MasterCard Removes Cryptocurrency Debit Card Availability Outside EEA

Life has become a lot harder for people who enjoy using cryptocurrency debit cards. A few months ago, Visa announced it would suspend all crypto debit cards outside of the European Economic Area (EEA). It now turns out MasterCard will be doing the exact same thing. This is bad news for a lot of people outside of Europe who want to use these prepaid cards. Existing cards will remain active for three more months, after which point they will be blocked automatically.

MasterCard Issues new Guidelines

In a way, it was to be expected that MasterCard would follow Visa’s example as far as the prepaid debit card ban was concerned. With the world’s largest card issuer halting card support for countries outside the European Economic Area, things took a turn for the worse. MasterCard is now taking a similar approach, which is sure to send more shockwaves throughout the financial sector. Unfortunately, this also will affect cryptocurrency startups looking to issue such cards on a global scale.

Considering that a lot of companies rely on a third-party service provider for their debit cards, things are not looking all that great for the sector. Wave Crest Holdings is one of the larger white-label debit card issuers in the world of cryptocurrency. Most companies use its cards under a different name as a way to provide cryptocurrency debit card services to the masses. It seems that situation will be coming to an end, especially where the non-EEA user base is concerned.

This new stance affects a lot of companies involved in the cryptocurrency debit card industry. Advcash, for example, has already informed customers that it cannot offer plastic and virtual cards to users in countries outside the EEA. The fact that this also applies to virtual debit cards is rather surprising, even though it is evident that both MasterCard and Visa would face a lot of issues otherwise.

All existing cards belonging to people outside the EEA will remain active for another 90 days. After that time, MasterCard will block said cards automatically. Any remaining funds on one’s card must either be spent or withdrawn through the card issuer before that time. It is a problematic development in the world of cryptocurrency, with no obvious upside for users.

In an odd way, this decision will force a lot of people to start using native cryptocurrency wallets. One can certainly make the argument that both Visa and MasterCard are making the wrong decision in this regard, as some users will be inspired to acquire and utilize a proper crypto wallet as a result of this drastic course of action. Unfortunately, very few merchants – either online or offline – accept Bitcoin payments directly, which may make it difficult to spend Bitcoin and altcoins for the foreseeable future.

For customers within the European Economic Area, nothing will change for the time being. This news highlights how most, if not all, cryptocurrency debit card providers may be scrutinized even further in the coming months. Moreover, Europeans can still take their cards outside the EEA and spend money as they would otherwise. It will become impossible to register for such cards as a non-EEA citizen from now on, which is a major setback when looking at the bigger picture.

  • Liberty88

    Visa/MC cutting their own throat.

  • Pete M.

    fuck’em, someone should just come out with their own card, bank and use Ripple to handle the TX’s

    • Pharaoh

      like CENTRA Card!

    • Gore

      Agreed!! Fuckem don’t want them in our pockets anyways.

  • buy centra

  • Chris Dayton

    Bad news for companies using White Label debit cards. Good thing Centra cards are issued by a bank.

    • Scotty Govoni

      Do you think TenX won’t find a bank? Really? TenX is far superior. Everything about them.

  • Peter K

    Didn’t Centra Tech already solve this issue with their card? No third party bs, just a genuine card issuance through a bank?

    • Roger

      Looks like Centra is OK for now. Their CEO left this message on their slack channel:

      “Dear Community,

      It has been brought to my attention that many of you have been wondering about the statements made by MasterCard to ban Cryptocurrency Debit Cards outside of EEA geographics. I have done some due diligence and phone calls with my issuers and banks and this in NO WAY effects the Centra Card and our operations. Our licensing agreement and Master Service Agreements gave us the same licensing rights to these institutional issuers that allow us to operate as Co-Branded Prepaid Debit Card Program in all regions we support. The MasterCard ban was made, again, to Wavecrest whom is the issuer for other cryptocurrency companies such as TenX, Xapo, etc. From my research, it seems as though these bans have been to Wavecrest for violating any licensing agreements they had in place with Visa & Mastercard. I am not positive on this matter of the ban, I am only reporting based on my research, however this issue does NOT apply to the Centra Card nor effect us in any way and been confirmed by our issuers.”

      • chrisdbarnett

        Wavecrest isn’t “the” issuer for TenX, it is “a” issuer. TenX have another issuer about to go live for their non EEA customers.

      • Surely If you are in their system, they can shut you down?

  • Xnoob

    Another article from this author, riddled with nonsense. Very poor

  • Michael Taggart

    Haha. Good, now they can just use my technology to put their crypto on their cards. Thanks!

  • Richard Smith

    Bad news for company’s such as TenX, Bitpay, Xapo etc. This issue is related to cross-boarder issuing. Good news for company’s such as Monaco if they manage to get Program Manager status with the individual regions for global rollout. Keep an eye out for news on the 18th. Also, as others have mentioned it shouldn’t effect Centra as they have a co-branded bank I believe? However, I don’t think they will be able to issue outside of the US?

    • Roger

      Centra are worldwide! Their main target market is the US and South Korea. I’m very curious to see what Monaco announce on the 18th.

      • Richard Smith

        Good stuff! Yep, very excited about the Monaco Card announcement. Also need to look more into Centra if I can get it in the UK.

      • Paul Janowitz

        Oh wait, they announced today… Nothing!

  • Anthony Pooler

    So are they going to tell us why visa and master card just decided not to support crypto on debit cars?

  • Oh no does this apply to Bitpay?

    • Maybe we should all wait on the clarity of the situation?

  • Paul

    Surely if all things goes according to plan, Centra debit card will breach that gap in the crypto debit card sphere.

    • Roger

      Yes. They just need to get their app online asap to take advantage of all the uncertainty going around. Once it’s out, I except there to be some massive shilling going around. Apparently one of the Titanium card holders plans on buying a Tesla with their card.

  • just checked does not apply to Bitpay 🙂

  • anton

    The Merkle is a fucking joke and this writer should be fired. Your ‘source’ is a reddit post which coincidentally also has no source.
    Imagine thinking you’re a journalist and posting straight up FUD as a news article…

  • SuperResistant

    This article is so wrong. Mastercard prepaid BTC cards still work out outside of EU. Only Wavecrest stopped because of a conflict between them and Mastercard. Not a single word about Wavecrest, how can you be so ignorant and date writing an article ?

  • tariq bdair

    i hope that not happen i just talked to the centra support they insures for me that they still working with no problems i hope visa and MC rethink their strategy