While the crypto wave is picking up momentum, it is still nowhere close to being as universal as fiat currency. One of the biggest reasons for this is that crypto lacks mass acceptance as a mode of payment.
Sure, some of the biggest brands and companies have started to accept Bitcoin recently. However, there are millions of stores that accept Visa, MasterCard and the likes but do not accept cryptocurrencies for transactions.
In this article, we learn about one possible way to remedy this situation and bring cryptocurrencies into the mainstream — crypto debit cards.
What are crypto debit cards?
Crypto debit cards allow you to use cryptocurrencies to make retail purchases. They are like regular debit cards; only they are issued by large cryptocurrency exchanges in partnership with giants such as Visa. They are a possible way to ensure the mass adoption of cryptocurrencies in retail and among larger audiences.
How do crypto debit cards work?
Crypto debit cards work just like any traditional payment card. The only difference is that, instead of a bank, the payment partner works with your crypto exchange to settle the transaction. If you have the required funds in your crypto wallet, the payment will go through. Then, instead of your bank account, your crypto wallet or exchange account is debited.
Who offers crypto debit cards?
As of 2022, most major crypto exchanges have their version of a crypto debit card. Some of the popular exchanges that offer this facility include Binance, Crypto.com, Coinbase, BlockFi, Nuri, Monolith, etc. Each of these cards has strategic partnerships with payment providers like Visa, MasterCard and Swipe.
Recently, PayPal too has decided to step into the crypto debit card game, and we should see many more exchanges offering this facility in the coming months. Also, judging by the marketing spends to promote these cards, it’s fair to say that exchanges are incredibly bullish about this product.
Why is it beneficial to use crypto debit cards?
Sheer ease — this is perhaps the most significant benefit of a crypto debit card. You don’t have to swap your crypto for fiat, wait for the exchange to transfer the funds and then move it into a banking account. You can use your crypto holdings by simply swiping the debit card. This allows you to use crypto to cover everyday expenses. Some providers also offer cashback and other rewards on every transaction. For instance, Crypto.com’s debit card offers up to 4 percent cashback in XLM and 1 percent in BTC.
On the flip side, these debit cards are not available and accepted globally. In fact, most of them only work in the US and EU. For instance, the Binance debit card is only available within Europe. Additionally, a debit card is not a form of credit; this means you need to maintain a balance in your crypto wallet to use these cards. You cannot swipe now and pay later.
Why are crypto debit cards important?
While crypto debit cards don’t necessarily adhere to the decentralised nature of cryptocurrencies, they are a huge step in the right direction for mass adoption. On the one hand, they use familiar hardware of shiny cards that the everyday consumer is accustomed with. On the other hand, they utilise a network that’s pre-existent, with millions of operating stores and retail chains. This could provide a massive push for mainstream usage of cryptocurrency.