Hong Kong-based exchange ANX is introducing a reloadable debit card that can be used across the globe.
ANX customers load their cards from bitcoin balances (effectively selling bitcoins to ANX) or from any of the 10 international currencies the firm currently supports. The stored currency on the cards, however, is always US dollars.
The cards can then be used worldwide at any merchant that accepts debit cards and at regular ATMs to withdraw cash, though, again, all amounts will be debited in USD.
ANX charges a 2.5% fee to load the cards, which is deducted from the deposited amount.
Solving the acceptance problem
Bitcoin debit cards are one solution to the 'merchant acceptance' problem. Although accepting bitcoin directly from customers offers advantages to businesses through reduced bank processing fees and no chargebacks, many merchants remain unaware of bitcoin or how to use it securely.
Debit cards go one step further even than payment processings companies, who exchange bitcoins for fiat currencies soon after a sale is made.
Most merchants accepting the cards might still be completely unaware that bitcoins were involved in the transaction.
Ken Lo, ANX's CEO, said the company believes prepaid cards will play an integral role in a bitcoin consumer's day-to-day financial life, explaining:
"We felt it was important to go beyond current offerings in the marketplace and bring something new and innovative to our customers. The ANX Bitcoin Prepaid Debit Card enables our customers to easily transfer their Bitcoins to their card anytime and benefit from the same freedom and flexibility of a traditional credit card".
As well as its exchange and wallet platforms, ANX has also previously launched a bitcoin ATM and a physical shopfront for customers and potential customers to further their bitcoin education.
ANX's debit cards are available for immediate delivery to any customer who has been through the company's know your customer (KYC) verification procedure.
Once delivered, a card is linked automatically to the customer's bitcoin wallet and can be loaded via the ANXBTC and ANXPRO online exchange websites. Bitcoin amounts are converted to USD when the card is loaded.
Card image via ANX