Posts Tagged ‘My Choice

e-coin-e-card

The service E-Coin that is offering users a Bitcoin-powered Debit Card and an online Multi-Sig wallet is apparently going to be rebranding to Wirex. So in the future instead of E-Coin debit cards you will be getting a Wirex Bitcoin-powered debit card, but with the rebranding we are also supposed to get new extras including a dedicated mobile applications for Android and iOS. Meanwhile the old E-Coin website is still fully functional and is still the way to use your Bitcoin online wallet and to control and manage any virtual or physical Bitcoin-powered debit card if you have already have one.

e-coin-bitcoin-visa-debit-card

Last year we have reviewed the service and even got our own physical E-Coin Bitcoin debit card issued to try it out, you can find our first impressions using the card here. We should note that we got an unbranded Visa card issued from My Choice Corporate and apparently the new cards should be Master Cards branded as Wirex Card and be issued from by Wave Crest Holdings. We will have to wait a bit and see that when the rebranding is finished and E-Coin fully transforms as Wirex, something that is currently going at the moment.

e-coin-buy-bitcoin

As we have already mentioned E-Coin is an online multi-sig wallet for securely storing Bitcoins as well as a service that allows you to get a Bitcoin powered debit card. The Bitcoins you have in your balance however are not directly available for use through your Bitcoin debit card, you need to first load your card by essentially exchanging Bitcoins for the fiat currency of the card. It is also possible to to load money directly in the Bitcoin debit card with a bank transfer, but up until recently you had no option to “unload” money from the card back into your Bitcoin wallet from within the service. Now you finally have to option to Buy Bitcoin with the balance in your card, so you can move BTC to fiat and vice versa any moment you like, so you can even profit “trading” when the exchange rate changes. Of course for trading you would prefer to go for an exchange, but it is convenient to be able to get any unspent EUR from your Bitcon debit card back to Bitcoin if you are not going to be needing them for the moment.

For more information about the virtual and physical E-Coin Bitcoin-powered Debit Cards…

e-coin-bitcoin-visa-debit-card

A few days ago we have talked about the E-Coin Bitcoin Debit Card and meanwhile we have also received our physical Bitcoin debit card from the service and have tried it out already. Prior to that we were using a virtual Bitcoin powered debit card that is also being offered by the service, a product that is good only for online payments, but you get it almost immediately and it offers you an easy way to spend Bitcoin at places that do not directly accept BTC payments. But back on the physical Bitcoin powered card that we got from the service, to our surprise it was not branded plastics like the images shown on the official website, instead it comes with a default prepaid Visa debit card design that is supplied by the card partner that is used – in this case it is My Choice – the same partner that Xapo uses for their online Bitcoin-powered cars as well.

bitcoin-debit-card-loading-btc

The E-Coin virtual and physical Bitcoin-powered VISA debit cards do have a separate balance than your balance in the online wallet you also get when you register for the service. This means that once you have some BTC in your E-Coin online wallet they will not be immediately available for use in your Bitcoin debit card, you will have to load some of the coins in the card’s balance in order to be able to use them. This allows you to move only a certain amount of coins in your card whenever you want to make a payment with the amount you need to pay, unlike with the Xapo card where the wallet balance is directly available for use with the card as well. Do note that sending BTC to your E-Coin wallet requires at least 3 network confirmations for the coins to be credited in the wallet and then you can immediately move some of these coins or all of them to the card “loading it” without further waiting time, though these seems to be some small fee for the transfer to the card that you are being charged. When you load the card with BTC you set the amount in coins that you already have in your online wallet an they are being converted to the currency that the card is in such as EURO for example based on the current exchange rate. So you exchange the coins to fiat money when you load the card with the current exchange rate unlike with Xapo for example where the conversion happens when you are actually making the payment from the card.

For more information about the E-Coin Virtual and Physical Bitcoin-powered Debit Cards…

xapo-bitcoin-debit-card

We’ve received our International Bitcoin Debit Card that is linked to the free Xapo online Bitcoin wallet and Vault and we were very eager to test it out. Earlier this month we’ve tried out the Xapo Online Bitcoin Wallet service and you can read our first impressions here, though the thing that we were most interested in was the ability to link your Bitcoin wallet to an International Debit Card and use the card as any normal debit card, but when you pay with it or withdraw money they are converted instantly from your Bitcoins in the wallet. Xapo has apparently partnered with My Choice as a physical card provider and the card we’ve got is not yet a Xapo branded one as apparently all of the earlier cards are, though in the future they should come as Xapo-branded International Bitcoin Debit Card and not as you see on the photo above a generic debit card with a VISA logo on it. The card we’ve got is with 3 years validity and comes with both magnetic stripe and a chip, but no contactless payment option is supported.

xapo-debit-card-order

Do note that Xapo is still in beta testing with their debit cards and have not yet launched the card publicly. You can currently pre-order your card and thus get in the list for an invitation to get it when it becomes officially available, though there may be some options to get is faster such as the one available for EU users if they purchase some BTCs from Xapo via a bank transfer. Once you receive your Bitcoin debit card you need to activate it first via a special website or by calling a dedicated phone number and also get your PIN code (can be done over the phone only!). This is done through the My Choice’s website, though once you activate the card it will be automatically linked to your Xapo wallet, so don’t worry when you see that you have 0 balance in your My Choice account. It is completely normal to see a zero balance in USD or EUR as you actually do not have anything inside the card, when there is a request for a transaction it automatically converts Bitcoins from your Xapo wallet to cover the needed amount. This happens instantly, so there are no additional delays or things that you need to do in order to use the card, you can use it as easy as like any other debit card. There is also no difference to the merchant you are paying when you use a normal debit card or the Xapo debit card linked to your online Bitcoin wallet as the merchant gets the requested amount in the local currency in both cases.

xapo-debit-card-fees

The Xapo Bitcoin Debit Cards are available in either USD, EUR or GBP currency (you can choose the currency when you fill the form for your card to be sent to you). Here ate the standard fees associated with the international debit card that you will get and that will be linked to your Xapo online Bitcoin wallet. Do note that while there is a monthly service fee included in the chart with the fees, this fee is going to be covered by Xapo, so for the end user there will be no such monthly fee included. Also note that currently Xapo is not charging the planned, one-time ordering fee of $15 USD for the card, while the card is in beta. In the future however this amount will be debited from your Xapo Wallet in Bitcoins when you request to get a debit card linked to your account. As you can see there is a 3% foreign currency conversion fee, so make sure you have the card set to use the main currency you will be using in order to avoid paying that extra fee unless you go abroad and want to pay with the card.

xapo-debit-card-limits

This table shows what are your Xapo Bitcoin debit card limits, by default once you get your card it will be with the Standard limits applied and these are a bit restricting for the total of both POS terminal purchases and ATM withdraws. After you get the card you can upgrade your status to increase limits, and to do so you need to contact Xapo. This is recommended mostly because it removes the relatively small total limits to the lifetime purchases and ATM withdraws you can do via the card. When you make a purchase or withdraw cash via the Xapo Bitcoin debit card you will immediately see the transaction in your online Bitcoin wallet at Xapo, but that transaction will pretty much list that a certain amount of BTC was sent from your wallet. In order to get extra transaction details about the merchant, how much you’ve paid in a local currency and in the card’s currency you would need to login to your My Choice account that you created when you activated your card.

So our first impressions from the International Debit Card provided by Xapo that is linked to your free online Bitcoin wallet at Xapo are very positive. The card is as easy to be used as any other debit or credit card as long as it is not empty in terms of balance, or in this case if you have some BTC in your wallet. Everything runs smooth and problem free when you pay on a POS terminal or withdraw cash from ATM, what you just need to make sure is that you are familiar with the limits and fees associated with the card to save yourself some possible issues in the future, so make sure you read them carefully. We are going to continue using our Bitcoin debit card for different payments to make sure that there will really be no problems doing various payments with it as we expect it to be. This card is really convenient thing to have in your wallet as it saves you the time and extra trouble of sending Bitcoins from your wallet to an exchange to convert them to USD, EUR or GBP for example and then withdraw them to your bank account that might be linked to a debit card that you can use.


top