Going from cryptocurrencies, especially altcoins, to cash can be difficult. So we’ve compared the best solutions on the market for exchanging Bitcoin and altcoins to make your life a little easier.
Over the past week, Bitcoin and altcoin values have dropped dramatically. A month ago, the price of Bitcoin climbed above $3,000 USD for the first time, but on Sunday it dropped as low as $1,863.22 and remains below June’s lowest value at the time of writing. Ethereum, which reached nearly $400 in June, is now trading at half that value. And just about all other cryptocurrencies experienced a similar decline.
A cursory glance at the news coverage reveals a number of possible causes for this drop – which has seen the total cryptocurrency market capitalization decrease from a mid-June high of $115 billion to as little at $61 billion at its lowest point (so far) – but the most likely culprit is the imminence of SegWit, scheduled for August 1st.
In light of the past week (which some are preemptively calling a crash) we’ve decided to take a look at the best solutions available for cryptocurrency exchanges, and which services you can use to send Bitcoin to your Payza e-wallet or to acquire altcoins that you can later sell to Payza.
Since there are so many to choose from – hundreds of different exchanges which might seem indistinguishable to the casual Bitcoin user – we’ve collected the results from 10 different recent Best-Of lists from leading crypto publications, including Bitcoinist, The Merkle and 99 Bitcoins, to create the ultimate Top 5 list:
Unlike most others on this list, Gemini is a fully regulated exchange licensed in the US, meaning that they’re held to a similar set of rules and standards as a bank. Gemini sports a great, minimalist user interface but you can only trade in Bitcoin, Ether and USD and the service is only available in 42 states, Canada, the UK, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore and South Korea.
PROS: Highly secure, user-friendly design, great analytics tools, no deposit or withdrawal fees.
CONS: Limited to USD, BTC and ETH, available in only a handful of locations.
Founded in London, England in 2013, CEX.IO trades in most major cryptocurrencies and support USD, EUR, GBP and RUB fiat currencies. The platform is intuitive and user-friendly but also powerful enough for professional traders, and has a good reputation for security.
PROS: Accepts credit cards, mobile-friendly, worldwide availability.
CONS: Long verification process, high deposit fees, limited customer support.
Making it onto over half of our lists, Bitstamp is the oldest exchange standing, having launched back in 2011. Both EUR and USD are accepted and multiple deposit methods (including credit card) are supported. As the third-largest Bitcoin exchange by volume, Bitstamp is a very reliable option.
PROS: Well-known for reliability, accepts credit cards, fee structure makes it a good choice for large transactions.
CONS: Poor user interface not recommended for beginners, can only trade Bitcoin for fiat currencies.
Founded in 2012, Coinbase is a customer-centric exchange, meaning it’s an excellent place for people new to cryptocurrency. It’s one of the most popular solutions around because of its low transaction fees and ease-of-use, but Coinbase only supports a limited amount of features, currencies and countries.
PROS: User friendly, low fees, stored currency is insured, a variety of deposit and withdrawal methods supported.
CONS: Limited availability, only supports Bitcoin, Ether and Litecoin.
Almost as old as Bitstamp, Kraken was founded in 2011 as a Bitcoin exchange, and only recently expanded into altcoins. Unlike most on this list which require you to exchange fiat currencies to and from Bitcoin before trading in other altcoins, Kraken allows Ether, Ripple, ZCash, Monero and several others to be traded for fiat currency.
PROS: Reliable, supports a variety of trading pairs between cryptos and EUR or USD, low withdrawal fees.
CONS: High deposit fees, not the most intuitive design (recommended for experienced traders).
There is no shortage of Bitcoin and altcoin exchanges and opinion is very divided on which ones are superior. No exchanges appeared on more than 8 of the 10 “top exchanges” lists we consulted, so some reviewers found reasons to leave exchanges like Kraken and Coinbase off some lists.
Be careful if you decide to choose an exchange not on this list. Many other popular exchanges, such as Poloniex and Bittrex, do not support any fiat currencies and can only be used to exchange between different cryptos, meaning you won’t be able to sell your coins for cash.
Payza Unveils a Better Solution
If you’re frustrated by the lack of solutions on the market to turn Bitcoin and altcoins into cash, Payza has a great new option for you. The Payza Card and Payza cryptocurrency loading options let you go from cryptocurrency to cash in a matter of minutes. And we’re working on ways to make that process even smoother! Order your own Payza Card today and find out just how fast and simple it can be to turn digital money into cold hard cash.
PROS: Instant exchanges, load cryptocurrencies to the Payza Card instantly, over 50 cryptocurrencies and over 190 countries supported.
CONS: Identity verification is required to use Payza’s cryptocurrency services.
Whoever coined the phrase “cash is king” probably wasn’t talking about international travel. There are so many reasons NOT to carry cash internationally that an entire industry has been built on providing alternatives – with the downside that, once you’ve booked your flight, it can be hard to decide what the best form of travel money for your trip is.
While cash is arguably the easiest option, major credit cards are accepted all over the world, and traditional traveler’s checks were developed for precisely this reason, these days the secret weapon of the savvy traveler is prepaid cards. Prepaid card technology isn’t new (the first prepaid cards became available around 30 years ago) but they’re finally reaching their potential: for the past few years they’ve been the biggest growth story in the payments landscape, topping 10 billion annual purchases as of 2015, and showing impressive 67% growth since 2009.
Let’s compare the most popular options and see how prepaid cards stack up:
The quickest way to have money on hand when traveling is to take it out of an ATM. But unless you can accurately estimate how much cash you are going to need during your trip, you may find yourself returning to the ATM often and incurring hefty currency exchange fees from your bank as well as foreign withdrawal fees from the machine. Withdrawing a large amount in order to avoid this problem raises issues of its own, you run the risk of having your cash stolen or losing it in your travels.
Traveler’s checks were designed as an early replacement for cash – simply put, these are checks that can be used in the same way as cash, but which requires you to provide proof of identity and signature verification in order to use it. Traveler’s checks let you carry a high value of “cash” without the same risks. But there are still other drawbacks; it can be hard to accurately estimate how much you are going to need for your trip and, depending on your bank, this method may come with high transaction fees of its own.
The biggest drawback for traveler’s checks though is that they are rapidly becoming obsolete. The seasoned traveler will find that traveler’s checks are not as universal as they used to be; just like a regular paper check, fewer and fewer businesses are accepting this form of payment in the age of more modern payment schemes.
The classic solution, as exemplified by the fact that most major hotels will require it as a form of payment, is credit cards. A major advantage of credit cards is that, because you pay them back later, you don’t have to worry about budgeting ahead of time or running out of money. Credit card providers are also highly competitive when it comes to the travel money segment, so many cards will offer a combination of travel insurance, travel discounts and loyalty points as incentives.
But even credit cards come with drawbacks: there is no protection from debt, as you can easily spend well above your intended budget; there are usually high foreign transaction fees when using a credit card away from home; and if you lose your card, there’s a chance that almost anybody can use your it to buy whatever they want, giving you a headache to sort out with your credit card company.
That brings us to prepaid cards – the increasingly widespread, highly effective solution to your travel money concerns. As “closed loop” cards limited to a defined group of retailers fall out of fashion, general purpose re-loadable (GPR) cards, are growing rapidly in popularity. These cards can be used almost anywhere credit cards are accepted, making them just as convenient for travelers. Young adults are using these cards strictly to limit their budgets and in the post-recession world, many people of all ages are finding them to be an ideal solution for making card payments without accumulating credit card debt.
Specifics vary depending on the issuer, but prepaid cards are generally purchased, activated and then loaded with the amount of funds you’re going to need. Typically, you can reload them remotely via online banking or e-wallet and they offer the same liability protections as traditional credit cards.
Prepaid cards provide all the same advantages as other travel money options while eliminating the downsides. It’s still recommended to carry a small amount of cash for cash-only transactions such as coffee and cab fare, and to have a credit card for hotels and others places that may only accept credit, but for everything else, prepaid cards are the solution to all your travel money needs.
The rapid growth of prepaid card adoption shows the appeal of this product. For your next trip, consider using the Payza Card to help you budget for your expenses, keep your money secure, and keep your transaction fees to a minimum. For instructions on how to order your Payza Card, visit the Payza Reference Center.
The Payza Card puts your money in your hands. With no monthly fee and pay-as-you-go transaction fees, our prepaid MasterCard-branded card is an affordable alternative to a traditional checking account. Payza is committed to supporting local payment options for our users all around the world and the Payza Card allows us to provide versatility for our members who want to use their Payza funds online, in-store, or simply withdraw it from an ATM. For more information about the Payza Card, be sure to subscribe to our blog.
The Payza Card is one of our most popular products. It gives our members in over 190 countries a simple way to access the money in their Payza accounts and use those funds to shop online or in-person. The Payza Card can also be used at most ATMs, putting cash right in your hand.
Our customer support team gets asked more questions about the Payza Card than about any other feature. To help answer these questions we recently put together this handy guide to using your Payza Card. You can also visit the Payza Card section of the Payza Personal Manual for more details on how to order and use the Payza Card.
Ordering Your Payza Card
To order a Payza Card, first make sure your Payza account is verified. Only members with verified accounts will be able to order the card.
Once your account is verified, just follow these steps to order your own Payza Card:
- In your Payza account, click “Wallet” in the left side menu, then select “Prepaid Cards”.
- Click “Order your Card”.
- Select the type of card you would like to order and personalize it with your name if desired, then click “Next”.
- If necessary, upload a Photo ID and Proof of Address document then click “Next”. Your documents must be in .JPG or .PDF format and less than 3 MB in size.
- Confirm your shipping address, then click “Next”.
- Enter your Payza Transaction PIN then click “Order” to confirm your request.
Activating the Payza Card
Once your card arrives in the mail, the first thing you will need to do is to activate it by following these steps:
- In your Payza account, open the “Wallet” menu (on the left side) and select “Prepaid Cards”.
- Under the “Status” heading, select “Activate”.
- Enter the first 12 digits appearing on your card (the last 4 digits will already be entered).
- Create a unique Payza Card PIN and click “Confirm”.
- Click “Activate Card” to complete the activation process.
Please note: Your Payza Card PIN is not the same as your Payza Transaction PIN. We recommend choosing a different number to ensure maximum security.
Loading Your Payza Card
Now that your card is activated, it can be used just about anywhere you would use a traditional credit card. Of course, your starting balance on the card will be $0, so first you’ll have to load funds onto it. To load funds, simply create a withdrawal transaction in your Payza account and select Payza Prepaid Card as your withdrawal method. Just follow these three steps to load your card:
- In your Payza account, open the “Withdraw Funds” top menu, then select “Payza Prepaid Card”.
- Select the currency balance you’d like to withdraw from and the amount of funds to load onto your card.
- Review the details and click “Withdraw” to confirm your transaction.
Please note: The Payza Card is currently available in US Dollars only. However, you can load your Payza card from a non-USD currency balance and we will exchange the currency into USD within your account. You can also make Payza Card payments in other currencies and the currency exchange will be conducted by Payza.
It is important to remember that you cannot load the Payza Card using funds added to your Payza account by credit card. This constitutes a cash advance which is not permitted by the Payza User Agreement.
Using Your Payza Card
Once your card has been activated and loaded with funds, you can begin using it immediately almost anywhere you can use a standard credit or debit card: online, in stores, and at most ATMs. Here’s how to use the Payza Card in each of these cases.
Making a payment online with your Payza Card is the same process as using a traditional credit card. You will be required to provide basic information such as your name, the card number and the expiration date in order to make a purchase. You may in some cases also be asked for your billing address: in this case, simply enter your address as it appears in your Payza account.
In-store purchases using your Payza Card are no different from using a standard debit or credit card. Depending on the merchant’s POS (Point-Of-Sale) terminal, you will simply need to either swipe your card or insert it into the card reader, confirm the purchase amount, and enter your PIN to complete the transaction instantly.
Most ATMs that accept MasterCard will allow you to withdraw funds from your Payza Card. To withdraw from the card, just follow these steps:
- Insert your card into any ATM that accepts MasterCard.
- When prompted, enter your PIN.
- When asked for the account type, select “Checking”.
- Complete your withdrawal by following the instructions provided by the ATM.
Solving Transactions Issues
If your Payza Card transaction fails, please ensure the following three things before contacting Payza for further assistance:
- You have sufficient funds loaded onto your card.
- You are using the correct Payza Card PIN (which may differ from your Payza Transaction PIN).
- For online purchases, you are entering the name as it appears in your Payza account, even if it is different from your name as printed on your Payza Card.
If you have ruled these causes out and your transaction has still failed, please contact our Customer Support Team directly for further assistance. If you made an in-store or online purchase with your card and would like a refund or return, you should contact the merchant directly. If they are unwilling or unable to refund your purchase, you can contact our Customer Support Team for further assistance.
As we continue to increase our commitment to local payment options, the Payza Card will be made available to more customers all around the world. For more information about the Payza Card and other Payza products and features, please visit the Payza Reference Center and be sure to subscribe to our blog.
Last week, Payza announced that along with Bitcoin members can now sell altcoins such as Ethereum, Ripple, Dash, Litecoin, Monero and dozens more to fund their Payza accounts and load their Payza Cards. In this post, we’ll take a closer look at how this new feature works.
Add Funds by Altcoin
Verified Payza members from most countries can now sell over 50 different altcoins to Payza. Completing an altcoin exchange is simple and takes less than a minute, here’s how to get started:
1) In your Payza account, click “Add Funds” in the top menu, then select “Altcoin”.
2) Select the altcoin to exchange and the deposit amount in altcoin. Click “Next”.
3) Review the details, enter your Transaction PIN, and click “Deposit”.
4) Payza will provide you with a unique altcoin address for you to send your altcoins and a set of instructions for completing your transaction.
While you will be shown an exchange rate for your transaction, please note that this rate will only be finalized once your transaction has been confirmed and your altcoins have been received. The final rate may be higher or lower than the initial exchange rate, depending on whether the market value of the altcoin has changed.
Read more about converting altcoins in the Payza Reference Center: How Do I Add Funds by Altcoin?
Important: You must create a new deposit and generate a new altcoin address for each Add Funds by Altcoin transaction. You will not be able to send future deposits to this altcoin address.
Loading Your Payza Card
If you already have a Payza Card, you can now load it with funds you earned by selling altcoins. As soon as those funds are received by Payza, you can instantly load them to your Payza Card. The same is true for funds you earned by selling or exchanging Bitcoin.
To load your Payza Card, just follow these steps:
1) In your Payza account, click “Withdraw Funds” in the top menu, then select “Payza Prepaid Card”.
2) Select the currency balance and the amount.
3) Review the details and click “Withdraw” to confirm your transaction.
This is the current process, but Payza’s team of developers is hard at work creating a simple, one-step cryptocurrency to Payza Card loading option. This option will give cryptocurrency enthusiasts a safe and easy way to turn coins into spendable cash in a matter of minutes.
Payza Cards can be used almost anywhere credit cards are accepted: online, in-stores, and even at most ATMs.
Payza members can now use altcoins as an e-wallet funding method. Members in most countries can now sell Ethereum, Ripple, Litecoin, Dash, Monero, Zcash and dozens of other cryptocurrencies to Payza.
Recently, Payza announced full Bitcoin support. Now, Payza has added altcoins as a deposit option, letting verified members sell the most popular Bitcoin alternatives. Over 50 different altcoins can now be exchanged with Payza, the full list can be found by accessing the altcoin deposit option within your Payza Account.
Payza members with a Payza Card can use funds added by altcoin to load the prepaid cards, giving them a simple way to turn altcoins into US Dollars that can be spent online, in-stores, or withdrawn from most ATMs.
Payza is committed to giving our members a complete online payments solution, and that means incorporating Bitcoin and other popular cryptocurrencies into our platform. Providing our members with a way to sell altcoins to Payza is one more step in the direction of complete Bitcoin and altcoin support within the Payza platform.
In the future, Payza members will also be able to buy altcoins, similar to how they can currently buy Bitcoin from Payza. Our team is also working on a one-step Payza Card loading option that will allow members with a Payza Card to load it with funds from Bitcoin or altcoin exchanges in just one action. This new feature will bypass the need to first send those funds to a Payza Account, and then load them onto the card.
The list of altcoins that Payza accepts for exchanges will be constantly growing as more cryptocurrencies gain popularity. *For the launch, the following altcoins can be sold to Payza.
*This list has been updated on July 25, 2017.