Crypto Cards: How Do They Work?

Crypto cards have become an increasingly popular and convenient way for cryptocurrency holders to spend their funds. Our expert explains how they work and the options you have when considering getting one.

Written by Alex Williams
Published on Nov. 22, 2022
Crypto Cards: How Do They Work?
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The cryptocurrency wave has been picking up steam globally and is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 11.1 percent from 2021 to 2028. Considering this data — along with millions of crypto enthusiasts raving about the blockchain — we can safely say we’re at the dawn of a new financial era.

The decentralized financial structure of cryptocurrency is steadily becoming as important as traditional fiat money. And it’s not only investors scrambling to get a piece of this cake. Even financial institutions and retail brands are jumping on this bandwagon and offering crypto options to their forward-thinking customers.

Thanks to the increasing popularity of crypto, the world’s largest financial institutions have started offering crypto cards that allow customers to pay for goods and services with cryptocurrency. This development has legitimized this new form of currency and increased its adoption and ubiquity.

Curious about crypto cards? This guide outlines how they work and how you can use them. Let’s dive in.

What Is a Crypto Card?

A crypto card is a form of payment that allows anyone who holds cryptocurrency to spend it without first having to convert it into fiat currency. Many crypto exchanges have partnered with companies like Visa, MasterCard, and Swipe to process these transactions. Such cards come in both debit and credit versions and offer a range of options and possible perks.

More From Alex Williams: Sushiswap Vs. Uniswap: What Are the Differences?


What Is a Crypto Card?

Until recently, when early crypto adopters wished to spend their funds, they first needed to convert their crypto into fiat money via a crypto exchange. Then they had to wait until the amount was credited to their bank account before they could spend it.

This complicated process took a lot of time and effort, so most cryptocurrency holders at the time still had to keep some traditional money for their everyday shopping needs.

Fortunately, crypto has since taken the world by storm, and it’s become easier to use in regular transactions. Crypto cards have made payments much more straightforward for crypto holders. Now they can directly spend their crypto without going through the motions of fiat exchange.

These cards are issued by crypto exchanges, and users can easily get one from their institution of choice. These cards are very easy to use for a wide range of payment needs. 


How Does a Crypto Card Work?

A crypto card works just like any payment card from a regular financial institution. You can use it for regular purchases, just like a bank-issued debit or credit card. Many of these are commonly accepted for payments wherever shoppers can use traditional payment methods.

For these cards, crypto exchanges have joined with popular payment providers like Visa, MasterCard, and Swipe. So, when you purchase something with a crypto card, the associated company’s payment processing network will carry out the transaction. This provides you with greater ease and convenience while shopping.

These cards typically convert crypto from your wallet automatically into the traditional currency you need to make the payment. So, you can use them as payment for online and offline shopping, even at retail stores that don’t accept crypto. Some crypto cards also offer perks, providing rewards in crypto for paying fiat money at stores.

You can also use crypto cards to make cash withdrawals at ATMs that support this form of currency. This option makes these cards even more useful and, overall, a very practical payment solution.


Crypto Debit Cards vs. Crypto Credit Cards

You can get a crypto card in a debit card or credit card format, with most of their traditional functionalities. 

Here, we will delve into the differences between crypto debit and credit cards to help you understand how they work and decide which option is best for your spending habits.


Crypto Debit Cards

Crypto debit cards are just like prepaid debit cards. You must link your wallet to your crypto card so you can use it for payments and withdrawals. Keep in mind that some crypto debit cards incur maintenance fees and charge a certain amount with every ATM withdrawal. Make sure to look up these terms before you sign up for one.

To get a crypto debit card, you must first sign up for an account on your payment platform of choice. Then, follow the know-your-customer (KYC) rules to verify your identity. Finally, you need to fund your account or wallet with crypto to start using it. 

Some crypto debit card issuers require users to purchase their cards. Others demand that you invest your money in their own crypto tokens so you can earn more benefits. For example, Visa cards require the purchase of CRO tokens.

Crypto debit cards undoubtedly rank high on convenience. You can use your crypto wallet for purchases without having to do anything with your account or wallet or convert it into fiat currency.

You can spend crypto on any transaction as long as you have readily available funds. But, like traditional debit cards, you can only spend what you have in your account.

If you want to purchase big-ticket items, you can use a crypto credit card instead.


Crypto Credit Cards

Crypto credit cards function just like traditional credit cards. Whenever you purchase a product or service with a crypto credit card, you can defer your payment over a certain period. You can also earn cryptocurrency or cashback rewards. 

You must pay off the balance every month or else incur interest or late fees.

These cards also incur transaction fees and annual fees. They also have an impact on your credit score in the same way as traditional credit cards. So, make sure to read the terms and conditions for the card you wish to use and understand what you’re in for.


What Is the Best Crypto Card for You?

Identifying the best crypto card for you depends on a few factors:

Factors to Consider When Picking a Crypto Card

  • Company issuing the crypto card
  • Cryptocurrencies the card supports
  • Rewards
  • Fees


Company Issuing the Crypto Card

What crypto credit card companies are available in your region? How easy is it to buy and sell cryptocurrency using their platform? Do they provide the flexibility and services that you’re looking for?


Cryptocurrencies the Card Supports

Does the crypto credit card you’re considering support the cryptocurrencies you have? Do they have a good selection of cryptocurrencies?



Do they have a rewards program that incentivizes usage?



Can you afford their fees? What kinds of fees do they charge customers? Are the fees reasonable?

More in Blockchain: Who Started Bitcoin?


Other Things To Consider

Crypto cards are quite easy to use since they work pretty much like traditional payment cards issued by banks. If you’re an avid crypto user, a crypto card can help you easily access your funds and use them for everyday transactions.

Remember, however, that crypto debit and credit cards have different functions, advantages, and disadvantages. You must choose the best crypto card that suits your financial needs.

Factor in your financial portfolio and spending habits. Also, review the card’s rewards rate, spending limit, credit requirements, regional restrictions, payment processing network, transaction fees, and so on. This will help you make the right decision about whether to use a crypto card and which one to get.

This content is for informational and educational purposes only. Built In strives to maintain accuracy in all its editorial coverage, but it is not intended to be a substitute for financial or legal advice.

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