No doubt, cryptocurrency has become synonymous with financial freedom and confidentiality. But when it comes to everyday payments and using crypto daily, holders lack the tools and services that allow them to pay bills with digital assets. In the market, there are plenty of physical bank cards that can be topped up with cryptocurrencies but only a few preserve the key advantage of cryptocurrencies full control by the owner.
When it all started
Now it is hardly possible to find someone who is unfamiliar with bank cards. But the story of bank cards started not so long ago. In the mid-twentieth century, the first credit card that allowed holders to pay without checks or cash was invented in the US. The predecessor of Visa and Mastercard, Diners Club, was first issued in 1950. Before its invention, each organization opened a line of credit to its customers.
With Diners Club, card holders could pay for bills at restaurants or hotels that became members of the network. The value for the business was apparentcredit risks were transferred from merchants to “emitent,” a company that issued a card.
In a few years, Bank of America picked up the idea and issued the first consumer credit card BankАmericard. This convenient tool soon gained popularity. After 18 years, the payment system BankAmericard, which united banks and organizations all around the world, was rebranded as Visa. Now Visa is a market leader in the number of transactions, supporting over three billion cards and almost 17,000 financial organizations.
Then comes the crypto world
It took hundreds of years to invent a bank card in the world of fiat money. Thanks to the high level of current technical development in the world of crypto, it took only a few years after the invention of the first cryptocurrency, Bitcoin, to do the same. Like bank cards, the first physical prepaid crypto card appeared in the US. BitPay was a pioneer. In 2016, they issued their debit card that was charged up with bitcoins which allowed holders to pay at POS-terminals or withdraw fiat at ATMs after instant conversion at a market exchange rate.
Other services followed BitPay and issued their cards. To date, they still share similar approaches, offering debit cards without credit lines or overdraft that are charged with cryptocurrencies. These are converted to fiat, most commonly, to the US dollar or euro.
Although at first glance, it seems that crypto cards should have pushed the mass adoption of cryptocurrency for everyday payments but that did not happen. This is largely due to the fact that, until recently, many emitents force users to charge up card accounts through other accounts on their platforms. For example, a BitPay card user has to first open an account on the BitPay webpage, transfer their money and then charge up their card. This approach of allowing a user to charge their card only after replenishing a company-hosted account is used by the majority of services that issue crypto cards.
This requirement took away crypto’s key advantage full control over funds. Obviously, when money is transferred to a bank, it is no longer your money. It belongs to a bank a client gets only an obligation from the bank to pay the sum at the request of the client. The consequences of this approach were felt firsthand by clients of some high-profile banks during the financial crisis of 2008-2009, which led to the invention of the first-ever independent digital currency, Bitcoin.
Why choose a crypto card by TTM Bank
A new approach to charging up prepaid cards was introduced by the virtual bank TTM. In 2020, TTM Bank, which is registered in Estonia, started to issue crypto cards that can be charged up with cryptocurrencies and used at shops, restaurants and online platforms. The TTM Bank cards can be used anywhere Visa cards are accepted. It became possible thanks to the partnership with the financial services operator UAB Walletto, a Lithuanian-registered company that is a member of the Visa payment network.
The key difference of TTM Bank cards, in comparison with previously existing financial products, is that its holders do not need to store their digital assets on a third-party wallet. The card account can be charged up directly from a crypto wallet selected by a user – so there is no need to transfer money first to any account in order to later charge up a card account. Thus, TTM Bank crypto card users keep control over their assets because they do not need to transfer their crypto for storage to another service.
TTM Bank cards can be charged up with five digital assets – BTC, ETH, USDT, BNB and TRX – or via a traditional bank card that operates with fiat. Upon deposit, funds are instantly converted to euros.
As highlighted by TTM Bank CEO Vladislav Utushkin, the TTM crypto card is suited best not for storage but for daily purchases for paying bills at cafes or restaurants, booking flights or purchasing goods in online or offline stores.
The TTM Bank card can be issued both as a virtual and as a plastic card. The issuance of the virtual card costs €20. Another key difference of the TTM crypto cards is that it serves a broad range of countries, allowing residents to order a card. It is available almost all over the whole world with a few exceptions. To receive a TTM Bank crypto card, a user can follow a simple registration procedure, confirm the email and fill in the profile (name, surname, address of residence and citizenship).
TTM Bank crypto card holders can also withdraw fiat money at ATMs. The withdrawal fee is just €1,5+2%.
Despite the fact that it has been less than a year since the project’s launch, the number of TTM Bank crypto card users already exceeds 40,000. Surely, this indicates high demand for financial products that can keep the fundamental advantage of cryptocurrencies intact full control over funds exercised by their owner, not a middleman.