Xapo and Shakepay to Suspend Cryptocurrency Debit Card Services Outside the EU

Big changes are coming to cryptocurrency-based debit cards. These developments are not positive for anyone living outside of the EU, as it appears obtaining such cards in other countries will be extremely difficult. Both Xapo and Shakepay have been asked to halt their services to non-EU residents. Users in regions outside of the EU will soon see their accounts deactivated and their cards becoming unusable. All of this is thanks to Visa forcing the hand of card issuers and service providers.

Bad New for Shakepay and Xapo

The concept of a cryptocurrency debit card has always been met with a fair amount of confusion and hesitation. Such a debit card is not a pure way of spending cryptocurrency, even though there is a lot of potential in this technology. Spending cryptocurrency using a debit card is admittedly a convenient solution, especially when considering that so many countries around the world have thousands of retailers accepting card payments. Direct cryptocurrency acceptance, on the other hand, is still lackluster at this stage.

Both Xapo and Shakepay are two established brands in the world of cryptocurrency debit cards. These two companies have made quite a name for themselves and serve customers on an international basis. Unfortunately, it seems some of their efforts will come to an end in the very near future. A new directive issued by Visa effectively forces these companies to halt their services to customers outside the EU. These debit cards obviously are far from a perfect solution.

It appears Visa has communicated with different debit card service providers all over the world. Its message is pretty clear: it does not want companies to provide services outside of the European Union for the foreseeable future. This decision will also affect companies outside of the cryptocurrency industry as well. Only customers within the EU can order new debit cards from this point forward and existing customer accounts from outside of the EU will be closed in the near future.

Right now, the deadline to suspend these services and associated cards is October 15, 2017. That means customers of both Xapo and Shakepay have until that date to use their cryptocurrency debit cards before they become invalid. While this is a very troublesome development that will make a lot of people unhappy, there is nothing else to do but play by Visa’s rules right now. After all, as the card issuer, it makes the rules for all other companies. It is highly likely some alternatives will be found, but for now, there has been no official confirmation just yet.

Ever since cryptocurrency debit cards were introduced, customers from specific regions have been unable to access them. This is especially true where the U.S. is concerned, as it has been one of the no-go regions for cryptocurrency debit cards for as long as most people can remember. The new directive by Visa will only make it more difficult for debit card service providers to enter non-European markets in the future. All new customers of both Shakepay and Xapo within the EU will need to provide proof of residency without exception.

All of this goes to show that more convenient spending solutions need to be developed for cryptocurrency sooner rather than later. Debit cards are great for people living in the EU, but for the rest of the world they are anything but accessible. It will be interesting to see if any other debit card service provider will issue a statement regarding this new Visa guideline in the near future. There are quite a few competing companies in this space, to say the least. Some companies issue both Visa and MasterCard-branded products, which means they have at least an alternative at their disposal for now.

  • concerndcitizen

    The battle has begun. Major credit card companies are owned by the same people who own the central banks. They won’t want anything outside their system, apparently.

    • esrgdthfy

      And how come they’re still allowing EU citizens to transact if that were the case?

      • concerndcitizen

        VISA EU is a separate company.

  • JohnnyAp

    Yup!! centraliszation fuckers

  • Coin & Currency Collector

    Well I can offer a way around all this providing they do it some of the big people that has millions laying around in cryptocurrency needs to come together and create there own card services. There is no law saying no one that has the backing can not create there own card services it would be just like creating a new crypto as long as the cash backing is there it can be done.

    • Andie Marshall

      It’s a bit more complicated than you think, which is why it has yet to be done. Discover was the last “new card issuer” back in the 80ties back when Sears was Amazon. Everyone thought they would fail b/c it takes time and $$ to sell and onboard a nation of merchants and cardholders. At this point we’re better off pushing for open internet-connected hardware… something like Poynt. Because the first choke point in the system is the POS systems providers, followed by the card network providers (Visa, MC, Amex, Discover…that control the toll road and settlement with the card issuing and merchant banks) not to mention the inventory management software providers (which larger merchants are loathed to change) It’s an old and oligopolistic supply chain and the inter-dependencies give all of these insiders added protection with sizable merchants

    • concerndcitizen

      The card networks are private businesses and they ain’t letting you in. That’s the short answer.

    • Zafri Jaafar

      i like the way you think ,

  • So will this effect companies like TenX, Monaco and Centra at all?

    • Martin Klauser

      Asking myself exact same question. Answers?

    • whatever


    • Nenad

      Yes, in a POSITIVE way, especially Monaco, since there was so much fuss about VISA. Now a lot of people that used Xapo will switch to other cards. And since Monaco is not using cards with VISA logo (outside EU)anyone can order them.

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    • wael hasan

      are yay sure it is will not affected by new visa rules ? and what is the card logo. master or what ?

      • I’m sure, because I worked at there.
        And it’s not a Visa card (that’s the reason why it’s not affected

        • The card is already pretty expensive! (over $180!), but I didn’t find what is the percentage for USD debit card withdrawal and if there is a limit to daily withdrawals.
          Could you please provide info on that?

          • I guess you mean ATM Withdrawal Fee? If so,
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  • Vincent Feltkamp

    Cards are an old solution that is not needed any more. Wechat uses QR codes to enable people to pay each other and merchants. People have phones with QR readers. Wechat and Line make paying as easy as sending cryptocurrency with a mobile wallet: scan a QR code and off goes the money. Nippon Pay integrates Bitcoin and Ethereum into payment terminals so people can pay with crypto or Alipay, Linepay. I think Visa should try and get as many people as possible to use a card everywhere in the world, rather than forbid it and be bypassed.

    • In countries like my own (Costa Rica) where crypto payment is not only rare, but almost non existing, the only option is to turn BTC to FIAT.
      So this is bad news.

  • William James Erasmus

    Hi, Any idea when this was officially announced by Visa/Master Card. I have the same problem with Spectro Coin which sold me a debit card in July 20th, 2017. Recently informed its not gonna work whilst not even received the card in South Africa.

    • kreator

      This is the sad true not only South Africa it is for the rest of the world just for EU, we´re fucked with the banks, the only way have to another way to override the banks but in the short term we do not have the solution!