Interested in a Crypto credit card? Here’s what you’ll miss
Instead of cash back, points, or miles, some newer credit cards offer cryptocurrency rewards on your spending.
Crypto credit cards are rapidly becoming available to US consumers – and their easy access to crypto may appeal to both existing crypto enthusiasts and curious crypto investors looking to enter the market.
But even though these cards are becoming more common, they leave a lot to be desired when it comes to reward value. Many only offer lukewarm rewards rates, and with the volatility of cryptocurrency, there is a large potential opportunity cost in forgoing the guaranteed points or cashback redemptions that come with older rewards cards. regular.
In fact, many experts we spoke to believe that crypto cards still have a long way to go before their value can match many cards in the market today. Before you decide to open a crypto credit card, make sure you understand how crypto credit cards work and the risks you may be exposing your wallet to.
Crypto credit cards vs credit cards with rewards
Crypto credit cards can be an attractive option for those who have already invested in crypto or are looking to get started without too many upfront costs – but they lack many of the benefits that make many rewards cards so valuable.
Rewards credit cards often have many advantages over their crypto counterparts, including:
- Welcome offers: Rewards credit cards often come with lucrative sign-up bonuses worth hundreds of dollars. Some offers may even be worth more than $1,000. Few crypto credit cards offer meaningful welcome offers.
- 0% APR Introductory Offers: Traditional credit cards can also be great tools for debt consolidation and financing big purchases, thanks to 0% APR offers on purchases and balance transfers. Crypto cards charge the same high interest rates as other credit cards, with no introductory period for reduced interest.
- Premium Benefits: Credit card perks like annual credits and status upgrades, airport lounge access, and travel and purchase protections can offer great value to frequent fliers. You might find some added benefits with crypto cards, but they won’t be as comprehensive as some of the best rewards cards.
- Guaranteed value: With a regular credit card, you’ll get guaranteed returns in the form of cash back, points or miles. Crypto rewards are volatile at best, and your 2% return on spend could end up being worth much less by the time you cash out, depending on how the market fluctuates.
Benefits of Crypto Credit Cards
Crypto credit cards offer cryptocurrency rewards instead of traditional cash back, points, or miles.
For example, the Upgrade Bitcoin Rewards card earns a fixed return of 1.5% in bitcoin. The Signature BlockFi Rewards Visa® Card offers the same 1.5% return on every purchase, but lets you redeem your rewards for multiple types of crypto.
Other crypto credit cards have tiered reward structures. The Gemini credit card, for example, earns 3% on meals, 2% on groceries, and 1% on everything else, with the ability to redeem rewards for any cryptocurrency available on Gemini.
According to Ted Rossman, Senior Industry Analyst at CreditCards.com, crypto credit cards can be a tool for those looking to get into the crypto market. Like NextAdvisor, CreditCards.com is owned by Red Ventures. He compares investing only the rewards you earn with a crypto card to “playing with house money.”
“For a certain type of person, they’re looking for that edge… They want to get into crypto and they’re betting that it’s going to be worth more in the future.”
Rossman adds that crypto credit card holders can also benefit from avoiding certain fees charged by crypto exchanges. “It could actually be a pretty convenient way to get into the market,” Rossman says. “It’s a bit of an underrated benefit of some of these cards.”
Risks of Crypto Credit Cards
Najah Roberts, Founder and CEO of Crypto Blockchain Socket, a cryptocurrency exchange and education hub in Inglewood, CA, loves earning rewards using its crypto credit cards. In about five months, she estimates she earned over $400 in bitcoin rewards.
At the same time, Roberts advises caution when using crypto credit cards, especially with regards to crypto tax liability.
Although you are not likely to pay taxes on your earned crypto rewards, you will pay when you cash out. When you sell a cryptocurrency that has appreciated, you will be subject to capital gains tax, or the difference between the amount the coin was worth when you “bought” it with your rewards and the price. of sale.
The points or cash back you earn with rewards credit cards on purchases you make, on the other hand, are rarely taxable.
Another major setback of crypto rewards is the potential loss of value. Many crypto enthusiasts buy for the potential to see their value skyrocket, but it is still a volatile asset and growth is all but guaranteed.
In fact, the price of bitcoin has hovered between $30,000 and $60,000 in the past few months alone. If you had earned 1.5% back in bitcoin when the price was $60,000 per coin, then decided to cash out when the price fell to $30,000, you would have lost half the value of your rewards.
Credit cards with rewards always offer more value
Many experts we spoke to about crypto credit cards remain skeptical of their value over rewards cards.
The main advantages of these cards are the ability to directly earn rewards as crypto, foregoing the need to buy crypto with cash and using them as a relatively low-risk way to invest in the crypto. With less lucrative rewards, fewer extra perks, and a lack of welcome bonuses or introductory offers, you’ll still get a lot more value from many of the best credit cards on the market today than with a crypto card.
Another crypto-adjacent credit card option is a card like the SoFi credit card or Venmo card, which earn cashback rewards but offer crypto as one of many redemptions. This way, you can enjoy crypto rewards, but also have the option to choose cashback or statement credits.
If you’re really interested in crypto, you might be better off opening a rewards card that fits your spending habits and budget, and then using your rewards to invest in cryptocurrency. You will still be subject to the ups and downs of the crypto market, but you might earn a better rate of rewards on your spending and be able to enjoy other benefits of more general rewards cards.
Plus, you’ll always have the option to redeem your rewards as statement credit or use them for future travel, should you change your mind.
As with all of our credit card reviewsour analysis is not influenced by any advertising partnership or relationship.
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The future of crypto credit cards
As public interest around crypto continues to grow, crypto credit cards are likely to stay. Many crypto cards on the market have only been around for a year or less, which means there is plenty of room for growth in the future.
Roberts is a “cautious optimist,” but advises cardholders to do their due diligence. “I’m tiptoeing to see how these companies can help the average everyday consumer,” she says.
And if crypto markets continue to grow alongside, there could be even more flexible ways to incorporate cryptocurrency into our spending. While it’s not a good idea to spend your bitcoin in cash today, it could add another unique offer to crypto credit cards in the future.
Rossman is curious to see if there will be any crypto credit card products in the US that allow direct spending of crypto, in addition to just earning crypto rewards.
“I think they need to make it easier and more accessible,” he says. “So you wouldn’t really be selling stocks every time you made a small purchase. It’s just very confusing.