Bitwala has announced that it is launching a new banking service with real debit cards. Its application with the Federal Financial Supervisory Authority of Germany (Bafin) is pending. Once approved, customers’ funds will be guaranteed up to €100,000. The move follows the suspension of the company’s prepaid Visa cards.
Bitwala’s New Banking Service
Blockchain-based payment service provider Bitwala announced on Monday that it is building an online bank account service, “enabling a seamless transition between the crypto and fiat worlds.” The account combines “all the features of traditional banking with the crypto economy,” the company added, noting that “We aim to introduce the new Bitwala accounts to the world within the next few months.”
The company says it has over 57,00 users currently in over 200 countries. Prospective customers can now pre-register for this new service, Bitwala detailed, elaborating:
In the next few months, we will be building a full-fledged German bank account that will come with a German IBAN, BIC along with a real debit card from Mastercard…Your funds up to €100,000 will be guaranteed.
“Bitwala accounts will be fully regulated by the Federal Financial Supervisory Authority of Germany (Bafin),” the company stated, adding that its application is currently pending. With Bafin’s approval, the deposit guarantee scheme of German banks will guarantee customers’ funds of up to €100,000 (~USD$123,000).
Bitwala claims that its “accounts will be the perfect solution for those seeking secure and crypto-friendly banking services.” Customers will be able to buy and sell cryptocurrencies as well as manage their daily expenses and setting up direct debits, the company explained.
Accounts Come with Debit Cards
The new Bitwala accounts will come with a debit card linked to customers’ accounts.
“We will be issuing a contactless debit card, enabling you to spend your funds instantly in shops, online and at any ATM,” the company detailed, adding that customers’ balances “will be immediately available” on their Bitwala debit cards. Furthermore, the company says that debit cards will also “have much lower fees and higher spending limits,” compared to the prepaid cards the company previously offered.
Problems with Prepaid Cards
Bitwala formerly offered prepaid cards denominated in EUR, issued by Wavecrest Holdings Limited. However, on January 5, the company announced that its prepaid cards had been disabled.
“Our Bitwala Card issuer Wavecrest Holdings Ltd received direction from Visa Europe to immediately suspend all Bitwala cards effective immediately,” the company wrote.
In a statement to CNBC, Visa said it had terminated Wavecrest “from our network for violating Visa’s operating regulations,” confirming it had required the company “to close its Visa card products, some of which were linked to cryptocurrency wallets.”
Alongside Bitwala, Wavecrest provided the same services to other cryptocurrency companies, including Cryptopay, Wirex, and Tenx. “Now these cards are invalid,” the news outlet emphasized.
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Images courtesy of Shutterstock and Bitwala.
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