Best Crypto Rewards Cards 2022 (Detailed Analysis)

DCV - February 15, 2022


Hi! In this article, I will talk in detail about 8 different crypto rewards cards one by one, explain some of the nuances between them and then summarize all the information to compare them at the end. I’ll cover both debit and credit cards and the information will be separated by cards that are currently available and a couple that are slated to come out this year.

Just as a quick disclaimer, the info I present here is accurate as of the writing of this post and as fast as the crypto industry moves, terms are subject to change. And, of course, none of this is financial advice and you should always do your own research before making any financial decisions. Alright, let’s get started.

Overview

Here are the cards that I researched and are listed in no particular order:

I decided to talk only about the first 8 since the FTX card doesn’t actually give any cashback rewards at this time. I’ll first go through the first 6 which are currently available to the public and then I’ll go over Celsius and Gemini which should be coming out this year. All of the cards have zero monthly or annual fees and also sport no foreign transaction fees. All sources of information can be seen in the description below.

Before going into each card, I’d like to go over a couple of concepts very quickly. First, is the difference between a debit/prepaid card and a credit card. For all intents and purposes, I’ll use the terms debit and prepaid interchangeably but all it means is that a user needs to already have the funds in their account before using the card. The user can "top up" their card by adding more funds to their card account.

Credit is different in that the user doesn’t necessarily have the funds in their account and they are effectively borrowing the money from the card issuer and then paying that money back at the end of the billing period.

The next concept to briefly explain is how rewards work. Users buy stuff with the card and get back a percentage of their spending amount in either cash or crypto. Sometimes, the rewards are referred to as cashback. Some companies offer the rewards in their company’s token or widely accepted crypto like Bitcoin or Ethereum. All of the card issuers are different in this regard.

Alright, with that in mind, let’s start off by talking about the BlockFi credit card.

1. BlockFi Credit Card

BlockFi is a centralized crypto exchange that was a pioneer in issuing crypto backed loans in the U.S. Their rewards card is a Visa credit card that can be applied for with a BlockFi account and requires KYC or “Know your Customer” verification.

For now, BlockFi is only for U.S. residents although they have plans on changing that in the future. The rewards rate on all purchases for this credit card is 1.5% and users can choose to receive those rewards in Bitcoin and any other crypto currency supported on the BlockFi platform. Also, the rewards are paid out monthly.

Some bonus benefits are that for the first 3 months of using the card, users can enjoy 3.5% cashback on purchases instead of 1.5%. Also, users can get 0.25% back on trades on the platform and that’s redeemed in Bitcoin.

This is the daily card that I’m using right now. It’s been easy to use and I’ve been receiving my Bitcoin rewards monthly with no issues. The app interface is great for tracking purchases, switching the reward currency, and paying the card balance. The card balance is paid with fiat currently but BlockFi has plans to allow the user to pay with crypto in the future.

Interest is charged to the card balance at a variable rate depending on the user’s credit score. I’m currently paying about ~17% in interest although I pay my card balance off every month. Overall, I’m pretty happy with the card. Sign up for an account here to get $30 in BTC after depositing crypto.

The next card I’ll talk about is the Coinbase debit card.

2. Coinbase Debit Card

Coinbase is one of the biggest centralized exchanges in crypto and is the first crypto company to get listed as a public stock. The crypto rewards card that they offer is a Visa debit card. Here’s how it works:


  • Users deposit crypto or fiat into their Coinbase account.
  • They select which crypto or fiat to use when buying things with the card. This is easily done through the app. There is a 2.49% fee for buying with crypto like Bitcoin or Ethereum and this may be a taxable event. So most users elect to buy with fiat OR with USDC which don’t incur any fees.
  • Rewards are paid to the user when transactions are complete. This is usually between 1-5 days.
  • Once the balance is too low, users will have to top up their funds to further use the card.

Currently, reward rates are as follows. Users get:


  • 1% cashback in Bitcoin, Ethereum, Doge, or DAI if they choose these currencies. Or they get.
  • 4% cashback in Stellar (XLM), Graph (GRT), Amp (AMP), or Rally (RLY).

Most users say it is smart to receive the cashback in XLM and then convert it to a desired currency. However, this strategy is subject to the conversion spread on Coinbase so maybe the effective reward rate is closer to 3% or something like that. It's also possible to transfer the XLM elsewhere and then convert it which may result in less transaction costs.

Since this is a debit card, users don’t have to pay interest on anything. The Coinbase card is available to residents of Europe and the U.S. but the rewards are only for U.S. residents as of right now.

3. SoFi Credit Card

The next card is the SoFi Mastercard. SoFi is an online personal finance company that provides services like banking, stock investing, loans, and, of course, crypto purchases. SoFi offers a credit card that rewards users with a 2% cashback rate which can be redeemed for cash to the user’s account or fractional shares in stocks. The rewards are accrued in SoFi points that the user can redeem.

Recently, they allowed users to auto convert the rewards into crypto as well. So far, the rewards can be redeemed in Bitcoin or Ethereum and can be auto redeemed every month or manually redeemed whenever the transaction settles.

I do have SoFi investment and banking accounts where I hold fiat and stocks. Their mobile interface is less easy to use than BlockFi and Coinbase but it’s not too bad. What is great about having a SoFi account though is that they can act like a fiat on and off ramp for virtually any centralized crypto exchange.

In my experience, I’ve used them to connect with Crypto.com, Celsius, BlockFi and more with no problems. They succeed where banks like Wells Fargo, Barclay’s, and Chase fail in allowing me to transfer fiat to crypto exchanges. Sign up for a money account here to get $25 in cash.

Back to SoFi’s credit card though, they charge anywhere from 13-25% interest on the card balance and that rate depends on the user's credit score. The card balance can only be repaid by using fiat.

4. Venmo Credit Card

The next card is Venmo’s Visa credit card. Venmo is a subsidiary of the Paypal company and is an app that allows users to pay each other cash. Recently, they’ve also allowed users to purchase crypto through the app. I wasn’t aware Venmo offered a credit card but I think it’s worth mentioning.

The Venmo credit card offers a tiered rewards structure where 3% is rewarded for purchases on groceries, 2% is rewarded on bills and utilities, and finally, 1% for everything else.

Users can set their rewards to be automatically converted into crypto and the ones currently supported for rewards are Bitcoin, Litecoin, Bitcoin Cash, and Ethereum. However, the auto conversion from rewarded cash to crypto is subject to a spread on the purchase so that reduces the rewards a little. The rewards get redeemed at the end of every month.

The Venmo credit card charges anywhere from about 15-24% interest on the card balance that depends on the user's credit score. The card balance can only be repaid by using fiat.

5. Crypto.com Debit Card

The next card is a very interesting one and that’s the Crypto.com Visa debit card. Why is this one interesting you ask? That’s because it has multiple tiers to it and can potentially reward spending at an 8% rate.

The catch is that, in order to get that 8% reward rate, the user has to be staking the Crypto.com native token, CRO. Specifically, they have to stake $400,000 worth of CRO. Currently, the different tiers on this card are as follows:


  • 1% reward rate on purchases with no CRO staked
  • Stake $400 worth of CRO to get 2% back on purchases
  • Stake $4,000 worth of CRO to get 3% back
  • Stake $40,000 worth of CRO to get 5% back
  • Stake $400,000 worth of CRO to get 8% back

The other caveat is that the rewards are instantly paid out but ONLY in the CRO token. Of course, a user can convert their CRO into whatever currency they want on the Crypto.com app but they are again subject to the spread which may reduce the reward rate.

Other benefits of this card include potential complementary subscriptions to Netflix, Spotify, Amazon Prime and also discounts on Airbnb and Expedia depending on the tier.

Users can top up their funds on this card with crypto or with fiat.

If you’re a user that is already bullish on the CRO token and are holding a good amount of it, this is potentially a good card for you.

6. Nexo Rewards Card

The final card that is out in the public, although in the limited public, is the Nexo Visa reward card. It’s currently being beta tested in Europe and will be released to the general public soon. This card is different from the rest in that it’s not quite a debit card and not quite a credit card.

In short though, it’s basically a card manifestation of Nexo’s borrow feature. It kind of acts like a debit card in that users already need to have funds deposited into their Nexo wallet but it also acts like a credit card in that users are charged interest when using the funds.

You may think that sounds like a crappy debit card. While on the surface that’s true, it allows the user to spend their crypto without having to sell it. At the same time, although this is not tax advice, there may be favorable tax implications because technically this is a loan and the user isn’t selling their crypto to fiat to purchase something.

The rewards for buying stuff with the Nexo card are 2% cashback if the user redeems in Nexo tokens and 0.5% cashback if the user redeems in Bitcoin.

Finally, if the user is bullish on Nexo tokens and holds at least 10% of their portfolio in Nexo, they can use their card and be charged zero interest on it.

The rewards are paid instantly and the interest rates currently range from 0 to 13.9% depending on how much Nexo tokens the user owns.

Like the Crypto.com card, if the user believes in the Nexo platform and holds Nexo tokens, this might be a good candidate card for them.

If you want to learn more about the Nexo card, I've made a YouTube video explaining it in depth:

7+8. Celsius and Gemini Credit Cards

Alright, the previous 6 rewards cards are available to the public. The next two are not but are highly anticipated and are slated to come out this year. I’m just including them so people can keep an eye out.

The two cards are the Celsius Visa card and the Gemini Mastercard. Both are credit cards.

For Celsius, there aren’t really any specific details on the reward rates or the interest rates charged on the card balance right now. All they are promising is that there will be no fees whatsoever and that the user can repay the card balance with fiat, stablecoins, or with crypto rewards from their earn program.

For Gemini, there are a bit more details. Rewards are instant with the completion of a purchase and start at 1% for general purchases, then increase to 2% for groceries purchases, and then 3% for dining purchases. Users can choose between Bitcoin and 50+ other cryptocurrencies available on the Gemini platform as rewards. The interest rate on the card balance will be 13-24% depending on the user’s credit score.

Summary

Click image to enlarge.

So that brings us to this master table of all the different aspects of each card. Each column corresponds to a different card and each row displays information on a specific detail for that card. I omitted Celsius since there isn’t much information on that card right now.

The card type indicates whether it is a Visa or Mastercard and differentiates if it is a debit or credit card.

The rewards cashback tells how much in a percentage the user gets in cashback or crypto-back depending on their purchases. This number ranges from 0.5% to 8% but mostly it’s in the 1%-4% range.

The reward currency are the options or currency the user can choose to receive their rewards in. Basically, all cards allow rewards in Bitcoin except for Crypto.com.

The rewards payout is the frequency at which the rewards are paid out. This is either instant or close to instant or monthly.

The interest rate on the card balance row only applies to credit cards and the Nexo card. It is the interest rate that is charged on any unpaid card balance or in Nexo’s case, any balance period.

Finally, the “currency for repayment or top up with” row indicates what currency the user can pay back the card balance with if it is a credit card and what currency the user can top up their funds with in the case of a debit card. Every card allows fiat.

Which One is the Best?

So which one is the best? Of course, that depends as it always does. If I’m bullish on the CRO token and I’m a big fan of the Crypto.com platform, then it may be wise to accumulate CRO and stake it to receive a high percentage back on my purchases using the card.

If I’m bullish on Nexo and hold a bunch of Nexo tokens, I can potentially get a 0% loan and utilize my crypto without having to sell it. At the same time, I will get Nexo tokens cashback from my purchases.

If I’m not bullish on either of those, then Coinbase has the best rewards cashback rate at 4%. However, if I don’t want the rewards in Graph, Stellar etc., then I’ll have to manually convert it to a currency that I do want and there may be some transaction costs associated with that that would bring down my rewards rate.

Moreover, depending on how I want to spend, I may want to use multiple cards. For example, I’ll just use Venmo for groceries to get the 3% cashback and then the SoFi card for everything else to get the 2% cashback.

Alright, I hope this article has cleared up some things for you. Check out the video version of this post here:



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