All About BTC, LTC, ETH mining as well as other alternative crypto currencies
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Getting and using a Bitcoin Debit Card to spend Bitcoins at places where BTC is not normally accepted as a form of payment is a convenient way to spend your crypto coins, so services that offer such capabilities such as E-Coin are getting more and more user attention. We actually have and are using a physical Bitcoin debit card from for quite a while already, but there are always more new options available such as getting a virtual Bitcoin debit card or a physical one from the E-Coin Bitcoin debit card and multi-sig wallet service. The biggest advantage of this service is that you can get a virtual VISA debit card that is powered by Bitcoin in just a few minutes after you register for the service. Then you just send in Bitcoins to your wallet and transfer them to the card and you can spend them for online purchases from around the world where VISA is accepted. When sending BTC to your E-Coin online wallet you just need to wait for 3 confirmations before you can actually use the coins you have sent, so it takes less time than the usual 6 confirmations. At a later time you can either upgrade your virtual card to a physical one, or get another physical card should you need so and it will be shipped to you with either regular or express service.
You can request to get a Bitcoin debit card is either EUR, USD or GBP as a currency. Getting a virtual debit card you normally need to pay $3 USD, and for a physical card $17 USD if you wan the card shipped to you via Royal Mail with standard shipping or $50 USD for express shipping with DHL. The virtual Bitcoin debit card issues to you will be available in a couple of minutes and you can start using it for online payments, while a physical card will take some time to be delivered to you and then you need to activate it before it can be used. There are multiple of ways available for you to pay the fee required to get your Bitcoin debit card such as with Bitcoin from your account, through PayPal, with an existing bank card etc. Once you get your card you would have some limits on the amount you can spend through the card and if you want to increase the limits you will need to go through a verification process to extend the limits. For an EUR Bitcoin debit card you start with a maximum total ATM withdraw limit of 1000 EUR and you can remove this limit once you pass the verification process, there are no limits on POS or Online payments, though the total maximum Bitcoin you can load in the card is the equivalent of 2500 EUR, again removing this limit once you verify. The standard limits are more than enough for you to try out the card and decide for yourself if it is something you want to keep using, so that you will provide identity verification to increase your card’s limits. Do note that one thing specific to the E-Coin Bitcoin debit card is that normally the balance you have in the online wallet is not directly available in the card to be used, you need to “load” the card with the desired amount that you need spending. This way you can get an extra level of security if you loose the card or it gets stolen.
Here are the Bank/VISA fees associated with the Bitcoin debit card regardless if it is virtual or a physical one, the fees are pretty reasonable and the only thing that you need to be more careful with is the “Foreign Transaction Fee” of 3% that you will be charged if the transaction is not in the card’s currency. This means that if you have an EUR card and you purchase something in Euro there will be no extra fees for you, but if you withdraw 100 USD from that EUR card from an ATM you will have to pay 2.25 EUR fee for the ATM transaction as well as 3% extra fee to convert your EUR balance to USD. This foreign transaction fee is something that is available with other similar products like the Bitcoin debit card from E-Coin, you just need to be aware of it when using the card.
Here are the default limits you get for the Bitcoin debit cards either virtual or physical that you can get. The limits for the Unverified do not require any personal documents from the user meaning that you cans tart using your Bitcoin debit card immediately after you register and request the card (for virtual) or as soon as you get the physical card and you activate it. In order to increase the limits of the Bitcoin debit card you need to provide identity documents that must be verified according to AML and KYC regulations – scanned ID and proof of address is required. Once you get verified the limits of the card are pretty high and you should not have any more trouble using the card daily even for more significant amounts.
We have already got a virtual VISA Bitcoin debit card in EURO currency from the service and were pretty pleasantly surprised how fast the card was available for us to use, of course limited to doing only online payments. We have since then requested the virtual Bitcoin debit card to be upgraded to a plastic one and are currently waiting for the physical card to arrive. Meanwhile we can use our virtual card just fine and once we get the plastic card we need to activate it, making the virtual card unavailable anymore as the physical card should be with a different number than the virtual one. We are going to share some more feedback from the service once we ge the physical Bitcoin debit card from E-Coin, but so far we are pretty happy with the service. So if you are in need of a way to spend Bitcoins in a more traditional way with a bank card in places where BTC is nor directly accepted, then you might want to give the service a try.