How to Spend Your Crypto Using Bitrefill’s Gift Card Platform

With Bitrefill, you can virtually pay for anything with cryptocurrencies through gift cards. Here’s how it works. This piece is part of CoinDesk's Payments Week.
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Krisztian Sandor is a reporter on the Crypto Explainer+ team. He has written for Forbes and Reuters. He holds BTC and ETH.

There’s still a long way ahead of us until we can pay directly with cryptocurrency for everyday purchases at the grocery store, in a coffee shop or on our vacations.

For crypto enthusiasts who want to live off their digital assets, Bitrefill is a possible solution.

Bitrefill and its gift cards are one of the oldest players facilitating crypto payments. Founded in 2015 by Sergej Kotliar, Michael Grünberger and Michel Gustavsson, the company’s goal is to enable people to spend cryptocurrency to buy everyday items online and in stores as well.

This piece is part of CoinDesk's Payments Week.

What you can buy with Bitrefill?

Bitrefill sells gift cards that you can use as vouchers to buy electronics, groceries, clothing, phone refills – even accommodations and flights for your next vacation.

To be clear, these gift cards are not physical cards, but rather a voucher you’ll receive via email which you can redeem when paying for products at partnered merchants.

Currently, there are more than 4,500 merchants in 186 countries integrated in the network, according to the company’s website, including major brands such as Amazon, Airbnb, Domino’s, Netflix, Nike, T-Mobile, Walmart and many more.

There are two key product groups in Bitrefill’s offering:

  • Gift cards for vouchers.
  • Prepaid phone refills.

Akin to a credit card, every time you buy a gift card or a phone refill, you earn at least a 1% cashback reward, but some merchants offer rewards as high as 10%.

One thing to note is that you’ll receive these rewards in the form of the largest cryptocurrency, bitcoin (BTC). This allows users to accumulate bitcoin and later redeem their savings for purchases, if desired.

Bitrefill uses Bitcoin’s secondary payment layer called the Lightning Network, which settles transactions instantly and virtually free of charge.

The platform is also integrated into Strike, the payments application that uses the Lightning Network. Those who pay for Bitrefill vouchers with Strike can get a 5% cashback in bitcoin.

How to buy gift cards with Bitrefill

There’s no need to open an account at Bitrefill to get a gift card – you just need an email address.

Here are the simple steps to get a gift card:

  1. Pick a merchant on Bitrefill’s website where you want a gift card/phone refill from.
  2. Select the amount and select the currency or crypto you want to pay with.
  3. Type in the email address you want to receive the voucher.
  4. Scan the QR code and send the payment to Bitrefill.

There are thousands of merchants on Bitrefill's platform.

The method is pretty much the same if you want to refill your phone. Pick your merchant, select the refill amount (in some cases, you have to choose from set amounts) and currency, and you will get the voucher in your inbox.

It’s also possible to purchase a voucher as a gift. For that, click the "Buy Gift" button on the product page and fill in the required fields, choose between instant or scheduled delivery time and then click on “add to cart.”

Bitrefill accepts a bunch of traditional fiat currencies such as U.S. dollars, euros, Indian rupees and more. It also allows users to pay for products with the following cryptocurrencies:

When you use fiat currencies for payment, the service provider charges a small percentage fee to convert the amount into cryptocurrency. As an example, the service fee for a $10 purchase is 60 cents.

How to use Bitrefill rewards

After every purchase, you can get back 1% to 10% of your payment as a reward in satoshis, the smallest fraction of bitcoin.

While gift card purchases only require an email address, users will need to create an account if they want to redeem the rewards.

For signing up, you will need an email address and a password.

Once you have collected enough rewards, you can use them for payments. Here’s how:

  1. First, make sure you are logged into your account to access the rewards.
  2. Go to the product page, pick an item you want to buy and add to the cart.
  3. When you pay for the cart, change the payment method to Rewards Balance.
  4. Then confirm the payment method on the payment page.

If the amount of your rewards isn’t enough to fund the whole purchase, it’s possible to combine them with another payment method.

For a step-by-step guide, visit Bitrefill’s tutorial.

More from Payments Week:

Blockchains offer unique advantages, but these must be combined with a user experience that feels similar to the one consumers know today, writes Senior Vice President Jose Fernandez da Ponte.

Financial censorship has gone from an abstract idea to a harsh reality for Russians who suddenly found themselves unbanked by the West and their own government.

Down The Silk Road: Where Crypto Has Always Been Used for Payments

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This article was originally published on Apr 29, 2022 at 2:28 p.m. UTC

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Krisztian Sandor is a reporter on the Crypto Explainer+ team. He has written for Forbes and Reuters. He holds BTC and ETH.

Krisztian Sandor is a reporter on the Crypto Explainer+ team. He has written for Forbes and Reuters. He holds BTC and ETH.

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