Nexo, a popular crypto lending platform, has partnered with Mastercard to launch a crypto-backed card. Officially revealed in April, the payment card is tied to Nexo’s Instant Crypto Credit Lines, allowing users to use digital assets as collateral.
And while Nexo isn’t the first in the game when it comes to crypto payment cards, the company has pioneered the crypto-backed card, offering users an innovative way to spend fiat without selling their cryptocurrencies.
A look behind Nexo’s crypto-backed card
Available to users in the European Economic Area (EEA), Nexo’s card acts as an add-on to the platform rather than a standalone service. The card is an extension of Nexo’s Instant Crypto Credit Lines, allowing customers to use their crypto as collateral to get fiat currency they can spend.
The Nexo card enables users to gain instant access to funds they borrowed against their crypto and spend them at any of the 90 million Mastercard merchants around the world. All purchases made with the card are automatically deducted from the user’s available credit line while their portfolio remains intact. The card can use one or multiple assets as collateral and allows users to spend up to 90% of the value of their crypto holdings without selling.
Rates for the Nexo card start from 0% APR and never exceed 13.9% APR. Nexo has positioned its rate significantly lower than traditional credit card companies, whose rates range between 17.99% APR and 25.99% APR.
To enable the 0% APR rate, users need to maintain their loan-to-value (LTV) ratio below 20%. The card requires no minimum monthly repayment and charges no monthly, annual, or inactivity fees.
The perks of the card change with the loyalty tier — basic, silver, gold, and platinum — depending on how much NEXO users hold as a percentage of their whole portfolio balance. Users can enjoy up to €20,000 in free foreign currency transactions each month, depending on the tier. Once users reach their currency exchange limits, they’ll be charged a 0.5% exchange fee on foreign currency transactions until their monthly limit resets.
To incentivize spending, Nexo has introduced a crypto rewards program. With every purchase or ATM withdrawal, users can get up to 0.5% back in Bitcoin or up to 2% back in the platform’s native token, NEXO. Depending on the users’ loyalty tier, they can enjoy up to 10 free ATM withdrawals per month, with every additional withdrawal charged €1.99 until the monthly limit resets.
There is a waiting period for the physical version of the Nexo Card, but users can gain instant access to a virtual card they can add to their devices through Apple Pay or Google Pay. Users can control their balances and manage security through the Nexo app, where they can track transactions, change their PIN, and even freeze their physical card if they lose it.
Another significant advantage the Nexo Card has over other crypto-backed cards on the market is its ability to optimize tax liabilities. Using crypto debit cards requires the underlying digital assets to be sold and converted to fiat, triggering a taxable EEA event. As Nexo’s card uses crypto as collateral and doesn’t sell the tokens, no taxable event occurs.
However, the Nexo Card doesn’t come without its own set of drawbacks.
Despite its attractive offering, the card is available only to Nexo users that live in the European Economic Area. And while Nexo is reportedly working on expanding the list of countries the card is available in, its use is still limited to a relatively small area.
Depending on the interest users pay on the loan, the card’s cost might outweigh its benefits, as getting the 0% APR is tied to obtaining the highest loyalty on Nexo.
Nonetheless, the onset of a bear market and the current price volatility make the Nexo Card an attractive option to users with a steady fiat income.