Wirex Debit Card Review
Wirex is following the lead of many companies when it comes to cryptocurrency. It is blending traditional banking services with blockchain technology to allow individuals more practical access to digital money. The Bitcoin debit card issued by Wirex can be used worldwide, and it reduces the cost of money transfers. Blockchain technology adds flexibility, making this card a perfect choice for those who travel often to different parts of the world. It is also useful for freelancers who are paid with Bitcoin. WIREX is as of August 2018 regulated by the FCA – a globally recognized and respected financial authority. That means more protection than ever before for your rights, personal information and funds – and official recognition of their ongoing commitment to client security and operational integrity.
About WireX - Wirex.com
Some may be more familiar with Wirex as the former E-coin. The company began a massive rebranding effort in 2016 but has been in business since 2014. It is based in London. The old E-coin website now redirects traffic to the new Wirex platform.
Wirex was founded by Pavel Mateev, an IT developer with more than ten years of industry experience. Mateev has been responsible for IT projects for investment banks in many parts of the world and is respected for his expertise. The financial expertise at the company comes from Dmitry Lazarichev. The native of Russia worked in consulting for many years helping firms like Solid, and he ultimately started his own business in the UK as a wood biomass importer. Georgy Sokolov brings sales experience to the Wirex brand. He has experience working with one of Russia’s largest cargo airline companies and has assisted other companies on an international scale.
E-coin/Wirex was built by these three entrepreneurs from scratch, and its development was very fast. The first version of the platform took just four months to get online. After two years, the company decided to rebrand itself as Wirex and take advantage of improvements in blockchain technology.
Services offered by Wirex
The primary service of Wirex is offering debit cards that are backed by Bitcoin. The first is a plastic card that carries the Mastercard logo. This card functions like a standard debit card and has a chip and a PIN. The second is a virtual Visa card which can be used for online shopping. The base currencies available to users are the USD, EUR, and GBP. The cards can be used anywhere that Visa or Mastercard are accepted. This accounts for about 99% coverage throughout the world. Many ATM machines also accept these branded debit cards for cash withdrawals.
The citizens of 130 countries are permitted to order a Wirex debit card. The standard shipping of the cards is somewhat slow compared to other providers. It can take about 21 days for the card to be received by those in the EU. For other countries, eight weeks is standard. There is no charge for standard shipping of the card. There is an option for express delivery, but it is pricey. For $33 USD the card can be delivered in just a few days to the EU and within a week to other countries.
Like so many other reputable cryptocurrency debit card companies, Wirex is unable to provide service to residents of the US or India. There are also quite a few Arabic countries which are not permitted to order a card.
Wirex has made it very easy for users to convert fiat currency to Bitcoin. They have done this by creating an app for Android and iOS devices. Users can download the app for free from Google Play and the App Store. Once installed on a device, just a single click is required to initiate a conversion. The app boasts two-factor authentication. A password must be entered in addition to a code which is generated when the app is used. This provides more security for the funds that users keep in their Wirex accounts.
Loading a Wirex Debit Card
There are multiple ways that Bitcoin can be purchased and added to the debit card. Wirex will sell Bitcoin directly to users who wish to link a bank account. It is also possible to make loads with PayPal and other payment processors, but doing this requires an additional fee.
Loads to the card can be tracked in real-time with the Wirex app. The app provides notifications when transfers have been completed, and most transfers are instant thanks to the use of blockchain technology.
As of July 2018, you can now also use XRP to load to the card and spend. I guess that makes it the first XRP debit card.
Wirex Fees and Limits
The cost of a Wirex Bitcoin debit card is not excessive. Users must pay only $17 USD for the plastic card and just $3 USD for the virtual card. There is a nominal monthly service fee of $1 USD which is automatically deducted each month that the card is active. The cost of loading the card varies depending on the method that is used. Bank transfers cost $3 USD (2.75 EUR or 2 GBP), but transfers conducted by payment processors range from 2-3% of the total. There is also a minimum fee charged.
Load limits are also determined by the method used to top-up. A Bitcoin wallet can be used to load a total of five times each day. The minimum load is $10 USD and the maximum is $2,500 USD. Other methods of loading the card have lower limits. Those using a bank account or a payment processor will be limited to two loads each day. A maximum of $5,000 per day can be loaded with a bank account. Loads from payment processors are limited to $500 USD each day.
Purchases are unlimited when made through POS terminals. This applies to both physical retailers and online retailers. Users can make a maximum of two ATM withdrawals per day from the card, and the max amount that can be withdrawn is $2,000 USD. Unlike some other Bitcoin debit cards, there is no lifetime limit for withdrawals.
There are two options for users with the Wirex card. An anonymous, unverified option is available. It should be noted, however, that those who choose this option will find the functionality of the card severely limited. This is the standard for companies which are legitimate. There is simply too much trouble that can be encountered by issuing an anonymous card. Therefore, Wirex imposes a lifetime limit of $100/€100/£80 for withdrawals. Enforcing this strict limit is the company’s way of encouraging individuals to verify their account. There is also a maximum load of $250/€250/£200. Clearly, an anonymous card is only offered as a temporary solution for individuals until they can complete the verification process.
No reduced features or limits are placed on those who are willing to verify. Users are asked to provide proof of their identity as well as proof of their address. Government-issued identification must contain the individual’s full name, date of birth, and a photo. It must also have an expiration date but be valid at the time of verification. Two address verification documents are generally required, and these must have been issued within the past three months. Acceptable documents include bank statements or utility bills. It is also important that the documents be submitted in English. Otherwise, users must provide a notarized translation. A positive here is that Wirex is able to verify most accounts within three business days. The verification process is carried out by the bank which issues the debit cards.
There is a lifetime limit on ATM withdrawals for verified users. This limit is $2,500 USD. We find this to be a bit extreme, and it is not seen at other debit card providers. It seems to us that verified users should not be limited to lifetime withdrawals limits, especially one that is so low. It doesn’t take very long to go through $2,500 in withdrawals.
Whenever the Wirex card is used internationally, there is a 3% foreign exchange fee charged. This is standard in the industry. Something we would like to see is real-time Bitcoin exchange rates provided on the Wirex website. These were available on the old E-coin site but have yet to be integrated to the Wirex platform. Still, our experience is that the exchange rates fall withing the bid/ask range of most popular exchanges.
Wirex Service and Support
The support team at Wirex can be reached by contacting [email protected]. It is also possible to reach out to the Wirex staff on multiple social media platforms. These include:
A lot of social media channels adds legitimacy to a business. It is pleasing to see that Wirex interacts with the community of users on a regular basis.
The appearance of the Wirex website is very professional. It has obviously been designed by experienced developers. The website is also compatible with mobile devices and can be viewed easily on smartphones and tablets.
Users will find a lot of information on using Bitcoin debit cards when they visit the Wirex website. There is a nice FAQ which streamlines information and answers most questions that users may have. It is also possible to ask questions via Facebook, and there is a contact form which can be used to submit support tickets. Most users report that their tickets and support requests were handled in a timely fashion. It is obviously a goal of this company to offer users exceptional customer service.
There are a few things missing from the website that would be nice to see like the exchange rate for Bitcoin. Perhaps in time they will add this since they had it on the older E-coin website. The feedback found online for Wirex is overwhelmingly positive. Support is available 24/7. About the only complaint one will encounter is that the delivery time for the card can be very slow.
Our View of Wirex
It is nice to review a Bitcoin debit card provider in a positive light. Wirex gets high marks in almost every area. What we really like is that the company has debit cards that are branded by both Visa and Mastercard, smartphone apps, and no scam reports. The company is transparent about its founders and works hard to satisfy the needs of its customers.
We award Wirex 4.50 out of 5 stars on our rating scale for cryptocurrency debit cards.
Supports all major currencies
Great customer service
Regulated by the FCA
The card delivery time is long
Some information is missing from the Wirex website like Bitcoin exchange rates
No cards for US citizens