BOTTOM LINE FOR BitPay.com:  I ordered the card, we’ll see when it arrives.

Conclusion

Cryptocurrency debit cards in the USA are rapidly evolving.  I’ll update this article as I find out more about these, and other cards.

Phil

Grown up in Cleveland, Ohio, USA., previously lived in Phoenix, Arizona and Tampa, Florida areas, and recently co-located to Asheville, North Carolina area. Trained as an Army MP, but bit of a renegade career wise. Phil has owned businesses in insurance, private investigations, surety bail bond industries, and has experience in computer network engineering, hospitality in-room advertising, asset recovery and repossession, and even a few years traveling most of the lower 48 states, Ontario and Northern Mexico as a commercial over the road truck driver. Career long entrepreneur, property investor and rental manager. Phil loves sharing his experiences of great food, travel, experiences and products.

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