European bitcoin wallet providers using the WaveCrest company which includes those such as Xapo, Shakepay, TenX, Wirex, Bitwala, BitPay (European users) and others have now shut off access to user’s prepaid VISA debit cards with bitcoin account capabilities. As ordered by Visa to WaveCrest, the Gibraltar-based payment company has had all of its VISA card programs permanently closed.
Across providers, effective immediately, user cards will no longer be accepted for in-person or online transactions. If a user has recurring payments on their card, they will obviously need to be reconfigured. Balances remaining on cards cannot be spent. Providers will be transferring back unused funds to user accounts while stating they are looking for a replacement solution.
Anni Rautio, head of Xapo’s Card Program said:
We’re already exploring various alternative card solutions. While we are not ready to announce anything yet, looking for potential new card issuers has been (and continues to be) at the forefront of our mission.
Ultimately, our main priority is to deliver you a great product and we are working hard to make it happen. While we cannot yet give any time estimation of when this will occur, we encourage you to stay tuned for upcoming announcements regarding the Xapo Card program.
Visa said in a statement that “it recently terminated a single prepaid card issuer in Europe from our network for violating Visa’s operating regulations. That issuer, WaveCrest, was required to close its Visa card products, some of which were linked to cryptocurrency wallets.”
The team of bitcoin payment company BitPay stated:
“Many European bitcoin users have come to rely on the BitPay Card for day to day transactions. We’re disappointed that this change will keep us from serving them. We are already in discussions with potential alternative issuers for the BitPay Card which will allow us to serve customers in Europe and beyond. The BitPay Card will continue to be available for users in the United States without interruption. As part of our commitment to BitPay Card users, we will give current cardholders the option to request a free card when the BitPay Card is again available in their countries.”