Cryptocurrencies have only been around for a few years and are already disrupting the way that the financial markets operate. The innovations that have occurred in the industry ranging from smart contracts to DeFi have brought in a lot of real-world use cases. The latest in line among those are crypto cards that can be used to make payments using cryptocurrencies.
Earlier there was only the option of getting a Bitcoin crypto card but now they support a large number of cryptocurrencies. So, if you hold any cryptocurrencies like BTC, ETH, DOGE, etc., then you can use them to make real-world payments by using a crypto debit card.
You can also earn rewards and cashback by using them, make payments internationally without worrying about exchange rates, and do a lot more with your cryptocurrency holdings.
In this article, we will tell you all that you need to know about them. How you can use them efficiently, and what are some of the things that you should consider before getting them.
What Is a Crypto Debit Card?
We are all familiar with how traditional banks’ debit cards work and how we can use them to make payments. They are connected to your bank accounts and purchases are charged to your bank. Hence, in order to use a bank card, you need to have money in your bank account.
But can your cryptocurrency holdings be used for making purchases without having to convert them into fiat currencies? The answer is yes. A crypto debit card is like a traditional one with the difference being that instead of being linked to your bank account, it is linked to your cryptocurrency wallet.
Payments you make through them use your cryptocurrency holdings directly. The majority of these cards are issued in partnership with Visa and Mastercard and thus are accepted almost at every point of sale.
Some advantages of cryptocurrency cards are as follows:
Good Security Measures
Cryptocurrency debit cards can be issued both physically or digitally. They also have much more robust security measures to prevent fraud and theft. These security features include two-factor authentication, biometric scanning and mobile codes.
Moreover, in case of any fraud, cardholders can immediately use their mobile apps to cancel the cards. Most cryptocurrency cards come with 256-bit encryption as well. If you get a digital one, the chances of theft become minimal. Hence, they are as safe as using traditional ones.
Special Bonuses like Crypto Cashback
A large number of companies that issue such cards to their customers also give out cashback for using the cards. The cashback amount can vary anywhere between 2% to 8% depending upon the issuer. So every time you spend money, you can earn a decent cashback.
It is important to understand that issuers have a certain set of rules and conditions for earning it. These conditions can vary and can include either staking or having a minimum threshold amount of cryptocurrency holdings in your wallet. For example, while Binance gives cashback on the basis of the BNB holdings, crypto.com does so on the basis of the staked amount.
Can Store and Use Regular Currency to Make Purchases
When cryptocurrency cards came into existence, they could only be used to make payments through only BTC and were known as a Bitcoin crypto card, etc. However, that is no longer the case.
You can now make payments with more than 50 cryptocurrencies. Depending on the issuer, the number of acceptable cryptocurrencies can vary but they support almost all the major tokens such as BTC, ETH, LTC, DOGE, etc.
Some of the best crypto debit cards not only support making payments through multiple cryptocurrencies, but can also be used to store more than 20 fiat currencies. Depending on the issuer, the number of supported cryptocurrencies and fiat currencies can change.
You can use them to make payments using either cryptocurrency or regular currency and even buy crypto with debit cards.
Bypassing Exchange Rates
One of the major points of pain for people that make international payments or travel abroad is converting their currency into local currency. This currency is charged an exchange fee which might affect the value of your money.
Cryptocurrencies on the other hand are decentralised and their value remains the same no matter which part of the world you are from. Hence, if you are using a crypto wallet debit card, then you can make payments internationally and bypass exchange rates and fees altogether. The value of your holdings remains the same everywhere.
Can Spend Cryptocurrency Anywhere
When cryptocurrencies first started gaining mainstream attention, one major issue that held them back from getting mass adoption was the lack of their real-world use cases.
A lot of businesses over the years started accepting cryptocurrency payments, but they were limited in number and accepted only a handful of cryptocurrencies like BTC, ETH, LTC, etc.
However, with cryptocurrency cards, you can spend your cryptocurrency holdings anywhere that accepts card payments. This is a big step forward in ushering in the mass adoption of cryptocurrencies.
Cons of a Crypto Debit Card
While there are a lot of pros of a cryptocurrency debit card but at the same time they also have a few cons as mentioned below.
As is the case with anything related to crypto, the volatile nature of crypto is one of the major issues that plague cryptocurrency debit cards. For making a purchase of something, one day you can spend more and the other day less depending upon how the price action has changed.
You could end up either underpaying if the price goes up which is a good thing. But in a bear market where prices fall down constantly, your crypto holdings will also go down and hence you will end up overpaying.
Moreover, if you paid 1 ETH for something and the price of ETH goes back to its all-time high, that would result in a huge loss for you.
There Is an Income Tax
Cryptocurrencies are often considered assets and buying, selling or using them to make purchases can often be considered a taxable thing. It could either be in the form of a capital gains tax or an income tax depending upon the rules and regulations in your country.
Hence, whenever you make a purchase using your cryptocurrency debit card, you are selling crypto in return for fiat currencies, which is taxable. Moreover, there is still no clarity on how cryptocurrencies are to be taxed.
So to be safe, one should consider the tax implications they might be subjected to when using crypto cards.
Conversion, Transaction or Withdrawal Fees
A lot of crypto card issuers advertise very little to low fees for using their cards. But that is not the case usually and a lot of cards have fees attached to them such as transaction fees, conversion fees, ATM withdrawal fees, etc.
Hence, the users should read the fine print properly and understand the fee structure before getting a card for themselves. Often the total fees levied on using these cards can be more than the cashback they would earn.
It is important to understand that there are card issuers that have really low fees for using their cards, but not all of them do so. Therefore, the fees are directly related to where you are getting your card from.
For every innovation that occurs in the financial markets, including cryptocurrencies, there is a lot of scepticism attached to it. Similar is the case of a cryptocurrency debit card. They have a lot of advantages over traditional cards as mentioned above, and also allow you to spend your crypto holdings.
There are a few disadvantages as well which should be considered before getting crypto cards. However, with more players issuing these cards, a lot of these issues like fees are starting to get resolved.
So, if you are a true believer in cryptocurrencies and want to do more than just trade them, then getting these cards could be the right thing for you.
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