As a crypto enthusiast I have lots of coins “lying around”. I haven’t really spent much of them and if I need to I normally use Bitpay to convert them to my preferred currency. Even though Bitcoin cards have been around a bit already I didn’t really see the need to have one until now. I finally decided to get a Bitcoin card. I searched around – there are actually not that many around. The most popular is probably Xapo. In addition to that there are a few whose websites are just so terrible that I wouldn’t dare keep my money with them. After digging around and comparing I decided to go for E-coin – now rebranding to Wirex.
E-Coin Virtual Card
I used their virtual card successfully and easily on many occasions and loved it. Weird thing for me at first was that you didn’t need to send any documents at all. Didn’t even have to put your name on the card. I see now why my local AML bureau is a bit cautious of cryptocurrencies. In the UK though where the company is registered, 2500€ is not a big enough amount to need to show your ID. Which you know, is convenient. If you want to buy something quickly and don’t have time to sit around and wait until they review your documents and verify your account. If you want to spend more than 2500€ though, be prepared for the standard KYC procedures.
Why I opted for the E-coin card was the fact that you topped the card up with Bitcoin and the amount was locked in your selected currency. That was their advantage compared to Xapo in my eyes. We had a debate on this exact thing with a friend of mine. He didn’t understand why I wanted to top up the card separately. Surely it would be easier if the wallet and card were a direct link. As Bitcoin is still very volatile and I like to gain profits on the exchange rate I specifically wanted to top the card up only when the price was high. Getting more use out of my coins in the real world this way.
E-Coin Debit Card
So when I was ready to get my own plastic Bitcoin debit card I naturally decided to get an E-Coin card. I excitedly logged into my E-coin account and clicked upgrade to plastic. Woohoo! Wait, what? Apparently it wasn’t possible to pay for the plastic card with the funds on the virtual card for whatever reason, even though there was enough on there. Didn’t really get why that option wasn’t a thing but okay, I added some more Bitcoin to my E-coin wallet to pay for the card. Bitcoin cards are rather pricy – with E-coin it costs $18 for a card with standard delivery and $50 for express delivery with DHL. Xapo and some others charge a bit more or around the same. I chose the express delivery because I needed it fast and also having a card sent via standard mail is really not safe. As I’ve worked in a bank previously, I know how many get lost in the post. And there’s way too many of them.
The E-mail Saga
As I needed the card fast, I checked with their support first. I was assured this:
DHL delivery takes 7-10 days or less.
Great! Ordered my card and went on with my business. I received an email on the 8th of March that my card had been shipped. Weird I thought, as I just ordered it the same day. On the 10th of March I contacted support to ask for my DHL tracking number of my card.
DHL tracking numbers usually become available 3-4 working days after the card is actually issued. In some cases the card arrives earlier than that.We will certainly keep you posted and send you the tracking number as soon as we have it.
Some concerns – how does a card arrive before a tracking number is available? I use DHL frequently and I have not heard this before. You normally get the tracking number as soon as DHL has agreed to ship something for you. Even before they receive it.
I next contacted them on the 14th of March.
Hello again – can I have my dhl tracking number please. It’s been 6 days since I ordered my card. You promise to deliver it in 7-10 daysKind Regards,Liina Laas
Thank you for your request.
DHL tracking numbers usually become available 4-5 working days after the card is actually issued.
We will ask our bank about your tracking number.
We will certainly keep you posted and send you the tracking number as soon as we have it.
I emailed againt on the 16th of March. 8 days after the card was ordered.
Thanks for the update. The reason I opted for a fast delivery card was because I need it quickly. What is the estimated delivery time of my card?
After your card will be created and shipped DHL delivery takes 7-10 days or usually less.
So I don’t actually get it in 7-10 days as promised at first? Now terms have changed to 7-10 days after created and shipped. Well isn’t that great. Got another email, finally actually giving an indication that something has indeed gone wrong instead of copy pasing me a generic bs response:
Thank you for your reply.
We have discussed with the bank the situation with your tracking number. Turned out a change of cards’ stock is happening currently. We are waiting for it to be completed (no more than a few days left), and then the card will be finally reshipped to you with proper tracking number.
I am really sorry for the delay. I will notify you once we have any further information.
This back and forth keeps going on for a while. I keep asking on an estimated time and what is going on. Always get back a generic response of 7-10 days and oh we’ll get back to you.
On the 18th of March I finally lose my patience – that is the latest date I was supposed to receive my card yet one still hadn’t been produced. I angrily ask for a refund.
This is no longer acceptable for me. I asked how long it would take prior to ordering the card, i opted for express because i need it fast. I am going to get my card elsewhere. Refund the fee please
I get a response the day later.
Your card was finally issued yesterday (03/18).
I apologize for any inconvenience it causes, and appreciate your understanding.
When will I receive it? I need the extra money spent on express delivery refunded as this is by no means express
DHL tracking numbers usually become available 4-5 working days after the card is actually issued. In some cases the card arrives earlier than that.
So, I hope your tracking number will be available on the next week.
Unfortunately I can’t tell you right now about possibility to refund you the difference between standart and expedite deilivery. I will ask our senior team about it and write to you the answer after the weekends.
Back in the same feedback loop now… If the card was produced, there should be a tracking number. I at this point am sure that I am being bullshitted again and there is no card still. And I’ve had enough.
Nope not happy with that.
So you said the card was produced but there os no tracking number – this means it has not been sent and I will not be receiving it next week. Refund the fee for the card and cancel it. I will do business with a company that can actually deliver their promises. I am not willing to believe in any of your promises. I am not paying $50 for a card delivered a month later.This a massive inconvenience for me and I will not be recommending your services to anyone. I will also remove all affiliate links from my website.
Your company is either massively incompetent or scamming people. Either way not something I want to proceed doing business with
On Monday the 21st of March I received a response from E-Coin:
Thank you for your reply.
I have notified the bank and requested to cancel your card. Once they confirm the card issuance was cancelled, we will proceed with the refund process.
We will let you know further details shortly.
Say what? You’re cancelling the card that was apparently already produced on the 18th of March. Well thanks very much for wasting my time further you bell****! Sorry for my language. At this point I was already pretty angry. I understand that there are sometimes issues. What I do not like is being lied to – the whole problem here was that I needed the card urgently. If there was a problem I could’ve ordered a Xapo card with express delivery and a standard delivery of the E-coin card. As I previously mentioned I like the features of the E-Coin card much more than Xapos. But at this point I don’t want to know anything about E-Coin anymore.
Thank you for your reply.
I am sorry for the confusion. We were told by the bank representatives, new cards would be ready on Friday, and we expected them to be sent on Friday.
On Monday though we were informed the cards are not yet sent and the issuance was scheduled for Monday. So we got a chance to cancel your card. Otherwise, it would not be possible.
I apologize for the misleading information. Not everything here depends on us, though we understand we should have keep you informed better, and double-check all the information we get from all our sources.
I have also created the ticket with our refund team. Once it is done I will let you know.
Almost a Month later… No card 🙁
So in all an unpleasant experience. I received a refund and the card was cancelled. I was not too phased about the fee but I really genuinely wanted and needed this card. I have now ordered a Xapo card. It has been 6 days and no tracking number. So am I about to experience the same saga again? I sure hope not.
I am now considering establishing my own startup – a business that will undercut the fees of current Bitcoin card issuer’s fees and one that can actually deliver the cards to their beloved customers. How hard can it be?
Have ideas on a Bitcoin card business or want to help me start one? Do get in touch! Let’s build something that actually works!