It's been something that I've been meaning to do for quite some time, but I finally set up the VISA debit card being offered from Binance. The VISA debit card is powered by Swipe, a company that was previously bought by Binance. It's a very simple set up from the webpage or from within the app (if you can find it... the Binance ecosystem is best described a little bit bloated at the moment!).
You do have a number of things to read through, and to check any little fine print details for the VISA card. Mostly it is pretty core sorts of things, although... there is a fine distinction between fees being charged by Binance which is advertised as zero... and any other fees that might be charged by Swipe. I have to say that the fee schedule is not totally clear, unlike with my experience with the MCO VISA card issued by Crypto.com.
Anyway, one of the key steps for the adoption of cryptocurrencies will be the ease with which it can actually be spent. No point having magic internet money if it can't be converted into tangible goods! I've had a decent experience with the MCO VISA debit card already, so I wasn't in much of a hurry to get a second VISA debit card. However, I'm starting to see a bit more limitations with the Crypto.com ecosystem... and Binance is a much larger exchange that I actually use!
Well... let's just say that in comparison to the MCO experience that I previously wrote about, the Binance experience is... functional! No fuss, no flair... you asked for a card, you get a card.
When you enable the card product on the app/website, you are immediately issued with a temporary virtual card. As soon as the physical card arrives, you have to immediately shift to that one by authorising it. This means that the virtual card is disabled... so, don't do any recurring purchases until the physical card arrives... unless you feel like re-doing them all again!
Delivery time was fast... much less than the 2 weeks that I was expecting. More like 4-5 days?
This is the only piece of paperwork that came with the card. Like I said, highly functional... you asked for a VISA debit card, here it is! This in comparison to the luxurious unboxing of the MCO card, and the huge backstory and "personal" letter from the CEO. Honestly, I don't really care too much for the fanfare...
However, the card is a pretty run of the mill plastic card in black, with some non-raised embossing for the name and numbers. Think along the lines of your regular bank or credit card... only cheaper feeling and looking... again, functionality over design.
At the moment, it is possible to "feed" the debit card with your local fiat currency (EUR in my case) and five crypto tokens (BUSD, SXP, BNB, BTC and ETH). For my particular use case, I prefer to keep my balance in the local currency that I'm actually purchasing goods with. I spending volatile assets (SXP, BNB, BTC and ETH)... always wondering if I should have held or spent earlier.
Meanwhile, BUSD could be an option as the Binance issued stablecoin... however, I purchase things denominated in EUR... so there is that annoying EUR/USD exchange rate that I have to keep track of... no thanks.
So, in the end, I have a crypto-fiat VISA debit card that I keep denominated in EUR. Thankfully, there are EUR trading pairs on Binance, so I can also pull money out of trading if needed, or deposit fiat as required. I generally try to not have the card loaded with that much... just some petty cash for purchases, and then if I need to make a big purchase, I will load it with exactly the amount required.
The assets that you transfer into the Card vault are for use with the card only. They can easily be transferred back and forth to the spot wallet at no cost. It's a really good idea to have the various balances quarantined from each other.
There is an auto top-up option, which will draw on assets from your spot wallet if you run out of balances in the card wallet. Probably not a good idea... stay disciplined and only spend what you have... and only load deliberately if you need to purchase something.
The order of the spend is also user defined. I set mine to spend in order of fiat through stablecoin through to volatile assets in order of holding desires. Although, in practice, I don't think I will ever use anything other than the EUR option. I do wish there was a way to disable the other options... it doesn't matter, as they are constantly at zero... but it bugs me!
There is a cashback denominated in BNB that is paid straight into your card wallet. The exact amount depends on your BNB holdings, but it is nice to get a little bit back with each spend. Unfortunately for me, the VISA network is less common in stores than the MAESTRO network... so, it is hard to use the card in physical stores like for the supermarket shopping. So, mostly online use in that case.
I know that it is possible to use workarounds like Google Pay or Paypal to link the card to these services, so that it doesn't matter if the merchant takes VISA... however, the functionality a bit off in The Netherlands at the moment. Big poop... I will have to research it further.
To view details of the card (full number and security details) you will need to go through a second factor authorisation... annoyingly, it is email only with a 60 second code on it... I don't know why they can't take the authenticator. Still, once you have the physical card, you don't need any of that... except to reveal the PIN... and trust me, that is something that you want to know BEFORE you hit the cash register!
So, good first impressions so far... aside from the hyper-cheap feeling card. In the coming week, I will have a head to head review of the two VISA debit cards that I own, the Binance and the Crypto.com! Stay tuned!
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