I’d been planning to write a CryptoPay review since back in September last year, when I first started using one of their cryptocurrency debit cards. But then something very unexpected happened.
In early January 2018, after I’d made using CryptoPay an integral part of trading cryptocurrency as a side gig, my CryptoPay debit card was suddenly blocked and withdrawn.
It didn’t just happen to me; Everyone with a CryptoPay card went through the same thing, as did the customers of numerous other companies who issued debit cards you could “load up” using Bitcoin. WaveCrest, the company who issued the cards, was instructed by Visa to shut them all down. It was a scary moment for all of us who had money tucked away on these cards.
So, you may wonder why I’ve decided to still write a CryptoPay review? Well, I’m a firm believer in “credit where its due.” CryptoPay’s handling of the whole incident was extremely professional. My money came back to me very quickly, and I therefore feel this is a company that I can trust. And I’ve also since come to realise that CryptoPay offers other services that remain useful to me as a casual Bitcoin trader, even though (for now at least) the company is unable to issue crypto debit cards.
What is CryptoPay?
CryptoPay is a European company offering services to people who trade Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. Its main service is to issue debit cards that people can load up by converting Bitcoin into GB Pounds, Euros or US Dollars. This can then be used to spend on goods and services, or fed into an ATM to withdraw real cash.
It is important to note, however, that at the time of writing, CryptoPay CANNOT issue any debit cards. Despite this, there are still compelling reasons to have to CryptoPay account, as I will explain in a moment.
Since I started casually investing in cryptocurrency, I’ve written a bit about it on HomeWorkingClub as it makes for a fun side gig for us freelancers. A key part of trading Bitcoin and other currencies is having ways to turn profits into “real money.” Having a debit card for this purpose is ideal – and it worked beautifully for a while. Hopefully the debit cards will be back soon, but there are other ways to use CryptoPay as part of a crypto trading strategy.
CryptoPay Review: What Services are Available?
Even though you cannot currently get a cryptopay card, CryptoPay offers a range of other services, including:
- An online Bitcoin wallet to store Bitcoins.
- The ability to purchase Bitcoin using a card in a range of countries in Europe and beyond (but NOT in the USA).
- The ability to convert Bitcoin to GB Pounds, Euros or US Dollars and store the fiat currency online.
- The ability for European users to withdraw funds via SEPA bank transfer.
It’s the last service on the list that has been of most use to me as a way to “exit” profits from cryptocurrency trading.
CryptoPay Limits and Fees
As with all services that allow people to trade in Bitcoin, there are certain limits and fees imposed. These are how CryptoPay makes its money.
There’s no point, at this stage, in me detailing the fees involved in loading and using a CryptoPay debit card, as these are unavailable at this stage, and the fees could be subject to change once the company starts to issue cards again. However, for the purposes of this CryptoPay review, here are the key fees and limits in place at the time of writing.
- Purchases of Bitcoin using a credit card are limited to €350 per day and €500 per month – so this service is more suited to casual crypto traders than high rollers!
- CryptoPay charges 4% on these card purchases.
- A “miner fee” of 0.005 BTC is charged when sending Bitcoin out of CryptoPay. This is equivalent to just over US$5 at the time of writing, although this is a volatile sum in real money based on Bitcoin’s value at the time. According to CryptoPay’s website, this fee is “temporarily increased due to the blockchain high load.” It’s fair to say that CryptoPay has taken some online flack for this particular fee.
- Outgoing SEPA bank transfers are limited to €1000 per day.
- The fees on SEPA bank transfers are tiny, and have always been around €1 in my experience.
While discussing fees, it’s also worth considering the kind of exchange rates CryptoPay work on. Often, companies in financial services make a substantial profit creaming off money by offering dreadful exchange rates. (Yes PayPal, I’m looking at you).
As far as I can work out, CryptoPay doesn’t exploit customers with their rates. As a snapshot at the time of writing, CryptoPay was selling one Bitcoin at €8773.92 when GDAX showed the price at €8790, so in Bitcoin terms it’s a decent market rate, especially as prices vary from exchange to exchange. However, that 4% card purchase fee is pretty hefty.
When transferring money to a bank account via SEPA, I’m potentially subject to a “double whammy” of fees, because I have a UK Sterling account, which gives my bank the chance to make a margin on the currency transfer as well. However, when withdrawing €1000, I’ve found the Sterling amount that eventually hits my bank is typically “only” around £20 less than the amount I see when I look on xe.com.
This may seem like a lot, but fees like this are part and parcel of cryptocurrency trading, and I’ve experienced far worse. In fact, I’ve experienced far worse in a bureau de change! Coupled with the tiny fee CryptoPay charge for these withdrawals, I find these withdrawals a sustainable way to pull money “out” of the world of Bitcoin.
CryptoPay Review: Service
Service is where, in my experience, CryptoPay excels.
It wouldn’t be right not to mention what happened when CryptoPay had all of its cards withdrawn. I’ve looked into this is detail, and it appears that WaveCrest, the Gibraltar based firm issuing the debit cards, was at fault – and not CryptoPay.
With this in mind, the company dealt with everything admirably. From what I saw, they worked tirelessly all weekend in the aftermath, doing all they could to put everything right whilst batting off abuse on social media. Despite, at one point, thinking that getting my money back would be a long and arduous process, it was back in my CryptoPay Sterling account within 48 hours.
Everything about CryptoPay just works – and it’s sad that the cards were withdrawn as mine worked flawlessly – from checking my balance on the app, to loading the card with funds, spending the money in shops, and withdrawing from cash machines in multiple countries. However, it’s pointless to fixate on this when the cards are no longer available.
When my card was withdrawn and I found myself needing another way to get my money “out” of CryptoPay, I turned to the SEPA bank withdrawal option. I was delighted how easy it was, and despite a warning that transfers could take several days, the money tended to hit my UK account on the same day, if I requested the transfer early in the morning, or by the next day if I requested it later.
As anyone who follows the crypto markets will know, losses are more the order of the day than profits right now! However, when I (hopefully) have profits again, CryptoPay’s withdrawal route will remain a key part of how I move the money around.
CryptoPay Customer Support
CryptoPay’s support team deserve a mention here too. There is online chat on their website, and I find I usually get thorough responses within minutes rather than hours. Even in the midst of their debit card disaster, they still kept of top of support requests, which I think is admirable.
I actually contacted support before writing this CryptoPay review, as I thought it would be interesting to find out when CryptoPay debit cards would be available again.
Unfortunately, they couldn’t give me a definite date, but they said the following:
“We are actively negotiating with the new card issuer at the moment, but I cannot tell you when exactly the new cards are available. There are still some technical changes and practicalities left before we launch it. We are hard at work to make things work as soon as possible, so stay tuned :)”
As soon as that day comes, I WILL be ordering another CryptoPay card – I really miss it.
An Important (Non) Disclosure
Sometimes when I review products, I am accused of being a “shill” for a company if I say anything positive about it. I always find this a tad offensive as I pride myself on integrity and would never sell my praise.
However, in this case, I can put any of this nonsense aside right now! While CryptoPay does have a referral scheme, I cannot earn anything from it if they’re not selling debit cards – so I can therefore assure any cynics that serving up false praise would earn me nothing at all!
CryptoPay Review Conclusion
In the world of cryptocurrency, there are dozens of “fly by night” companies and outright scams. However, when you’ve seen a company deal with – let’s face it – a pretty enormous crisis, and come out the other end leaving their customers with a feeling of trust, that’s something to be celebrated.
As I’ve said, I miss my CryptoPay debit card, and hope very much that the company soon manages to work with a better card issuer to start offering them to customers again. I’ll certainly be in the queue.
- Great customer care
- A well-designed and functional website
- SEPA transfers inexpensive, fast and reliable
- Fees are a mixed bag, and some are considerable
- No debit cards currently available
- Of no real use to customers in the USA
- The company should be more up-front on their website about the fact they’re not currently issuing cards
- To check out CryptoPay click here.
- To read about my initial experiences trading cryptocurrency click here.
- To start dabbling in Bitcoin trading, you can receive $10 worth of free Bitcoin when you sign up and buy $100 worth using this Coinbase link.