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Crypto Credit Card vs. Crypto Debit Card: Key Differences

By Dan Miller · September 26, 2022 · 5 minute read

We’re here to help! First and foremost, SoFi Learn strives to be a beneficial resource to you as you navigate your financial journey. Read more We develop content that covers a variety of financial topics. Sometimes, that content may include information about products, features, or services that SoFi does not provide. We aim to break down complicated concepts, loop you in on the latest trends, and keep you up-to-date on the stuff you can use to help get your money right. Read less

Crypto Credit Card vs. Crypto Debit Card: Key Differences

Cryptocurrency — sometimes referred to as blockchain technology — is a hybrid between a currency and an investment. There are many different types of cryptocurrencies, with Bitcoin being the most well-known. As the popularity of cryptocurrency continues to increase, banks and other issuers are coming out with crypto credit cards and crypto debit cards.

While these two types of cards both allow cardholders to earn cryptocurrency, there are some key differences between a crypto credit card vs. crypto debit card. It’s important to understand how they differ so you can make the right choice for your financial situation.

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What Is a Crypto Credit Card?

The term crypto credit card usually refers to a type of credit card that allows cardholders to earn cryptocurrency as a reward. Cryptocurrencies are often more volatile than other types of rewards you can earn, so make sure you’re prepared for that level of volatility before signing up for a crypto credit card.

Just like with any other credit card, crypto credit cards draw from a line of credit. Cardholders must pay back their balance in full each month in order to avoid incurring interest charges. Purchases and payments on crypto credit cards are usually made with U.S. dollars, though some cards may allow cardholders to use cryptocurrency held in an associated account.

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How Crypto Credit Cards Work

Crypto credit cards earn rewards in a very similar way to most other rewards credit cards. With each purchase you make using the card, you’ll earn cryptocurrency.

As an example, say your crypto credit card earns 3% back at restaurants. If you make a $100 restaurant purchase, your crypto wallet will get credited with $3 of cryptocurrency.

Pros and Cons of Using a Crypto Credit Card

Especially given the volatility of cryptocurrency, there are a number of upsides and downsides to take into consideration before using a crypto credit card:

Pros of Using a Crypto Credit Card Cons of Using a Crypto Credit Card
Can earn cryptocurrency rather than other types of rewards Fewer crypto credit card options than other types of rewards credit cards
Easier way to start investing in cryptocurrency Cryptocurrencies can be volatile and/or lose value
Cryptocurrency may increase in value Can’t control the timing of your crypto investment

What Is a Crypto Debit Card?

A crypto debit card is a type of debit card that withdraws crypto directly from your wallet to make purchases. However, when you make a purchase, the merchant gets paid in fiat currency, which means a conversion must take place from your type of cryptocurrency into U.S. dollars.

Many crypto debit cards also allow you to access your cryptocurrency wallet at merchants or ATMs that don’t normally accept cryptocurrency. This can give you added flexibility and access to your cryptocurrency funds.

Additionally, some crypto debit cards also can earn cryptocurrency as rewards.

How Crypto Debit Cards Work

Like a regular debit card, most crypto debit cards operate on one of the major card networks (Visa, Mastercard, etc). This allows you to use your crypto debit card anywhere that these networks are accepted. While more and more merchants are starting to accept various forms of cryptocurrency, using a crypto debit card can give you better access to your cryptocurrency wallet.

However, note that when you pay with a crypto debit card, you’re selling some of your cryptocurrency and exchanging it for dollars. Because you may be selling at a higher or lower price than what you bought it for, this constitutes a taxable event. You’ll need to do the work of keeping track for tax purposes. Additionally, you could incur a fee for the conversion.

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Pros and Cons of Using a Crypto Debit Card

As you can see, there are pros and cons to this type of card. Here’s what to keep in mind when choosing crypto debit cards:

Pros of Using a Crypto Debit Card Cons of Using a Crypto Debit Card
Better access to your crypto wallet Fewer crypto debit card than other types of rewards debit cards
Opportunity to earn rewards and/or perks Cryptocurrencies can be volatile and/or lose value
More convenient to use than other crypto redemptions A debit card may be less secure than a cryptocurrency wallet
Taxes or fees may apply

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Differences Between a Crypto Credit Card and a Crypto Debit Card

There are a few important differences between a credit card and debit card, and it’s important to know these differences when considering a crypto debit card vs. crypto credit card. Specifically, here are the essential differences to keep in mind:

Crypto Credit Card Crypto Debit Card
Rewards Most crypto credit cards offer rewards Fewer debit cards offer rewards
Using cryptocurrency Purchases don’t spend from your crypto wallet Cryptocurrency is withdrawn from your wallet with each purchase
Credit check on application Yes No

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The Takeaway

Crypto credit cards and crypto debit cards both rely on cryptocurrency, but in different ways. A crypto debit card withdraws crypto directly from your wallet to make purchases. Purchases on a crypto credit card use a credit line issued to you in your local currency, but you may earn crypto rewards with every purchase.

If you’re looking for a non-crypto rewards credit card, you might consider a cash-back rewards credit card like the SoFi Credit Card. You can earn unlimited cash-back rewards, which you can use to invest in fractional shares, redeem for statement credit, or other financial goals you might have, like paying down eligible SoFi debt. Learn more and start earning credit card rewards today.

Apply for a SoFi Credit Card!

FAQ

Is it safe to use a crypto credit card or crypto debit card?

There are many different crypto credit cards and crypto debit cards. Look for one that is issued and branded by a reputable company. Even if you have a reputable card, know that there is still some risk, as anyone who gets your card number might also be able to access the cryptocurrency funds in your e-wallet.

Will buying crypto with a credit card amount to a cash advance?

If you want to buy crypto with a credit card, be aware that many credit card issuers will not allow you to buy directly with your card. And for those credit card issuers that do allow you to buy crypto with a credit card, the purchase may be treated as a cash advance. Cash advance transactions come with additional fees and often carry higher interest rates, so make sure you’re aware of those specifics before buying crypto with a credit card.

How are crypto credit and debit cards taxed?

Generally speaking, any time you use cryptocurrency to pay for something, you’re triggering a taxable event. This would likely include purchases made with a crypto debit card. The IRS has currently not given specific guidance on the taxability of crypto earned as a reward for purchases. Consult with your tax advisor if you’re not sure about how your crypto credit and debit cards will be taxed.


Photo credit: iStock/PeopleImages
Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.

Tax Information: This article provides general background information only and is not intended to serve as legal or tax advice or as a substitute for legal counsel. You should consult your own attorney and/or tax advisor if you have a question requiring legal or tax advice.
The SoFi Credit Card is issued by The Bank of Missouri (TBOM) (“Issuer”) pursuant to license by Mastercard® International Incorporated and can be used everywhere Mastercard is accepted. Mastercard is a registered trademark, and the circles design is a trademark of Mastercard International Incorporated.
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SoFi cardholders earn 2% unlimited cash back rewards when redeemed to save, invest, or pay down eligible SoFi debt. Cardholders earn 1% cash back rewards when redeemed for a statement credit.1
Third-Party Brand Mentions: No brands, products, or companies mentioned are affiliated with SoFi, nor do they endorse or sponsor this article. Third-party trademarks referenced herein are property of their respective owners.
Members earn 2 rewards points for every dollar spent on eligible purchases. If you elect to redeem points for cash deposited into your SoFi Checking or Savings account, SoFi Money® account, fractional shares or cryptocurrency in your SoFi Active Invest account, or as a payment to your SoFi Personal, Private Student, or Student Loan Refinance, your points will redeem at a rate of 1 cent per every point. If you elect to redeem points as a statement credit to your SoFi Credit Card account, your points will redeem at a rate of 0.5 cents per every point. For more details please visit the Rewards page. Brokerage and Active investing products offered through SoFi Securities LLC, member FINRA/SIPC. SoFi Securities LLC is an affiliate of SoFi Bank, N.A.
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