There are a number of excellent payment gateways for merchants but not for individuals. There are a few Bitcoin debit cards available today but most are limited to Bitcoin/dollars. The Ripple Gateway SnapSwap.EU will be changing the playing ground for all of these cards however with the launch of the new SmartyCard. The new card is for non-US citizens, a Visa prepaid card on the Ripple network.
Anyone with a SnapSwap account simply has to fund the card from that account with any asset available in the Ripple Wallet (Bitcoin, Litecoin, and gold or fiat currencies). Once the new card is loaded users can then make regular purchases or even international transactions with no fees attached. The effort from Ripple seems to be a way to drive more liquidity through their platform, possibly because of a perceived threat from NXT.
The main difference between the SmartyCard and other similar cards however is the new rewards program. Only the second cryptocurrency debit card to offer any real rewards for its use, the SmartyCard is somewhat similar to Shift Payments card, which also allows users to spend Ripple. The SmartyCard offers both loyalty points’ miles along with other benefits. The SmartyCard is also now offering, for the first 1,000 new cardholders, a 5% rebate in XRP, which will be sent directly to the cardholder’s wallet. The rewards program offers the following benefits:
- 5% rebate in XRP at market rate for each purchase made with the card.
- The rebate program is in pilot, so it's available to the first 1,000 customers to start.
- Cards are available to any SnapSwap.EU customer except permanent residents of the U.S. and India.
- An initial set of cards are already in use in: Sweden, Uruguay, New Zealand, Israel, Italy, Spain, Japan, Canada, Slovenia, Slovakia, Netherlands, Russia, France and China.
- Initial limit is $10,000 in net purchases per customer ($500 maximum rebate, less card fees the max rebate is $230)
- To use SmartyCash, you can sign up at smartycash.biz/. You'll need a Ripple account as well.
- Then, just push any Ripple balance to the card and it's available to spend immediately.
- No international transaction fees. Make purchases in any currency in any country. Customers get excellent exchange rates from their local currencies into USD - almost an interbank rate.
One of the reasons that debit cards became so successful during the 1990’s was the expanded rewards programs offered to cardholders and these extra bonuses will go a long way toward making cryptocurrencies much more consumer friendly.
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