European Bitcoin exchange and payment processor SpectroCoin launched a debit card earlier this week that can be loaded with digital currency and spent at anywhere major debit and credit cards are accepted.
A press release by London-headquartered SpectroCoin said the debit card can be issued to residents of 150 countries and is accepted at merchants around the globe.
The startup, which also has offices in Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia, is focused on bolstering bitcoin adoption in Eastern Europe, a region largely overlooked by most digital currency companies. The debit card is SpectroCoin’s latest effort to make spending bitcoin easy in the region, something the startup holds is crucial to the long-term success of the digital currency.
“For SpectroCoin users, it means broader spectrum of withdrawal options, as they are no longer dependent on their bank card and do not have to wait for wire transfer to be able to withdraw cash, which means quicker and cheaper link between bitcoin and cash for SpectroCoin users,” SpectroCoin co-founder and CEO Vytautas Karalevičius told Bitcoin Magazine via email. “It is a step towards being one-stop shop for bitcoin.”
Fees and spending limits
To order the card, simply go to the dashboard of your SpectroCoin account and click on the ‘Order Debit Card’ section toward the bottom of the screen. From there you will be taken to a screen which will prompt you to fill in an order sheet; shipping the card to you takes 4-7 days and costs €7. After you receive the card, you can manage your card form SpectroCoin account.
For point-of-sale purchases, no fees are charged but a one percent fee is tacked on when loading the card with bitcoin. Using the card to withdraw cash through an ATM in United Kingdom costs €2.25; in any other country there is a €2.75 fee.
The maximum loading limit and card balance is €10,000 for verified users; €1,000 is the maxium cash withdrawing limit. To get verified, a card-holder must provide a form of ID and a utility bill. For unverified users, the limits of are one-fourth that of verified users.
SpectroCoin was unwilling to share who issued the card when asked by Bitcoin Magazine, but did say it was issued by a company in Gibraltar, an overseas British territory south of Spain, which is regulated by the country’s Financial Services Commission. Gibraltar is part of the European Union, and as such local financial companies are also regulated by E.U. governing bodies.
SpectroCoin’s announcement comes a week after Bitcoin Magazine reported on another European exchange, BitStamp, which released a debit card as well. Their card is similar to the Baltic startup’s, including the fees and spending limits, but BitStamps’ also allowed for users to receive a digital debit card.