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Bitpay Mastercard Review: The Prepaid Card To Live On Bitcoin And Crypto

Cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum are legitimate stores of value in the real world, albeit more volatile than risk-averse investors would like. But because they exist apart from the global financial system by design, crypto holders have long struggled to exert that value in day-to-day transactions.

That’s slowly changing thanks to products like BitPay Mastercard, a reloadable prepaid debit card that seamlessly transforms cryptocurrencies into government-backed cash and enables real-time, real-world financial transactions. BitPay Mastercard is nothing less than a bridge between the once separate and still antagonistic domains of cryptocurrency and fiat currency.

With transaction limits, potentially high fees, and no rewards to speak of, BitPay Mastercard is not a perfect bridge. But it is a huge step forward for crypto enthusiasts who want to spend their holdings like any other currency, now, not in two business days.

Key features

BitPay Mastercard is part of an expanding BitPay ecosystem that allows consumers to freely convert their cryptocurrency holdings into fiat currency and spend them in the real world.

BitPay Mastercard card

BitPay Mastercard is a crypto debit card that allows users to spend their cryptocurrency holdings in the real world. Accepted anywhere other Mastercard credit and debit cards are found – at millions of real-world and digital outlets around the world via PIN or contactless transactions. It also works at ATMs, allowing users to convert cryptocurrencies into cash that they can spend however they want.

The BitPay card instantly converts supported cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin (BTC), Bitcoin Cash (BCH), and Ethereum (ETH), into fiat currency (US dollars). BitPay does not charge a conversion fee for this privilege, although network fees may apply and the funds are ready to spend immediately (subject to transaction and loading limits).

The BitPay card has some major limitations and restrictions that can affect high volume users:

  • A maximum ATM withdrawal value of $ 2,000 per withdrawal and three withdrawals per day
  • A maximum single upload limit of $ 10,000 per day
  • A maximum daily spend of $ 10,000
  • A maximum balance of $ 25,000, including cash loads

BitPay offers competitive crypto exchange rates for BitPay Mastercard users. Each physical card has an EMV chip that provides an additional layer of security for in-person and ATM transactions.

BitPay mobile app

The BitPay mobile app is the backbone of the BitPay Mastercard experience. It is compatible with Android and iOS mobile operating systems and is designed to make account maintenance easy. Its capabilities include:

  • Programming and execution of card loads
  • Requesting a new PIN
  • Replace a lost card
  • View card balances
  • Using a BitPay Mastercard virtual card for online transactions

The BitPay mobile app is available free of charge on the iTunes store and on the Google Play marketplace.

BitPay wallet

The BitPay Wallet is a cryptocurrency wallet that allows users to securely acquire and store cryptocurrencies out of reach of BitPay itself – and anyone else who would like to get their hands on what is rightfully theirs.

A BitPay Mastercard is not required to create and use a BitPay wallet. However, the opposite is true. If you want to convert the cryptocurrencies held with BitPay into cash to spend on your BitPay Mastercard, you must first have a BitPay wallet.

BitPay Mastercard is not the only way to spend the funds stored in a BitPay wallet. You can also purchase gift cards to load converted fiat currency from your crypto wallet.

BitPay browser extension

The BitPay browser extension makes it even easier to spend cryptocurrencies in a BitPay wallet, without the need for a debit or gift card. Just download this Chrome extension and securely link your wallet to start spending crypto (by buying store credit) with hundreds of online merchants, including Amazon.

Important fees

BitPay Mastercard has fees. The card fees that you are most likely to encounter as a BitPay Mastercard user include:

  • $ 10 per instance for card issuance (initial) and card replacement
  • $ 2.50 ATM fee
  • 3% international transaction fee, including foreign currency denominated point-of-sale purchases made outside the physical territory of the United States and foreign currency-denominated online purchases with merchants based outside of the US.
  • $ 5 per month inactivity fee after 90 consecutive days of no transaction activity

On the bright side, BitPay Mastercard has no loading fees, other than potential network and miner fees that BitPay cannot control, and no monthly maintenance fees.

Advantage

BitPay Mastercard is an easy-to-use debit card that requires no credit check, can be used virtually anywhere fiat-only Mastercard credit and debit cards are found, and has a reasonable fee schedule.

  1. No credit check required . BitPay Mastercard is a debit card. Consequently, applicants are not required to undergo a credit check that could affect their credit temporarily. 
  2. No conversion fees for recharges . BitPay Mastercard cardholders do not have to pay to convert funds from BTC to USD, although the process can generate network or miner fees that BitPay cannot control. Still, under normal circumstances, you shouldn’t have to pay for dollar-denominated transactions with US-based merchants.
  3. It offers direct access to Fiat Cash through an ATM . BitPay Mastercard users can convert their cryptocurrencies to cash at ATMs around the world, subject to the ATM fees charged by BitPay and the third-party fees charged by machine operators. Even after taking these fees into account, this ability is incredibly convenient for crypto enthusiasts used to converting their two-step cryptocurrency holdings to fiat.
  4. Accepted anywhere Mastercard is located . BitPay Mastercard is accepted by millions of merchants on the Mastercard network around the world. With Mastercard vying with Visa for global acceptance, this is no small feature.
  5. Instant recharges online . With a BitPay wallet connected, BitPay Mastercard users can top up their cards with just a few taps on the BitPay app.

Disadvantages

BitPay Mastercard lacks some key advantages of credit cards, such as the potential to build credit with responsible use. Also, some fees are inconvenient or onerous, and the lack of a rewards program weighs heavily.

  1. It does not generate credit for users . Unlike the legions of competing Visa, Mastercard, and American Express credit cards that run entirely on fiat currency, BitPay Mastercard does not generate creditfor users. If your credit history is limited, or your credit score is not what you would like it to be, you may want to use a secured credit card instead of or in addition to your BitPay card, at least until you have built a reputable credit base. . 
  2. It has a foreign transaction fee . BitPay Mastercard charges a 3% foreign currency conversion fee on non-USD-denominated transactions. For cardholders who regularly frequent international merchants, this can significantly increase total transaction costs and may reduce the attractiveness of the card.
  3. It has a high inactivity fee . It is better to use BitPay Mastercard regularly. The monthly inactivity fee of $ 5 is not negligible and kicks in fairly quickly, after just 90 days of account inactivity.
  4. No sign up bonus or rewards program in progress . BitPay Mastercard does not have a sign-up bonus or rewards program in progress. This is a significant disadvantage compared to fiat cash back credit cardsand other rewards credit cards, which can modestly lower the net cost of spending through rewards. 

Final word

BitPay Mastercard safely and seamlessly closes the gulf between the realms of fiat currency and cryptocurrency. With potentially steep fees and no rewards program, it’s by no means perfect, but it’s arguably the best tool available to crypto enthusiasts looking to spend their blockchain- based holdings in the real world.

Will BitPay Mastercard be the best tool of its kind on the market for a long time? Probably not. As cryptocurrencies go mainstream, the bridges between the two worlds multiply by the day. While that’s not a reason to wait for the next innovation, it’s certainly an argument to keep an eye on the space and be ready to withdraw your BitPay Mastercard should a compelling alternative come up.

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