During our quest to look for more Bitcoin debit cards to compare to one another, I stumbled across a post on the Bitcointalk forums talking about E-Coin. My first thought was that this was a debit card tied to some new (scammy) altcoin, but it turned out to be far more impressive than that. E-Coin not only offers Bitcoin debit cards , but they are also available to ship right now. No more two-to-three month waiting list, huzzah!
E-Coin : A Very Brief Introduction
E-Coin’s headquarters are located in London,England, which meant it was only a short trip for them to attend the Bitcoin Expo 2015, where we attended their startup presentation. Most of their efforts are currently focused on the Bitcoin debit card (see below), but there are plans in motion to expand their range of services in the near future, including a mobile application and Instant ID verification.
Note from the author : In an upcoming interview with E-Coin, we will try to find out a bit more about the people behind the scenes. If you have any specific questions for the team, just leave them in a comment below!
The E-Coin Bitcoin Debit Card
This is perhaps the most important aspect of e-Coin’s business at this point in time. While there are similar offerings available in order to get your hands on a Bitcoin debit card, you either have to wait a long time to receive it, or it might just not be available in your country (yet). None of these issues are to be found when using E-Coin’s service, as their cards are in stock and ready to ship right now, to any country in the world.
Note from the author : Delivery times in EU take between 5 and 10 business days, delivery outside of the EU is dependant on your local postal services.
E-Coin’s Bitcoin debit card is a VISA-branded card, with the MyChoice logo on the front of the card. The issuing bank for these debit cards is Wave Crest Holdings Limited, in Gibraltar. This name may sound familiar to several Bitcoin enthusiasts, as Xapo – who also offer a Bitcoin debit card to their customers – use the same institution to issue their cards. To draw another similarity between both companies, neither card has the actual E-Coin/Xapo logo on it, as it is just a sleek, black MyChoice Visa debit card.
Considering the fact the C-Coin Bitcoin debit card works exactly like traditional fiat currency debit cards, you can, technically speaking, spend your Bitcoin anywhere in the world. This will still depend on the number of stores actually accepting debit cards in your country, and here in Belgium, that number looks fairly attractive so far.
Furthermore, paying in the store is one thing, but you also need to be able to withdraw cash from an ATM if needed. The E-Coin debit card lets you do exactly that, as the card can be used at over 25 million ATMs worldwide. Withdrawing cash from an ATM is completely free of charge, although there is a US$0.50 fee when changing your pin code at an ATM machine.
On the topic of fees, loading your E-Coin Bitcoin debit card comes at a 2% fee. Deposited funds are accessible once the transactions has received 5 confirmations, which usually takes about thirty minutes. Transferring Bitcoins to your E-Coin Bitcoin debit card, where they are converted to fiat currency, is done instantly.
When loading up your card balance with Bitcoin, there are certain limits in place. Each transaction has a minimum amount of US$5 and a maximum amount of US$400. Users can top up their card for a maximum amount of US$400 per day, or US$2,500 per month. There are no spending limits on the cards, so you can spend the full amount all at once, without the card ever “expiring” because of its balance getting depleted.
Note from the author : Users will soon be able to verify their identity in order to lift the card limits. More details on this procedure will be announced in the near future.
E-Coin’s Bitcoin debit cards are available in USD, EUR or GBP currency. The card I received during “invite-only” beta testing, came with a balance in USD. If you live outside of the United States, any fees associated with the exchange rate to your local currency will be charged to you as a user. However, there is no official word on whether or not there are fees in place for fiat currency conversions.
The Bitcoin Debit Card Available for Everyone
We received an official E-Coin press release a few days ago, announcing the “invite-only” beta stage has ended, and the Bitcoin debit card offering is now available in the form of a public beta. For those of you interested in ordering an E-Coin Bitcoin debit card, the price per card is US$10, or 0.04BTC. Keep in mind this price includes worldwide shipping.
Customers who load their E-Coin Bitcoin debit card with a total of 3 Bitcoin (or more), will have the full cost (US$10 or 0.04 BTC) refunded to them as a token of gratitude. However, these 3 BTC have to be loaded onto the card within the first month after activating the card, which literally takes just a few minutes of your time.
Speaking of activating your E-Coin debit card, the process is rather simple. In the enclosing letter, you will find a UK phone number which you need to all. During the call, you will be guided through an automated card activation process, requiring you to enter the card’s number, after which you will receive your pin code. This code can be changed at an ATM at the cost of US$0.50.
I have personally not tested the E-Coin Bitcoin debit card yet, as the falling Bitcoin price means I have no Bitcoins to spare at the moment. However, I am expecting the Xapo debit card really soon, so a side-by-side comparison will be coming over the next few weeks. Make sure to stay tuned for that!
Website : http://e-coin.io
BitcoinTalk : https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=917350.0;all