How to Use Crypto to Make Purchases With a Debit Card

Make it easier to spend the cryptocurrency you own IRL.

The cryptocurrency you purchase -- whether it's ethereum, bitcoin or another digital coin -- typically lives in a wallet. It sits idle there until you transfer it to another account, spend it on NFTs (or other items purchasable via crypto) or convert the money into government-issued currency, such as US dollars, and then withdraw it to deposit it into your bank account.

However, with the growing interest in cryptocurrency the last few years, hundreds of millions of people have crypto that they may want to spend, but don't know how. 

That's where crypto debit cards come in. They let you use the cryptocurrency in your digital wallet on purchases at grocery stores, gas stations and other retail outlets.

If you own cryptocurrency and want to spend it in the real world, here's what you need to know about getting your hands on a crypto debit card.

A crypto debit card is much like your regular debit card, but instead of being connected to your bank account, it's tied to a digital wallet that contains your cryptocurrency. 

With each transaction, the cryptocurrency you own is automatically converted into whatever government-issued currency the retailer accepts, such as the US dollar, to complete the purchase.

What are the pros and cons of using crypto debit cards?

Although crypto debit cards help you spend your cryptocurrency to make purchases, keep a few things in mind before applying for one.

If you're set on getting a crypto debit card, you must first create an account with a cryptocurrency exchange or a digital wallet and then either transfer cryptocurrency into your account or purchase it. 

Know that there are wait lists to get a card. Once you meet the setup requirements, including verifying your identity, you can apply for the card. It can then take weeks or even months to arrive, depending on the size of the list.

Which crypto debit cards should I consider?

Choosing a cryptocurrency exchange or wallet depends on several factors, such as the type of cryptocurrency you own or cash-back rewards. Here are a few of the biggest ones:

Coinbase, one of the largest crypto exchanges in the US, offers the Coinbase Card, a Visa debit card that lets you use your crypto assets to make purchases in person and online. This card is currently available to select US customers., another cryptocurrency exchange, has a variety of debit card options offering different crypto rewards -- depending on how much you're willing to pay. 

Two other crypto debit cards to consider are the Binance Visa Card and the recently announced Robinhood Cash Card. 

If you're interested in earning crypto rewards, you can also explore crypto credit cards, which allow you to earn rewards back on everyday purchases in the form of cryptocurrency.

Can I use my debit card from a major bank with crypto?

Right now, debit cards from Bank of America, Chase, Citibank and Wells Fargo, for example, don't handle cryptocurrency. You can, however, use your crypto debit card at one of their ATMs, but expect to pay fees if you do.

New to cryptocurrency? Here's an explainer on buying and selling bitcoin, as well as a guide on how to keep your cryptocurrency and money safe.

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