To come: Who robs you the most on exchange rate when getting paper money out of Bitcoin VCC?
The best Virtual Credit Cards:
- How to use up what VCCs have to offer
- E-Coin.io virtual and plastic cards (limited and no way to verify a virtual card)
- News - E-Coin becomes Wirex and offers some useful features
Advcash prepaid cards (unlimited, you can verify without having a card yet)
- Alternatives - how eWallets adopt for Bitcoin
What are virtual credit cards for
They are actually debit cards to correct it right from the start. Somehow it is common to all payment cards credit cards though, especially if you are not from America or any other country where living on credit is common. These debit cards are prepaid cards similar to those you get with some e-wallets (like Skrill).
With some providers, however, you can opt for virtual card only. That means you will not get a parcel or letter with the actual piece of plastic. You get your card number and CVV per email. Fine if you travel a lot and have no permanent address.
You can use those for online shopping but more importantly, you can link a virtual card to a Paypal or Skrill account and withdraw money on it.
With Skrill you can also deposit money on to Skrill with a debit crad, if it is verified.
You probably get the idea that virtual prepaid cards are convenient for verification of your e-wallet accounts like Paypal.
How to use virtual cards
Virtual cards are fine to get fiat money instantly if you trade Bitcoin and profit. Let’s say you bought 1BTC, price went up so you want to sell and buy back, but you also want that cash profit.
Here’s what you can do with prepaid Bitcoin cards:
1 BTC bought at $350
Current price: $400, will fall
To sell and buy back at $350 will yield 1.14 BTC
You want to grab that 0.14 in fiat
-> Move 0.14 to your Bitcoin card wallet address while the price is high and top up your credit card
-> Sell the rest of the coin and buy back as planned
No way with Shift Payments / Coinbase
There is a U.S. Shift card connected with Coinbase though which will only convert the coins as you want to spend them.
Shift will keep a report on the profit/loss you made.
That follows the Coinbase strategy to make the use of Bitcoin a “no-brainer” while the original thought was more like “be your own bank and take care of your money yourself” but oh well.
- Shift card is only available plastic and for people in US only.
If you are not in EU, withdrawing to debit card is always cheaper though.
If you are in EU but your country is not Bitcoin-friendly (like France now), you should not risk withdrawing to a bank account.
Witchhunt against prepaid cards
The caveat is that it is becoming a rare occurrence to find an online merchant accepting prepaid cards. The reasons are obvious, prepaid cards can be obtained without identity verification.
So you might run into problems when shopping with them online, especially when it comes to hosting, domains and similar businesses where fraud is common.
Also the gambling industry doesn’t accept prepaid cards as widely as it once has.
Plastic cards are hassle-free if you can get them
Another scenario though is when you want to safely spend your Bitcoin earnings, for instance from LocalBitcoins. You can get a verified plastic prepaid card, load it with coins and then withdraw cash from an ATM or pay in brick and mortar stores. That should be quite seamless.
E-Coin.io review and good-to-knows
E-Coin.io is a service widely used by the Bitcoin community. All you need to sign up is an email address and indeed topup in bitcoin is supported. There is no fixed BTC address related to your account, when you need to send in money you get a one-stop receving address that is only shown for a few seconds. Once your bitcoin payment got 6 confirmations you can spend your coins.
You are free to order your virtual or plastic Visa card without any verification but be aware you will be strongly limited. On E-Coin.io unverified cards have 2500 USD (or EUR or GBP) lifetime receiving limit.
Sadly, you cannot verify a virtual E-Coin.io card.
It is always possible to upgrade your card to plastic and get verified. Just the fee for that is a bit higher than when you order a plastic version of the card right at the start.
E-Coin.io is based in the UK and currently unregulated, that means there would be no need for AML/KYC. The company chose to comply with them anyway though. That is reasonable to keep a low profile. The policies are pretty standard, you need a photo of your ID and proof of residence not older than 3 months.
The virtual E-Coin.io card only costs $3 though so if you just want to verify a paypal account, go for it, it’s a no brainer. There are no monthly fees apart from a text message info service for $1 monthly. Canceling a card is paid, too and there are some transaction fees. You better check on E-Coin.io directly since fees tend to change.
Care to buy virtual prepaid card on E-Coin? Then do it with THIS LINK. You will get 25% discount
News - March 2016: E-Coin is now Wirex
Starting March 2016 E-Coin.io gets rebranded to Wirex, new homepage will be wirexapp.com. The new version of the VCC service should have a number of new features, like possibility to add a bank account and a mobile app for Android and iOS.
There is also mentioned “a tool” to overcome the Bitcoin volatility by locking a value of Bitcoin before topup. In fact, it is only the thing that e-coin will allow you to hold fiat (that is, you decide when you want to sell your Bitcoins and you can spend them any time in the future). (See it explained on Reddit)
This functionality is not available with Coinbase / Shift card that only allows you to hold Bitcoin and convert at the spot price the moment you want to make a card payment.
If you already have an E-Coin card:
All cards and accounts of E-Coin will remain the same.
You now will have more services to go along with your card.
- Buying bitcoin
- 1 touch conversions between fiat and Bitcoin
- Mobile banking
If you want to see the app as soon as possible, sign up for beta test access here.
What has E-Coin to say as for the reasons to rebrand:
Without naming names, E-Coin (and its variations) is also the name of one countryâ€™s alternate cryptocurrency. It is the name of an alternate coin-bitcoin digital currency exchange platform, a fast-food administration page, an online shop specialising in beauty products, and even a rare coin in Super Mario World. We wanted to move away from E-Coin. Our company name is Wirex Limited. Therefore, we decided to make things simpler and call ourselves Wirex. Full post
Wirex is a London-based startup that raised $186.6K funding in November 2015.
Headquarters: London, England Description: Wirex is a hybrid personal banking platform combining blockchain technology and traditional finance. Founders: Dmitry Lazarichev, Pavel Matveev Categories: Financial Services Website: https://wirexapp.com
AdvCash prepaid cards
Virtual card is still a bit cheaper.
Upgrade from virtual to plastic is still possible.
Upgrade to plastic is still a bit more expensive than having plastic from the start.
What is significantly better on AdvCash is the verification system:
- You can get verified without having a card yet. That is, verification is not limited to plastic cards only. And from the other side, an unverified card is not so heavily limited.
The limits and fees are friendly as well.
Basically the common practice is followed here: You verify as soon as you sign up and nobody will ever bother you again. An unverified account with a lot of cashflow naturally attracts attention and will be required to verify. You need an ID, proof of address and a phone number to get verified.
I cannot help but it sounds far more reasonable than a flat AML/KYC bothering everyone. Sign up here.
AKA ewallets adopt for Bitcoin.
Moneybookers & Co
Moneybookers is now known as Skrill and for many years it was the way to deal with transactions if you were in a country without Paypal. For businesses it was also more convenient since their transaction fees were lower, especially for businesses moving around a lot of money which qualifies for Skrill Gold, Silver or Bronze plans that come cheaper.
Nowadays Skrill is still a popular payment solution and ewallet and as such, doesn’t support Bitcoin at all. Even to the extent that accounts engaged in Bitcoin business might be shut down.
Nonetheless there is Neteller, a payment solution that was competing with Skrill until 2015 when Skrill was bought by the company that also owns Neteller:
Optimal Payments Plc (LSE: OPAY), the group behind the popular NETELLER payment solution, has just revealed it would buy rival Skrill Group (Sentinel Topco Ltd) for a sum of about 1.1 billion euros in order to expand its online services.
Skrill is one of the largest online pre-paid cards providers in Europe with its paysafecard brand. Its shareholders include CVC Capitalâ€™s Sentinel Group Holdings SA, Investcorp Technology Partners and others. Back in August 2013, CVC acquired a controlling stake in Skrill for â‚¬600m from Bahrain-based Investcorp.
Both Neteller and Skrill are now part of the Paysafe Group, the issuer of prepaid cards.
Neteller has no Bitcoin restrictions, Bitcoins are officially listed on the website as a deposit method with 5% fee which is at a level with other deposit method’s fees on Neteller. Note that you shouldn’t keep any money on Neteller as they charge inactivity fee. But if you want to “sell Bitcoin” in other way than to a bank account and use the fiat right away to buy something, Neteller is a good way to do that since Neteller payment might be directly supported by the place that you want to pay. Neteller and Skrill is used for online payments, on merchant sites and also in online casinos.
- You can deposit money to Neteller and directly shop somewhere or pay a business: You pay 5% transfer of Bitcoin, payment to a business is free.
While you can send money directly from Skrill to Neteller (with fee of ~2%) you cannot do the opposite - getting money from Neteller to Skrill. You will need to send the money to a casino or a forex platform where you might even get a deposit bonus, play with the money first and only after that withdraw the money to Skrill if that’s an option. Another option is via a proxy, someone who has both a Neteller and Skrill account - you send them money to Neteller, they send you the same money to your Skrill from their Skrill (or from whatever they have to whatever you want).
You can get a prepaid card with Neteller too, that can effectively be bought and loaded with Bitcoins. Net+ Prepaid MasterCard is available in 8 fiat currencies and both as plastic and virtual.
Unverified Net+ VCC is severly limited: 800.00 USD lifetime maximum. But you can keep applying for new cards, first Net+ Virtual is free, following ones cost 3 USD.
Verified Net+ VCC has limit of 30 purchases in 4 days and 14,000.00 USD in purchases every 4 days.
Net+ Plastic costs 13.00 USD shipping and handling fee. Shopping is free, forex is ~3.5% and atm fee ~1.8%.
[Still Rumor] Paypal
As for Paypal there has been an unconfirmed rumor in fintech circles that Paypal is undergoing an internal restructuralization and is notifying the potential of blockchain and cryptocurrencies. However all information has been unconfirmed, what’s out was more or less generic speak like that Paypal is considering integrating Bitcoin payments and implementation is in the making (no results yet).
In May 2016 another rumor started spreading, and that was that Paypal is filing a patent for their own Bitcoin and altcoin wallet.
It seems though that was a hoax as fintech organizations are more focused on blockchain technology as a way to spread information immutably and instantly.