Cryptocurrency Visa debit cards from a number of major providers including BitPay have shut down.
“Visa have today instructed us that we must close all WaveCrest issued Visa Prepaid Cards with immediate effect,” an email from WaveCrest states. WaveCrest had a license to issue Visa-branded credit, debit, and prepaid cards which was apparently yanked early in January.
WaveCrest; which issued Visa cards for several companies including Bitpay and TenX, has been thrown out of Visa’s payment ecosystem, Cointelegraph reported. That means BitPay Visas outside of the United States, which were issued by Wavecrest will be shut off. Bitpay Visas in the US will still work because they are issued by another company.
“We can confirm that WaveCrest’s Visa membership is being terminated due to continued non-compliance with our operating rules,” Visa Europe told TNW. “All of WaveCrest’s Visa card programmes will be closed as a result.”
Visa cards affected by that shutdown include; TenX, Wirex, Bitwala, Bitpay, and Cryptopay, TNW and Cointelegraph reported. The only cards affected will be in Europe, WaveCrest Tenx cryptocurrency Visa products outside Europe shut down in October.
TenX has a new Card Issuer
TenX Card users might be in luck, because that company apparently has a new card issuer.
The Singapore-based digital wallet is planning to go live with an unidentified new card issuer, a Medium post indicates. The identity of the issuer, the brand of the new TenX cards and the date they will be shipped were not revealed.
Replacement cards will be mailed to TenX customers that want them when they are available, the post indicates. Another post on the TenX Medium blog indicates that the problem was with WaveCrest and not with Visa.
“It was very clear that this was a very specific issue to WaveCrest,” a TenX spokesperson wrote. “We will announce further details as to the process on how to get your new card once we are ready to go live with the new card issuer.”
The Road to Cryptocurrency Cards is a Bumpy One
All of this means that the road to cryptocurrency-enabled credit and debit cards will be a very bumpy one. The road is bumpy because major well-established Visa (NYSE: V) and MasterCard (NYSE: MA) licensees like major American banks do not want to touch crypto debit cards.
That means companies like TenX have to rely on questionable providers like WaveCrest; which means the current generation of blockchain plastic can shut down at any time. Interestingly enough, TenX itself admitted this.
“For us, WaveCrest was always seen as an intermediary step, we always wanted to transition everyone over to our new card issuer,” TenX wrote. A smart move for TenX would be to get its own license for Visa or MasterCard. Another brilliant move would be to join up with American Express (NYSE: AXP); or Discover Financial (NYSE: DFS) which owns Diners Club.
Therefore it would be a good idea to stay away from crypto debit cards for the immediate future. The first generation of such products is simply unreliable. Hopefully, a major new provider will enter this market and soon.