Crypto cards for non-EU residents
Image: For non-EU residents, the latest regulation storm seems to be a sh1tshorm. Storm image via Pexels.
As you probably know, most cryptocurrency debit card providers stopped by 15th October 2017 servicing customers who reside outside of the European Territories. These are basically the European Economic Area and a few additional places. People who live outside of these areas get either refunded, or their accounts simply get suspended – that includes EU citizens who don’t permanently reside in the EU.
The Damage Report
Which cryptocurrency VISA card issuers stopped servicing non-EU residents by 15th October 2017?
|Company||Business Location||Old Card Issuer||Changes||Refund|
|Cryptopay||UK||mychoicecorporate.com (WaveCrest Holdings Ltd)||“Unfortunately, our card issuer has stopped maintaining cards for our non-EU users.”||Free card replacement in EUR for affected customers with promo code
|Bitwala||Germany||WaveCrest Holdings Ltd||“According to new EU regulation, prepaid cards are only available for EU residents.”||?|
|Wirex||UK||mychoicecorporate.com (WaveCrest Holdings Ltd)||Stopped servicing non-EU customers.||No refund, free replacement card for non-EU people is in the works.|
|Shakepay||Canada||mychoicecorporate.com (WaveCrest Holdings Ltd)||Stopped servicing non-EU residents. No new cards will be issued for non-EU customers.||Request a refund|
|Xapo||USA||mychoicecorporate.com (WaveCrest Holdings Ltd)||Stopped servicing non-EU residents.||No refund but orders were suspended soon enough.|
So you see the problem. We have a f**k load of cryptocurrency debit card providers with differently crafted wow much shiny landing pages but they all rely on the same card issuer. Such clever, muh diversification.
The good news is if you find a prepaid card provider that uses a different issuer you should be at least temporarily able to go around the regulation that has hit us on October 15th.
Bad news is that while the above regulation was related to VISA cards only, MasterCard introduced something similar recently. A representative from worldcore.eu, a Czech company that provides MasterCard cryptocurrency debit cards, said: “Based on recently released conditions by MasterCard, we can only issue cards for SEPA region countries and their residents.”
In the case of Cryptopay in particular, the new issuer is PSI Pay Ltd. from the UK which is a MasterCard issuer. PSI Pay Ltd. is authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) under the Electronic Money Regulations 2011 (FCA register number 900011) for the issuing of electronic money throughout Europe, however it doesn’t imply anything for non-EU residents although Cryptopay uses PSI Pay to serve precisely those customers who reside outside of Europe. – If you do a bit of research you will eventually come across this: http://www.psi-payscam.com/fullstory/ – PSI Pay Ltd. is apparently closely related to a company that stole their customer’s funds and whose bank accounts and domains were seized. Author of the one-page linked above claims to be owed $100,000.
And, before you flee to the next safe haven, you will find very recent and very heated scam accusations regarding worldcore.eu too, though. Additionally – for those who want to be looking for red flags – both Cryptopay (partnering with PSI Pay) and Worldcore started ICOs recently.
So, a word of caution: Localbitcoins doesn’t sound so risky after all, does it?
Which cryptocurrency debit cards might work for non-EU residents?
Not many, and these are untested:
- Bitstamp debit card – Issued via Astropay. Not available for US customers but should be available elsewhere.
- BitPay debit card for US residents only. Cards for US residents are issued via Metropolitan Commercial Bank bu outside of US the issuance is done via WaveCrest as with the rest of the pack, so these are currently only available in the Europan Territories.
- Coinizy card seems to be unaffected by the regulation
ANX Intl, Hong Kong – Cards issued via mBank (Poland).
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About the author
Written by KarlVonBahnhof
KarlVonBahnhof also on Reddit, Chris belongs to the crypto trader class of 2013. Located in the Americas most of the time, you're most likely to meet at r/BitcoinMarkets though.
Opinions are author's own.