Fast, secure access to your money is a necessity of international travel. Whether you’re on a business trip or on vacation, you should be prepared to deal with unforeseen expenses or emergency situations.
And thanks to bitcoin debit cards, you don’t have to convert your BTC funds into fiat to pack some extra cash when traveling overseas. They combine all the benefits of bitcoin wallets with the universal accessibility of standard debit cards.
Of course, not all BTC cards are created equal, and most aren’t suited for international use. So which one is the best choice for travel buffs? To answer that question, we ranked cards according to a number of relevant factors, such as foreign transaction fees, currency exchange rates, support responsiveness, and ATM withdrawal limits.
If you want to avoid penalties, funding delays and other unpleasant surprises, consider traveling with one of the cards listed below.
#1 – WageCan Golden Card
Though the company is based in Taiwan, their cards have been available in over 110 countries since 2014. According to WageCan, their goal is to help popularize Bitcoins by “making it easy to spend them in the real world”. The company is best known for their Universe Card, one of the most affordable BTC debit cards available to U.S. residents.
WageCan is an established brand that has proven itself to be reliable and secure. Their online banking app is simple and intuitive, although it’s limited to a few basic functions. Most importantly, they offer worldwide customer support, which guarantees a fast response in any time zone.
Fees & Limits
As far as international travel goes, the new WageCan Golden Card offers the lowest fees and the highest spending limits in the industry.
While other worthwhile bitcoin cards charge a 3-4% fee for all foreign currency transactions, Golden users only pay 1.5%. Likewise, the ATM withdrawal fee is just 2.5%, compared to the standard charge of $3-5 per transaction. On top of that, there are absolutely no monthly fees or activation fees. And you can replace an expired card, check your balance or change your PIN for free.
For unverified accounts, there’s a $6,000 transaction limit for all purchases. After verifying your identity, you can enjoy unlimited top-ups and withdrawals, though you can’t spend more than $13,000 in a single transaction. There’s also a generous daily limit of $2,500 for ATM withdrawals.
Unfortunately, there is a catch. Signing up for a Golden Card will cost you $180, which is about 10 times more than an average activation fee. That said, if you travel frequently, this bitcoin card will pay for itself in no time. Plus, that price includes express shipping via DHL.
Pros & Cons
|● Low foreign transaction fees
● Responsive customer support
● Generous deposit/withdrawal limits
● No monthly fees
● No card replacement/activation fees
|● Staggering registration fee|
#2 – Uquid
As opposed to most BTC debit card issuers, Uquid embraces transparency and encourages anonymity. Plus, their cards are issued by Visa and thoroughly secured by Uquid. That’s why, even though the company is fairly new, their product has already attracted thousands of loyal users.
Though their support team lacks English grammar skills, they’re great at resolving technical problems. You can expect a thorough response within 24 hours of submitting a query.
Fees & Limits
Uquid charges a 3% fee on any payment made in a foreign currency. That includes ATM withdrawals, which incur an additional fee of $3 per transaction. To be fair, these rates are on par with most bitcoin debit cards. But, unlike most issuers, Uquid allows you to check your balance at an ATM for free.
The best part about using this card is Uquid’s diversified deposit methods. There are even a few free top-up options, including transfers from the BTC-E exchange. As such, you’ll won’t ever have to confirm your financial information.
You can create a Uquid account totally free of charge, but there’s a one-time $17 fee for requesting a physical BTC card. Although there’s a free shipping option, users reported frustratingly slow delivery times (2-4 weeks on average). As such, you may want to opt in for the $35 express shipment.
Regardless of where you use it, the Uquid card charges a number of recurring fees. That said, the most expensive ones are a $1 virtual card issuance fee and a $1 monthly fee.
Pros & Cons
|● The card is a Visa
● No ID verification or credit check required
● Commission-free deposit options
● No withdrawal limits
● Fast customer support
|● High international ATM fee ($3 plus 3% for foreign currency transactions)
● Shipping can take up to four weeks
#3 – Bitwala
Bitwala is an award-winning bitcoin debit card issuer headquartered in Berlin. Since its 2014 launch, the company has introduced countless innovations that shaped today’s BTC banking industry. Just this year, Bitwala received a German Innovation Award and won 1st place at the Paris Fintech Forum.
With an established global support network, Bitwala provides unmatched customer service. And their intuitive mobile banking app allows you to manage your debit card as well as your BTC wallet.
Fees & Limits
At signup, Bitwala charges you a total of just $10 for a virtual card, a physical card, activation, and shipping. Because it ships from Germany, your card should be delivered in 5-10 business days. But, for an extra $69, you can get expedited shipping, which won’t take longer than 4-5 days.
Since the default currency is Euros, this card is especially well-suited for traveling to European countries. When paying in EUR, the transaction fee is 0%. Meanwhile, other currencies imply a standard 3% charge. Bitwala also offers competitive ATM fees of $2.25 for domestic and $2.75 for international withdrawals. Plus, you can top up your balance from anywhere in the world at a rate of just 0.5%.
Pros & Cons
|● Free transactions across Europe
● Lowest initial fees on the market
● Cutting-edge mobile banking features
● Low deposit fees
|● 3% foreign transaction fee will apply if you use the card in the U.S.
● Express shipping costs $70
Unfortunately, there’s no such thing as a one-size-fits-all bitcoin debit card. To find the best option, consider your own personal needs.
For instance, if you spend a substantial amount of time overseas, you can’t go wrong with the WageCan Golden Card. Meanwhile, if you travel rarely but you also want a card for domestic use, Uquid will serve you well. And if your destination is Europe, it makes sense to choose Bitwala.
Thanks for reading!
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