|Type of card||Does the provider offer a physical Bitcoin debit card, a virtual Bitcoin debit card or both? Not only will this affect where you can use the card, for example, you might not be able to use a virtual card at an ATM, but also the fees that apply. If a provider offers both physical and virtual cards, make sure you’re comparing fees and features for the type of card you want.|
|Prepaid vs non-prepaid cards||Next, check whether the card is prepaid or not. Prepaid cards allow you to load cryptocurrency onto your card and have it converted to fiat currency straight away, so you have a balance of dollars ready to go. Meanwhile, non-prepaid cards are connected to a cryptocurrency wallet, allowing your crypto to be converted to fiat currency on the spot when you make a purchase.|
|Supported currencies||Check which fiat currencies the card supports. Only a quite limited range of cards allow you to convert your crypto to AUD, with USD and EUR much more widely accepted. In terms of cryptocurrencies, some cards accept Bitcoin only while other also allow you to top up your balance using other digital currencies.|
|Card issuance cost||Most Bitcoin debit cards don’t come free, so you’ll need to check how much the provider charges for ordering, delivering and activating your card. Prices vary depending on whether you choose a plastic or virtual card, though plastic cards usually cost more upfront and can be $50 or more in some cases.|
|Loading fees||Many providers will charge a fee when you load your card with crypto coins or tokens. This may be a flat fee or a percentage of your transaction amount, so check the fine print to find out how much it’ll cost you.|
|Additional fees||Next, make sure you’re aware of any other fees that apply to the card. These may include:|
- Monthly service fee. Some card providers charge a monthly service fee for the use of the card. This fee is generally minimal (around $1–$2) but make sure you include it in your calculations.
- Annual fee. Alternatively, your provider may charge an annual fee to all cardholders.
- Currency conversion fee. Check the fine print to see whether you’re charged a fee for converting crypto into fiat currency, for converting one fiat currency to another or for converting one cryptocurrency to another. You could be charged a flat amount or a fee calculated as a percentage of each transaction.
- ATM withdrawal fee. How much will it cost you to make an ATM withdrawal using your card? Does the fee vary between domestic and international ATMs?
- International transaction fee. Check what fee the provider will charge you for international transactions on your card. Fees of 3% are not uncommon.
- Inactivity fee. Some providers will charge a fee if your card is inactive for a specified period of time.
- Third-party fees. Additional fees may also be charged at the point of sale, usually by whichever merchant is accepting the card. Depending on your country and the type of purchase, this will often be around 1.5–3% to cover the portion of profits taken by Visa, Mastercard or other providers.
|Exchange rate||What exchange rate will you get when the provider converts your crypto into fiat currency? Check to see how the provider calculates its exchange rates and how it compares to market rates. Please note that crypto debit card exchange rates will typically be noticeably lower than mid-market rates.|
|App available?||Does the debit card also come with a linked smartphone app and wallet you can use to manage your funds? For example, you may be able to use the app to check your balance, top up your card and convert funds from one currency to another. Also check whether you need to use the wallet offered by the card provider or whether you have the option of linking your card to your own secure wallet.|
|Transaction limits||Most card providers impose limits on the amount you can spend on your card. Make sure you check for:|
- Loading limits
- Daily and per-transaction spending limits
- ATM withdrawal limits
|Other loading methods||Some card providers will require you to already own cryptocurrency which you can then use to load your card. However, many providers allow you to purchase cryptocurrency directly through their app/wallet platform. If this is the case, check which payment methods you can use to exchange your fiat currency for digital coins, such as bank transfer, BPAY and credit or debit card payment.|
Some Bitcoin debit cards are available almost globally, but others are only offered to customers in specific countries. Check the provider’s terms and conditions to make sure their card is available where you live.
|Payment network||Check which payment network the crypto debit card is issued on, such as Visa or Mastercard. This will help you work out exactly where the card is accepted all around the world.|
|Verification requirements||Find out what sort of personal details and ID you’ll need to provide when you sign up for a card. Will completing an ID verification process allow you to access higher transaction limits? Is it possible to register anonymously if you wish?|
|Company background||Finally, don’t forget to take some time to consider the background of the company behind the card. How long have they been in business? Where are they based? What sort of reputation do they have? Has their card been linked to any scams?|