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BitPay Visa Card Makes Bitcoin Payments Easy

BitPay Logo

If you're an American poker player who uses Bitcoin on a regular basis, then the BitPay Visa card could be a valuable tool for you. Many online poker fans have come to realize that Bitcoin transactions are the way to go, but there are certain inconveniences with using the digital currency, like being unable to convert your coins into ready-to-spend cash in a timely way. The BitPay Visa card lets you change your bitcoins into USD and then buy goods and services anywhere that Visa is accepted.

How Does the BitPay Visa Card Work?

After you get your card in the mail, you fund it by sending your bitcoin to an address generated by BitPay. Once there's a single confirmation of this transaction, your BTC will be converted to U.S. dollars and loaded onto the card. You can then make credit and debit purchases just like you would with any other Visa card. When your card balance gets a bit low, it's easy to increase it by simply sending more bitcoins to it.

What Are the Advantages of BitPay Visa?

Bitcoin exchanges, like CoinBase, charge you a fee for buying and selling cryptocurrency. However, the BitPay Visa allows you to avoid these charges because the BTC you send to it are converted to USD automatically. You don't need to pay anything extra when you use it to buy things either, and you can receive cash back from merchants on your debit transactions without any additional fees. It's possible to withdraw money from ATMs with the card too, but you will have to pay $2 ($3 internationally) plus whatever the owner of the ATM charges.

It costs $9.95 to get the BitPay card, and there are slight surcharges levied on the Bitcoin transactions you make to buy or fund your card. Beyond these minor expenses, ongoing fees are minimal and can be avoided entirely. There's an account dormancy fee of $5 per month, but you can simply make a purchase or ATM withdrawal with your card at least once every 90 days to keep your account active.

Because it is a Visa card, you'll receive all the advantages normally associated with such cards. This includes the zero liability protection against unauthorized transactions that Visa provides to all its cardholders. Since PayPal allows you to pay with Visa, you can effectively make any PayPal purchase with the BitPay card.

What Must I Have to Get a BitPay Visa Card?

Before obtaining the Visa card from BitPay, you must have the $9.95 purchase price ready to pay. You can only pay it in Bitcoin, which means that you should have a Bitcoin wallet with at least this amount in it. Actually, it's best to have around $15 or so available in your wallet to account for possible price fluctuations and miners fees. BitPay does offer its own wallet, but we recommend the Blockchain.info wallet because it has been around for a long time and has millions of customers. If you don't yet have a wallet, then you probably also lack bitcoins, so you may wish to open an account at CoinBase or another Bitcoin exchange. Look at our guide to getting started in Bitcoin for instructions on how to create a wallet at Blockchain.info and join up at CoinBase.

You must be willing to divulge your Social Security Number in order to apply for a BitPay Visa. This is because the card is issued by Metropolitan Commercial Bank in New York, which is subject to all the laws and KYC (Know Your Customer) regulations that apply to financial institutions in the United States.

BitPay Visa Signup Instructions

It's a breeze to go through the process of getting a new BitPay Visa card. Although there are many individual steps you need to take, we've broken them down for you so that you can easily complete them.

1. Go to the BitPay Card site http://www.bitpay.com/card, and click on “Order Now.”

BitPay Card Website

2. Next, fill in your email address and country in the box that appears. Press the blue “Continue” button. You'll be asked if you already have a Bitcoin wallet. Choose “Yes, I have a wallet.”

Start the BitPay Card Application

3. In the form that you see, you'll have to enter your shipping, identification, and account info. When you're done, check the box agreeing to the terms and conditions. Then press the “Continue to Payment” button.

BitPay Card Order Form

BitPay Card Order Form Continued

BitPay Card Invoice

4. You'll receive a message stating that your application is complete, and you'll be prompted to send the required $9.95 cost for the card. Choose “Buy With Bitcoin” to proceed.

5. You'll see a BitPay invoice indicating the amount you have to pay in both USD and BTC. The Bitcoin price has something called a “Network Cost” added onto it in order to cover BitPay's miners fees in addition to your own. The actual value of the transaction when all is said and done might be a couple of dollars higher than the stated $9.95.

6. Next open up your Bitcoin wallet and send the required amount to the address displayed. If you're using a mobile wallet, you can scan the QR code. Otherwise, go over to the “Copy” tab and copy the address over in text form. You must initiate the payment within 15 minutes. If you fail to do so, the amount you have to send might change, but you won't be penalized in any other way for letting the countdown expire.

Waiting for BitPay Card Payment Confirmation

 

7. Even after you send the correct number of bitcoins from your wallet, your transaction must confirm at least once before BitPay will recognize it as having been paid. In the interim, you'll see a notification similar to the one on the right. If you really want your BitPay card as fast as possible, it might be worthwhile to bump up the miners fee in your wallet particularly during times of network congestion.

Confirmation of BitPay Invoice Payment

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

8. All transactions require "confirmations" from other sources on the network's blockchain. These confirmations are often rapid and done in minutes. Once your BTC transaction has been confirmed by the Bitcoin network, BitPay will show you a confirmation message.

BitPay Card Order Confirmation Email

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

9. Your order will be processed within one day. When it's done, you'll receive an email with the details of your order. You'll have to wait 7 - 10 business days for your card to arrive in the mail. It will come with a copy of the cardholder's agreement and a PIN number. This PIN is useful in case you wish to make debit card purchases or withdrawals from ATMs.

 

 

 

 

 

10. With your card in hand, head over to http://www.bitpay.com/card/activate. Enter your card number, three-digit CVV, and expiration date. Then click “Next.”

BitPay Card Activation

BitPay Card Email Activation Link

 

11. Go back to your email account and click on the “Finish Registration” link that BitPay sends you. You have 24 hours to do so. If this time period elapses without your having completed the registration, you can simply go back to the activation page and enter your details in again.

 

 

 

 

 

 

12. Now it's time to create your cardholder account. Choose a password, enter it twice in the fields shown, and “Create Account.”

Creating a BitPay Cardholder Account

13. You'll see the “Get Started” screen. Choose the link near the bottom for “Already have an account?”

14. Log into your account with your email address and the password you had just created.

BitPay Account Login

15. Upon logging in, you'll see your account history, which will be blank at this point. The first thing you need to do is fund your card. Select “Add Funds” near the top of the page or in the middle of your screen.

Account History for New BitPayCard

16. Choose the amount (in USD) that you wish to put on your card, and press “Continue.”

Adding Funds to the BitPay Card

17. BitPay will generate an invoice based on the amount you've entered. To pay this sum in BTC, just follow the same steps (#5 - #8) that you did to pay the $9.95 charge for your card earlier.

Invoice for Adding Funds to a BitPay Card

18. When you return to the account history, you'll see the appropriate sum credited to your balance. Now you're ready to make purchases with your card just like any other prepaid debit card. Remember to sign the back of the card first though because it's not technically valid until you do so.

BitPay Account With Funds Added to Card

19. As you use your card, your recent activity will be updated to reflect all your transactions. View your available balance in the top-left of the page.

BitPay Account Showing Transaction History

BitPay Card Limits

The transaction limits associated with the BitPay Visa are quite generous and more than what most people will ever need. You can:

  • Load as much as $25,000 total onto the card
  • Load up to $10,000 onto the card per day
  • Make purchases of up to $10,000 per day
  • Withdraw up to $750 at a time from an ATM
  • Withdraw up to $3,000 per day from multiple ATMs

 

BitPay Visa Advanced Functions

We've only just scratched the surface of the capabilities of the BitPay prepaid Visa card. You can set it up for direct deposit from your place of employment, obtain a secondary card, and load cash onto your card with GreenDot or Western Union. Most of these functions are not frequently demanded by most individuals, and they do cost you a little bit. Still, it's good to know that the BitPay Visa is a versatile, fully featured debit card.

Where to Win BTC

It goes without saying that in order to use the BitPay Visa card to spend your winnings, you must first have winnings to spend. If you haven't yet found a good U.S. poker site that allows Bitcoin deposits and withdrawals, then please allow us to present you with our recommendations:

1. Ignition Poker

Ignition Logo

Largest U.S.-facing poker site
BTC maximum deposit: $5,000
BTC maximum withdrawal: $9,500
Review: Ignition Poker Review

2. Chico Poker Network

BetOnline Logo

Also does Litecoin payouts
BTC maximum deposit: $25,000
BTC maximum withdrawal: $5,000
Review: BetOnline | Sportsbetting.ag reviews

3. Americas Cardroom

Americas Cardroom Logo

Hosts Million Dollar Sunday, largest tournament open to Americans
BTC maximum deposit: $25,000
BTC maximum withdrawal: $10,000
Review: ACR Review

[Alternate skins: BlackChip Poker, True Poker, PokerHost, Ya Poker (non-US)]