For those looking to use credit products to buy bitcoins, the situation currently is bleak. Concerns about the bitcoin price correction and the obligations the banks may be under as part of their customer protection plans have caused turmoil. Despite the fact that Visa and MasterCard have both issued statements clarifying that their positions on bitcoin buying haven’t changed, users’ experiences suggest that there is still a crackdown on bitcoin credit cards purchases.
However, there are still opportunities available for those both seeking credit cards to buy bitcoin and bitcoin-backed credit cards. Here are some of the best options:
Credit Cards for Purchasing Bitcoin
At this point, it is impossible to create a list of the best credit cards for purchasing bitcoin. The reason for this is three-fold.
First, the banning of bitcoin purchases by the major credit card issuers and by at least one merchant network (Discover) means that for most credit cards, the terms and conditions for use have changed. The implications of this are not fully known at this time.
Second, revelations that the MCC codes for the major credit card issuers have changed mean that there is currently confusion among the exchanges on how to process credit card purchases. Visa has blamed the cash advance fees that arose from users charging bitcoin to their cards on the exchanges assigning the wrong MCC to these charges.
Third, news that Visa (via its subsidiaries) has removed many of the European bitcoin cards, such as Bitwala, Tenx, Bitpay, and Xapo, from its payment network means that any potential list may prove to be incorrect given the current state of things.
There are still banks that have declared their support for bitcoin, despite this. Among them are:
- Simple Bank
- Toronto-Dominion Bank (TDB)
- The Royal Bank of Canada
- The National Bank of Canada
- Fidor Bank
Credit products from these banks can still be used to purchase bitcoin.
Bitcoin-Enabled Credit Cards
Many bitcoin-enabled credit cards are allowed to continue operations because the banks created a carve-out for card issuers that converts bitcoin to fiat currency. Among the current offerings of bitcoin-enabled credit and debit cards, the best include:
- WageCan. Founded in 2014, WageCan provides prepaid cards that allow users to convert bitcoin into fiat currencies. These prepaid cards can be used anywhere a major credit card or debit card can be used and are available in plastic and virtual forms. One of the only bitcoin cards available to U.S. citizens, the card is expensive—$212.50—with high ATM fees (2.5 percent).
- AdvCash. Only available to European residents, the Belize-based AdvCash allows users to have a linked wallet and bitcoin debit card that can be used at most ATMs and retailers. With no monthly fees and a card cost as low as $4.99, this card is attractive as a payroll servicing option.
- Uquid. Not available to American citizens, Uquid offers debit card services for bitcoin and 40 different altcoins. Payments can be made in USD, EUR, and GBP using a Visa-backed card. The card has no ID verification requirement, but it has a high foreign transaction fee (3 percent), high loading fee (5 percent), and high shipping cost (up to $35).
- Wirex. Previously known as E-Coin, Wirex offers an unbranded debit card that provides transaction support in USD, EUR, and GBP. Not available to American citizens, Wirex has Android and iOS apps that allow for easy account access. Cards come with low foreign transaction and loading fees, but these cards have an issuance fee of $17.