Wirex Launching Bitcoin Debit Cards in Europe
New crypto debit cards, with multiple currency accounts in GBP, EUR, USD, and BTC are offered by Wirex in Europe. The first plastic Visa cards were issued on Thursday, according to media reports. The new cards were made available for UK users on March 8. The service should be offered to customers in other EU countries by the end of the month.
Crypto Cards Back in Europe
Cryptocurrency bank Wirex is launching new debit crypto cards for its customers in the European Union. The new generation supports multiple currency accounts and comes with contactless payment functionality, according to a company press release, quoted by crypto media. The first new plastic Visa cards were already issued Thursday, the announcement states.
The redesigned Wirex accounts and the new cards are available in the UK since March 8, the reports say. Users in France, Germany and Italy will be able to order the cards on March 20. The launch date for other EU countries is said to be March 27.
Earlier this week, Wirex Community Manager Raphael Shalaby confirmed successful beta tests, both internal and external, with a number of payment processors. Items have been purchased from merchants like Amazon, using the new Wirex card. “Rollout will start within 14 days on a country by country basis”, Shalaby said in the company’s forum. He added that virtual cards were “days away” and the plastic cards are being manufactured. Their release would take another 5-6 weeks, he said.
Three types of payment cards will be offered by Wirex – a virtual card, a physical one, allowing contactless payments (initially in GBP, later in EUR), and a pre-paid debit card similar to the original Wirex card (available for other currencies). Responding to questions about the pending launch, Raphael Shalaby said he did not have an exact timeframe, but added:
It’s a priority. I can only say it will happen ASAP!
The company’s website reads that users can access their virtual cards immediately after registration, and claiming one is free of charge. Ordering a plastic card currently requires joining a waiting list. According to Wirex Community Manager, people on that list will be prioritized. An order for a plastic card submitted in the UK returned a number close to 57,000.
Wirex cards can be used for cryptocurrency payments, as well as instant exchange between digital coins and fiat money. The company claims it is currently the only provider offering Europeans the opportunity to pay for goods and services by converting cryptocurrency.
“Shopping, purchasing goods on the Internet, and withdrawing funds at an ATM have becoming much easier”, said cofounder and CEO Pavel Matveev, quoted by Russia media. He confirmed the integration of cryptocurrency wallet accounts with contactless Visa debit cards.
Several crypto card issuers ceased operations earlier this year, after Visa Europe put an end to its cooperation with Gibraltar-based payment provider Wavecrest. Visa representatives explained the move with “continued non-compliance with operating rules” and said crypto-fiat card programs in other jurisdictions would not be affected by the termination of Wavecrest’s membership.
Services to Be Offered in Japan, Southeast Asia
The new Wirex cards allow for free and instant bitcoin transfers between account holders, with multisignature bitcoin addresses for improved security. The company says encryption is better now, and merchants will enjoy more freedom of action with reduced risk of fraud. UK residents will be able to use individual e-money accounts with unique numbers for third party payments.
Both plastic and virtual cards can be ordered. They will support 3D secure “Verified by Visa” transactions. “As soon as virtual cards are available, we’ll be able to switch on the buy bitcoin exchange feature”, according to a previous update on the company’s website.
Wirex also says similar proposals are on the way for users in Japan and markets in Southeast Asia. The UK-based crypto bank will introduce its new cards in several stages to ensure stable and secure support. Wirex is among the most popular providers of crypto wallets linked to physical and virtual debit cards.
Do you think more crypto cards will be offered in Europe in the near future? Tell us in the comments section below.
Images courtesy of Shutterstock.
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