Prepaid Cryptocurrency Cards Locked Down by Visa, Affecting Users of Ethereum and Bitcoin


Shoppers who are making use of cryptocurrencies such as Ethereum and Bitcoin were affected after Visa locked down pre-paid cards by blocking a single provider.

Cryptopay, Bitwala, and BitPay have all had their cards suspended as of the 5th of January, meaning that they cannot be used to pay for goods that were purchased on the high street.

Their services are provided via the Gibraltar-based WaveCrest.

The said pre-paid cards enable users to purchase leading cryptocurrencies including Ethereum and Bitcoin, transfer them onto a card and use them like as if they were a traditional bank card.

In a statement, Visa said: “We can confirm that WaveCrest’s Visa membership is being terminated due to non-compliance with our operating rules. All WaveCrest-issued Visa card programmes will be closed as a result.

“The termination of WaveCrest’s Visa membership does not affect other Visa issuers’ card programmes, including those using fiat funds converted from cryptocurrency.

“Visa is committed to the security of its ecosystem and compliance with Visa’s operating rules is critical for ensuring the safety and integrity of the Visa payment system. Our issuers’ card programmes must comply with our membership regulations, as well as all applicable laws.”

All of the three pre-paid cryptocurrency card companies used social media to release statements regarding the suspension.

BitPay stated: “Yesterday our European BitPay card issuer received direction from Visa to immediately close all accounts of its prepaid Visa debit programs”.

Cryptopay, in its statement, said that all funds would be returned to the users.

“Unfortunately, our card issuer instructed us to cease all Cryptopay prepaid cards starting 5 January 2018.”

On the other hand, Bitwala stated that it would hold an “emergency meeting” in an effort to resolve the said issue.

“Following an announcement from our card issuer on behalf of Visa Europe, Bitwala cards are taken out of operation starting today. Our team is holding an emergency meeting to resolve the issue with the cardholders’ best interest in mind and will make an update shortly.”

The cryptocurrencies are digital currencies that can be utilised to purchase or sell items from companies and people.

Interest in cryptocurrencies has been recently sparked after bitcoin experienced an increase in value last year from $1000 to $20,000.