Netherlands-based digital currency payments solutions firm Bitwala is offering free bitcoin debit cards to the first 2000 clients. Bitwala’s VISA debit card is comparable to BitPay’s debit card in terms of fees and issuance charges, however, Bitwala also offers virtual card deliveries that cost only €5.
The Bitwala card can be used at any merchant that supports VISA payments and can be easily loaded with bitcoin deposits via Bitwala’s mobile app. The company is marketing its card products as an alternative/replacements for fiat-backed VISA debit cards.
Andrea Hesler from Bitwala writes:
“You can get rid of that bank account of yours and start handling your financials using Bitwala.”
At this time, client bitcoin deposits are immediately converted into fiat currency upon receipt, but Bitwala is currently working on a solution to keep the deposits in bitcoin. According to Hesler’s blog post, Bitwala currently converts client bitcoin deposits using an average bitcoin exchange rate, which gives users a fair deal.
In addition to the issuance and top up fees, Bitwala also charges a €1 monthly maintenance fee, and merchants are currently billed between 2-3 percent on every purchase made with the card. The foreign transaction fee stands at 3%. In order to receive a physical/virtual card, clients are required to submit identity verification documents to Bitwala.
Last month, Bitwala raised $900k in seed funding from several prominent VC firms like Digital Currency Group and High-Tech Gruenderfonds – a German tech-focused seed stage investment firm – to expands its presence in the growing digital currency economy.
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