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Bitwala.com Debit Card Review

Bitwala.com Debit Card Review

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Bitwala is building the future of money transfers. The blockchain based banking offers a fast and low cost option to send money, pay bills and top up debit cards. Bitwala issues prepaid debit cards that can be used with 20 currencies and with 44 cryptocurrencies worldwide. The 15 000+ Bitwala users are spread across 120 countries using everyday one of the fiat or cryptocurrencies with great pleasure.

Bitwala blockchain banking experience

About Bitwala

The Bitwala team of 12 with 9 different nationalities is based in Berlin since 2012. The company has been founded by three guys and Lola, the French bulldog who is in love with Dogecoin. Bitwala bitcoin debit card

Jörg von Minckwitz, CEO believes bitcoin is the future. Beside Bitwala, he is a co-founder of Bitcoins Berlin, Europe’s leading bitcoin startup incubator. Ben Jones, CTO from London has a passion about bitcoin and always hassled with international money transfers, so he combined work with pleasure when founding Bitwala. Previously he has been working for a web agency producing applications at Meteor Factory.  Jan Goslicki, COO is responsible for quality assurance and customer satisfaction due to his high attention to details. Before founding Bitwala he has been an IT consultant at PwC.

Bitwala on Social Media:

Services Provided

Bitwala offer plastic and virtual debit cards that can be funded with 20 different currencies and 44 cryptocurrencies. Besides the usual USD, EUR and GBP accounts, user may use the Bitwala bitcoin debit card with all European currencies, many currencies in Asia (JPY, KRW, CNY, VND and MYR), AUD and couple currencies in South America (BRL, MXN).

Due to it’s partnership with ShapeShift, Bitwala is accepting 44 major altcoins as top up methods. The Bitwala bitcoin debit card is also capable to accept beside the bitcoin a lot of altcoins, like litecoin, dogecoin, monero, zcash and many more. Although this feature is still in beta mode, so Bitwala warns users that they may encounter some problems when using it. In this case the Bitwala Support Team is more than willing to help anyone out.

Altcoins are welcome

The Bitwala plastic cards are accepted at merchants signed up with VISA and at millions of ATMs worldwide. The online purchases can be conducted with both the plastic and the virtual cards through using the Bitwala interface or the application in Google Play store.

Use bitwala bitcoin debit card anywhereBitwala offers 3 level of membership. The monthly limits, that includes all transfers that takes place from the account (including bank transfers and card topups) is 500 EUR for Level 1, 2 000 EUR for Level 2 and 50 000 EUR for Level 3 users. Businesses may request a business level account for a monthly limit of 100 000 EUR up on further document submission for authorization purposes.

Level 1 cardholders are unverified users who only need to provide a valid email address to use the services. Verification at Bitwala means to become a level 2 cardholder and providing a proof of identity and residence. They accept government issued IDs and utility bills or other proof of address.  Level 2 status provides the users access to unlimited purchases and ATM withdrawals during the lifetime of membership. User may withdraw 1 000 EUR cash per transactions, and max 2 000 EUR daily at ATMs. Level 3 members monthly limit is 50 000 EUR which can be obtained with a Skype interview.

Bitwala supports the usual 129 counties as many other bitcoin debit card provider due to regulation reasons. Countries in Africa, Middle-East and India along with the Unites States are excluded from the services. But citizens of Russia, China and Europe, with many countries in South-America can benefit from the multi-currency environment Bitwala provides.

Fees and Pricing Schedule

The Bitwala plastic and virtual cards both cost 2 EUR at issuance. The monthly service fee is 1 EUR while issuing the PIN code cost 0.80 EUR. After ordering, the card arrives within 7-10 business days, or for an extra fee of 69 EUR the expedited shipping only takes 3-5 days. Normal shipping is free.

Bitwala flat and transparent feesWithdrawing money from ATMs costs a little less than the market average. ATM withdrawals at domestic machines cost 2.25 EUR, at international machines it costs 2.75 EUR+ 3% currency exchange rate. The flat rate for international ATM withdrawals is cheaper than the usual market rate, 3% is 3% almost everywhere on the bitcoin debit card market.

Cards can be funded from SEPA or SWIFT transfers, or from other bitcoin and altcoin wallets. Top up has a flat fee of 1 EUR and an additional 0.5% across the board from any sources.

Due to real time market rates, Bitwala clients enjoy full transparency. Bitwala is using fair commission rate, displaying the best bitcoin payment provider’s rate available on the market at a certain point of time. They are passing the exchange rate over to the client without adding extra margin. They believe in that spending the bitcoins via the debit card is cheaper than selling it on an exchange. However this also means at Bitwala you cannot buy directly bitcoins. Before using Bitwala services, therefore users have to buy bitcoins at other crypto exchanges in advance.

Bitwala User Experience

Bitwala.io is designed in the many shades of blue. The website is well structured, information is easy to find although the FAQ section does not have a search function that everyday users can miss a lot. They operate a HelpDesk via Skype, where live chat support is also available between 10AM-5PM (GMT+2), as the team is in Berlin. This opening hours can cause some headaches for users in overseas countries. Users may also send emails to Bitwala Customer Support which operates with a ticket system, so issues can be easily tracked. General questions are welcome in the contact form on the website.

Bitwala customer service is rated high across the internet. There aren’t much of a complaint about the website or Bitwala cards at all. Some technical issues arise sometimes, but the Support Team seems to handle such cases very well.

Bitwala platform

Overall Conclusion

Bitwala bitcoin debit card is a great choice for those users who want to have exposure to multiple currencies outside of the major fiats as they offer their services in 20 currencies and 44 altcoins. The pricing schedule is below the average market level of the bitcoin debit cards. They however does not operate an exchange so all the bitcoin exchanges happens outside of Bitwala, users need to possess bitcoin before using their services. Although they support USD as a currency, Bitwala cannot issue debit cards to US citizens. Still Bitwala is a promising bitcoin debit card provider for users in the rest of the world.

Pros:

  • supporting 20 currencies and 44 altcoins
  • owners work as C-level directors in the company
  • good pricing structure

Cons:

  • using third party bitcoin exchanges, not own exchange price
  • no search function in FAQ
  • not available to US citizens
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