The social medium post sparked general excitement among crypto enthusiasts, with some saying that they will sign up for the service and others enquiring on the availability of the card and the wallet in certain countries.
XRP was added to the Wirex portfolio this Monday, claiming it is “the only digital money platform that lets you exchange and spend Ripple like traditional currency – in-store and online”. Users of the Wirex app can buy, sell, exchange and deposit XRP. Wirex supports three major fiat currencies: EUR, USD and GBP, so XRP can be exchanged for these. As for cryptocurrencies, XRP can be swapped for 50 supported altcoins, as well as for Bitcoin or Litecoin.
Additionally, users can pay with XRP in brick-and-mortar shops with the physical Wirex Visa card, after converting it to fiat currency, or link the Wirex e-wallet to their other debit or credit cards. The physical Wirex card holders withdraw USD, EUR or GBP from an ATM and make transfers to or from other Wirex users.
Almost all services, including conversion of currencies, are free. There is only a relatively small monthly fee of £1.00/€1.20/$1.50 for account management and fees for cash withdrawals from ATMs.
Wirex claims to have over 1.5 million users and a transaction volume of $1.7 billion. Currently the service is available only for residents of the EEA area (EU+Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein), but Wirex plans to expand to the USA and Canada shortly.
The company issuing the Wirex Visa card, Contis Financial Services, is authorized by the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to issue e-money and holds client funds in segregated accounts.
Crypto-backed physical debit cards are a relatively new concept, but it seems to be gaining popularity. The most notable issuer of such cards (again Visa), is the major crypto exchange Coinbase, but its Coinbase Shift card can be used only in some US states. Other major companies issuing crypto debit cards are Xapo and BitPay.