Looking to buy Bitcoin with a prepaid card? Prepaid cards are somewhat different than normal debit cards, because they’re typically not linked to bank accounts. Many banks provide overdraft facilities for traditional debit cards meaning that you can, in effect, use them as credit cards.
What is a prepaid card?
Prepaid cards, also known as everyday cards, work in a similar way to a pay-as-you-go mobile phone. You load them with cash when you first buy them and top them up when the cash starts to run out. Unlike a credit card, a major advantage of a prepaid card is you can’t run up debts on them. They only allow you to buy goods or services with the money you actually own. This makes them a useful budgeting tool and it means you don’t have to go through a credit checking process when you apply for one.
Another benefit of not having a credit facility is that if you fall victim to a scam, your losses are limited to the amount of money on your card. Prepaid cards that have the MasterCard or Visa logo on them can be used anywhere that accepts these card scheme networks.
Buy Bitcoin with Prepaid Card
A bank transfer is generally considered the best way to buy crypto because the fees are cheaper and it carries less risk than paying by card. For some people, however, paying by card is an easier and more convenient option. Using a card enables you to buy crypto instantly, whereas with a bank transfer it can take around three to five days for the crypto to reach your account.
Many crypto exchanges accept traditional debit and credit card payments, but these have their drawbacks. Buying cryptocurrency with a credit card is an especially risky strategy. According to a survey by LendEDU, more than a fifth of investors who used a credit card to buy Bitcoin didn’t pay off their purchases straight away.
Planning to use profits from Bitcoin – or any other cryptocurrency – to pay off a card balance is risky because there is a high chance the value of Bitcoin will plummet. Equally, many banks offer overdraft facilities alongside debit cards, which means you can essentially use them like a credit card by borrowing from the bank.
A prepaid card enables you to buy crypto with a card but without the risk of spending more money than you have and being unable to pay it back.
Platforms that you can Buy Bitcoin with Prepaid Card
CoinMama was established in 2013 in Israel and now operates out of Slovakia in the EU. It was one of the first exchanges to provide cryptocurrency purchases via debit and credit cards. Prepaid cards will also work with the service as long as they are Visa/Mastercard supported. All of the major coins like Bitcoin, Ethereum and Ripple are supported, including some alternatives like Cardano, Qtum, and Ethereum classic.
- User-friendly for beginners
- Excellent customer support
- Multi-language support
- Payment options
- Available in over 220 countries
- No cryptocurrency selling options available, only purchases
- Expensive trade (5.9%) and card fees (5%)
- Bank transfers limited to Eurozone countries
Coinbase – Buy Bitcoin with Prepaid Card
Coinbase is a well-established name in the crypto space and has been operating since 2012 out of the US. The company is heavily-regulated, which may concern some users who value their privacy. They do, however, provide good options when it comes to payment cards.
The fees are also noticeably lower here than with CoinMama, which is a distinct advantage if you plan to buy on a regular basis. Coinbase is in the process of adding to their list of cryptocurrencies, which is also a good sign. Support for lesser-known options like ZeroX and Basic Attention Token have recently been added.
- User-friendly for beginners
- Instant buy feature
- Reasonable trade (± 1%) and card fees (3.99%)
- FDIC insured
- Country support
- Customer support
- Account censorship
CEX – Buy Bitcoin with Prepaid Card
CEX is a European exchange that operates out of the financial capital of London. They’ve been around since 2013 and have become known as one of the cheapest places to purchase crypto when paying by card. Available currencies include Bitcoin, Dash, Ethereum, Ripple, ZCash, and Stellar.
Many enthusiasts are attracted to the lower card fees found on CEX. Unfortunately, they only cater in Dollars, Pounds, Euros, and Rubles right now, which means you’ll have to pay additional conversion costs if you’re transferring with another fiat currency.
- User-friendly for beginners
- Low trade (± 0.25%) and card fees (± 3.5%)
- Good exchange rates
- Customer support is responsive
- Help center can be confusing
- High instant buy/sell fee (± 7%)
- US clients not accepted
LocalBitcoins – Buy Bitcoin with Prepaid Card
LocalBitcoins is different from the exchanges mentioned above as it’s more of a peer-to-peer service. The company was created in Finland in 2012. There are a whole host of alternative payment options including things like iDEAL, PayPal, Western Union, and Amazon gift cards to name a few.
You’ll have to consider security with any physical payment method, so it’s best to stick to prepaid cards where serial numbers can be transferred electronically. It’s highly recommended to start with smaller transfers so you get used to the process before going big. There is also an escrow service to mediate between buyers and sellers in the event of a dispute.
- No limits on transfers
- Available in many countries with local currency support
- Many payment options
- Escrow service
- Flat 1% fee on buys and sells
- High spreads – buyers and sellers set the rates and are often not in line with rates on centralized exchanges
- Reported cases of fraud
- Low liquidity – there may not be that many buyers/sellers in your region
- Need to consider safety when trading in person
Paxful is another peer-to-peer marketplace that connects buyers with sellers. The number of payment options is quite remarkable, even including such prepaid cards as the Google Play Gift Card, eBay Gift Card, or a PlayStation Network Gift Card.
Just like LocalBitcoins, Paxful is widely available and allows exchange in your local currency to simplify trade. At this time they only support Bitcoin. For more details take a look at our step by step guide and review of the Paxful exchange.
- Only sellers pay transactions fees (1%)
- An extremely wide variety of payment options
- Good reputation and customer support
- Escrow and moderation service
- Poor exchange rates – prices set by buyers and sellers
- Low liquidity on some cards – may take a while before you find a buyer/seller
- Higher potential for scammers
Using a prepaid card isn’t the cheapest way of buying cryptocurrency, but it’s an appealing option for those seeking a fast, simple, and convenient method of making purchases without spending more money than you own.
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