Updates:

15 October 2020


Referral Disclaimer: This post contains a referral for Crypto.com. This gives you $50 USD equivalent (at the time of signing up) in CRO when you “stake” 1000+ of CRO and get yourself a MCO Visa Card. I will also get the equivalent reward once you stake 1000+ CRO.

In case you end up getting pretty deep into Crypto and you have interest in using the Crypto.com Exchange, here is my Crypto.com Exchange Referral.

Whilst the focus of this post is about the card, the Crypto.com app/ecosystem (where you enter the referral code) does not require you to get a card to use the service. With this being said, I would still appreciate if you could still use the referral, because you will still get the free $50 CRO equivalent “unlocked” if/when you decide to get a card in the future.

Content Disclaimer: This is one of my few posts with content written about an investment vehicle, and by extension, one of my few posts that could result in a reader making decisions that could bring about noticeable risk. It is important that you are aware of the risks in investing and that you understand that your capital is not guaranteed.

The Crypto.com MCO/CRO Visa Card – Review as at October 2020

I’ve been using Crypto.com since March 2020. The Crypto.com app is one of the sleekest apps I’ve used, and I can genuinely see the value in their cryptocurrency, CRO.

Whilst this paragraph might sound like I am suggesting you invest in this cryptocurrency for capital appreciation, that’s not what this post is about. It is in fact, more for Crypto.com’s card products, which require a purchase and stake of a number of CRO.

In particular, if you:

  • Don’t have many Credit Cards in your Country offering good rewards (either cashback or points)
  • Use Spotify, and pay $10+/mth USD for it
  • Want some exposure to cryptocurrency while still deriving “real world” utility

I genuinely think you will derive significant value from this post, and in fact, can probably end up ahead – by getting the 1000 CRO Card.

Is it Available In Your Country?

First things first, it is not available for Malaysian residents, but the card itself can be used anywhere that Visa is accepted. With that being said, I understand at the time of writing this review, those based in Malaysia won’t derive too much value from this (sorry!).

However, it is available to those in Singapore and Australia. Strangely, I can’t find a page that lists all the countries in which the card is available except this page, specifically for European countries. I know that it is also available in Singapore, New Zealand, Australia, and I believe the US and Canada.

How do you get a Crypto.com Card?

In summary:

  1. You download the Crypto.com app (and apply my referral code: a884378z4x, within 7 days of registering!)
  2. Complete all the KYC verification
  3. Order a card, and buy the required CRO for your desired tier
    • You will need to stake the CRO for 6 months
  4. Await delivery
    • At the time of writing, issuance of cards in the APAC region, which affects Singapore, New Zealand and Australia have been halted as Crypto.com are in the process of transitioning to a new card issuer
  5. Start using the card! Note that this is a prepaid card, so you have to ensure you have money on the card before you can spend from it

This card is offered in 1 free tier and 4 paid tiers. The requirements and perks may change from time to time. Here’s the product page where you will find the most current product information.

There are 2 tiers that I’m confident to write about and recommend, and they are the 2 cheaper paid cards, as I believe these two offer the best “risk to reward” ratio. I will not be writing about the two more expensive cards, nor the free one.

The two that I am writing about can be summarised as follows:

  1. The 1000 CRO Card (~$155 USD) with 2% Cashback and 100% CRO Rebate on Spotify
  2. The 10000 CRO Card (~$1550 USD) with 3% Cashback and 100% Rebate on Spotify and Netflix, and Unlimited Access to Airport Lounges via LoungeKey for the Cardholder, 16% p.a. “CRO Interest” paid weekly (equates to 800 CRO over the 6 month staking period)

There is no currency conversion fee, or foreign transaction fee – which is absolutely crucial to the value proposition of all tiers of the cards

Some more intricate details:

  • Spotify and Netflix rebates are capped at $12.99 USD per month
    • This is credited purely based on the presence of the keyword of “Spotify” and/or “Netflix” in the transaction. This means your Spotify/Netflix subscription is not restricted to either a specific tier, nor a specific country. This also means you can subscribe to a higher tier plan and just pay the balance of what exceeds $12.99 USD per month.
      • There may of course be other restrictions imposed by Netflix and/or Spotify, such as geo-restrictions based on IP Address, and restrictions based on the country of your payment card.
  • The remaining benefits after you unstake is a reduced amount of cashback. After unstaking, your CRO cashback will become 1% (1000 CRO) and 1.5% (10000 CRO), while the Unlimited Lounge Access for the 10000 CRO card remains
    • That means you get a smaller amount of cashback, you lose 100% rebated Spotify & Netflix, and you also lose the 16% p.a. CRO Interest
  • No 2-4% surcharge typically imposed by other card products on foreign transaction and/or overseas transactions
    • If this was charged, you would pretty much instantly wipe out the cashback benefit, rendering the cashback worthless!

The 1000 CRO Card vs the 10000 CRO Card

1000 CRO Card


1000CROCard.jpg

If staked, you’re getting:

  • 100% Rebated Spotify
  • 2% Cashback paid in CRO

Unstaked:

  • 1% Cashback paid in CRO (the same as the free tier)

So after unstaking, it’s the same as the free tier? Not quite – you’ll still get higher limits on fee-free ATM withdrawals and “interbank exchange rates monthly limit” – which I believe refers to converting currencies within the app.


The 10000 CRO Card


10000CROCard.jpg

If staked, you’re getting:

  • 100% Rebated Spotify
  • 100% Rebated Netflix
  • 3% Cashback paid in CRO
  • 16% p.a. interest in CRO, paid weekly (or 800 CRO, over an assumed 6 month stake period)
  • Unlimited Lounge Access via LoungeKey for the Cardholder

Unstaked:

  • 1.5% Cashback paid in CRO
  • Unlimited Lounge Access via LoungeKey for the Cardholder

The list of benefits over the 1000 CRO card are somewhat significant. For me personally, I decided to get the 1000 CRO Card, and I won’t lie. My lounge fetish got the better of me.

However, rationally speaking – and for the average Joe – I genuinely would find it hard to recommend the 10000 CRO Card for a $1500 USD investment over the 1000 CRO Card for a $150 USD investment. Doing a quick cost-benefit analysis, it just doesn’t quite feel like the higher tier card is worth putting an additional $1350 USD on the line.

How Good Are The Cards in Australia, Malaysia and Singapore?

I’ve written content on my blog primarily for readers in Australia, Malaysia and Singapore, primarily because these are the markets I am most familiar with. In continuing with this theme, here is my elaboration of the card in each of the respective markets.

The Crypto.com Card in Australia


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A reasonably good option, primarily because there are hardly any cashback cards in Australia.

In addition, because of how much Spotify and Netflix costs in Australia (without considering the possibility of subscribing to overseas plans), the potential “value” you derive from the 100% rebated Spotify and Netflix could be quite substantial.

In particular, I’d like to point out that $12.99 USD is about $18.30 AUD, and a Spotify Family plan is $18.99/mth – so the rebate can almost cover the cost of an Australian Spotify Premium Family Plan.

Looking at the 1000 CRO ($155 USD) card, you could quite realistically “break even” on the Spotify benefit alone in 1 year, assuming you value it at face value.

The breakdown of this assumption is as follows:

  • Cost of Investment: 1000 CRO = $150-170 USD (dependent on the price of CRO at the time of purchase)
  • 100% Spotify Benefit: $12.99 USD/mth
  • Multiplied by 12 months = $12.99 * 12 = $155.88 USD

This is before factoring in the potential additional value you will derive from:

  • The 2% cashback in CRO on transactions made on the card
  • The $50 USD worth of CRO you will receive for using my referral (you can sell this immediately once it is credited, which is once you “stake” 1000 CRO for 6 months to get the Card)
  • The potential to sell CRO after your 6 months staking period is over
  • The potential to split the cost of the Spotify Family Plan with friends/family (although I assume this may be against their T&Cs)

Should you opt for the 10000 CRO Card for an additional $1350 USD investment? Well, out of the three markets I am writing about, Australia feels like the market in which the 10000 CRO Card could make sense, particularly if you travel domestically between major airports often. This is because LoungeKey offer a $36 dining credit at some airport restaurants, which would go some way to offsetting your investment.

Oh – by the way, here’s how you can pay for your rent in Australia with a Credit Card. On the 2% cashback card, it admittedly may not quite be worth the hassle, but it might well be worth it on the 3% cashback card.

Alternatives: Earn some form of loyalty points (think of Qantas, Virgin Velocity, FlyBuys). As an approximation, the percentage return you’d get with these points would range from 0.5-1%.
For cashback, there is really only one other option. The HSBC Card. But what if your transaction exceeds $100, or is an online transaction?


The Crypto.com Card in Singapore


SGflag.png

Singapore is a tough market to crack, because there are numerous ways to get a form of cashback.

However, the Spotify benefit shouldn’t be ignored, but it’s slightly cheaper than Australia. Refer to the maths above, because conceptually, it is exactly the same.

The other thing to consider is the presence of services like RentHero, ipaymy and Cardup. Whilst you could quite possibly use one of the other Credit Cards above, you’ll be gambling on these cards paying cashback for such transactions. Some cards may also delay cashback payment until the end of the month, end of the following month, or even end of the quarter (yes, you – UOB One!), whereas this Crypto.com card pays the cashback immediately.

Alternatives:

Whilst many of these cards have a stated Annual Fee, they are all low-tier, and your success in getting a fee waiver is likely to be quite high.


The Crypto.com Card in Malaysia


MYflag.png

Crucially, it is not available to Malaysian residents, but I guess I can give this section a pretty good, specific review, because I’ve been using it in Malaysia more than anywhere else, since I’ve been here for some time!

There are numerous cards in Malaysia that offer a higher rate of cashback, but all of them have conditions, such as monthly caps, cashback restricted to specific transaction categories, and even day of the week restrictions.

I have tried the card on BigPay, Boost, Touch n Go eWallet and GrabPay. It worked on BigPay, Touch n Go eWallet and GrabPay for a while, but it never worked on Boost – at least it didn’t, from when I tried it.

It does, however, work on FavePay – and it’s not hard to see why. All the ones above have a wallet in which you can hold Ringgit, but Fave doesn’t allow you to hold a balance, so I suspect this is why it still works.

It’s a shame though. It would’ve been amazing had they continued to allow top ups to BigPay, but it’s honestly not hard to see why it was disallowed. I guess I have to say I’m sorry. HAHA.

ipaymy operate in Malaysia too – so you consider that for rental payments!

In terms of the Spotify benefit, it is least beneficial here, given that Spotify in Malaysia has one of the cheapest subscription costs in the world.

Alternatives: Cashback Credit Cards are far too fragmented in Malaysia for me to be able to give any proper, real alternatives. But let me give it a shot.

  • The Visa/MasterCard combination of Public Bank Quantum Cards are quite good, but you’ve got a cap of RM30/mth each, which is really low (for global standards, but the cost of living here is obviously lower)
  • Hong Leong Bank Essential Card which offers 0.4% for the first RM7k, before giving you 1% on expenditure above that
  • Maybank 2 Premier – which offers a Visa/American Express pairing, but awards TREATS Points. However, the value here is the conversion rate to Loyalty Points (Asia Miles/KrisFlyer in particular), but just be aware of the steep annual fee!

In summary, I would conclude that the Crypto.com cards for cashback alone are really good for use in Malaysia. It’s just a shame that you can’t get it here.


Common Concerns/Questions

How do I top up the card?

For Australia: you can either top up in fiat (fiat refers to non-crypto money, or “real” money) currency directly, or you can sell a eligible cryptocurrency to top up the card.

For Singapore: you have to “sell” an “eligible” crypto (BTC/ETH/LTC/XRP) at market rate at the time you wish to do the top up. From my numerous times topping up, I can say that you lose ~0.5%.

For Others: Look it up 🙂 Because it may vary from market to market – but it is probably not too dissimilar to the option above.

What is “Stake” or “Staking”?

It’s cryptocurrency terminology for “locking it away”. You can think of it like a Fixed/Term Deposit. The Crypto.com Cards require a 6 month “stake”.

What happens after my 6 Month Staking Period is Over?

You can either:

  • Unstake, which means you’ll be free to sell the CRO
    • You’ll have a lower amount of cashback, and you’ll lose the 100% rebates on Spotify and/or Netflix
    • You’ll lose 16% p.a. CRO Interest if you have the 10000 CRO Card, however
    • You’ll keep LoungeKey Access!
      or
  • Keep it as it is. This does not require a renewal of the staking period, but you retain the option of unstaking at any time

Tax?

I have not mentioned anything about tax above, but it is definitely something you have to consider. Seek professional advice.

As far as I am aware, there are noticeable tax implications for Australian tax residents, but not for Singapore tax residents.

What if they remove the Spotify/Netflix Rebates?

This offer is launched by Crypto.com independently and there is no partnership between Crypto.com and the merchants in this offer. Crypto.com has the sole discretion to modify this offer at any time.

They have this disclaimer at the bottom of their Card’s Product Page, so it certainly suggests it could change any time. I know that the cap was increased some time ago, but what if it gets removed?

It’s certainly possible, and it would of course significantly change the value proposition of what I am recommending, so it’s something you’ll need to monitor/factor in from time to time.

Why is it called the MCO Card? What’s MCO?

The MCO is a decommissioned coin. It used to be such that you required a stake of MCO instead of CRO. This changed in early August 2020, and for some reason, they haven’t changed the name.

Can you elaborate on the mechanics of the % cashback?

  • It is credited immediately
  • To use an example, a $100 USD transaction will earn you $2 USD in CRO on the 2% cashback card
  • If, at the time of your transaction being made, CRO is:
    • $0.14 USD, you will receive 14.29 units ($2 / $0.14) of CRO
    • $0.15 USD, you will receive 13.3 units ($2 / $0.15) of CRO
    • $0.16 USD, you will receive 12.5 units ($2 / $0.16) of CRO
  • For Spotify, a $17.99 AUD transaction (Spotify Premium Family Plan) will, at the time of writing, cost you $12.70 USD
  • Following the concept above, if CRO is:
    • $0.14 USD, you will receive 90.71 ($12.7 / $0.14) of CRO
    • $0.15 USD, you will receive 84.6 ($12.7 / $0.15) of CRO
    • $0.16 USD, you will receive 79.38 ($12.7 / $0.16) of CRO

The CRO you receive will sit in your digital wallet on the app, meaning it is subject to market fluctuations, until such time that you sell the CRO

  • This means you will somewhat be incentivised to spend more on the card when CRO is considered “cheap”, as you will receive more units of CRO if CRO is cheap
  • The inverse is true when CRO is “expensive”
  • However, this is quite difficult to time – so I wouldn’t consider this aspect too much, unless CRO goes really wild, which hasn’t hapened yet
  • Since CRO became the utility coin for the card almost 2 months ago, the price of CRO has typically fluctuated between $0.15 and $0.17 USD

How do I actually realise value from the cashback?

The most direct way to directly convert it back to “real” money is use the CRO to top up your card again. However, CRO cannot (at the time of writing) be used to top up your prepaid card.

Therefore, the most direct way is to use the rebated CRO in the app to purchase one of the eligible coins for topping up your card (typically BTC/ETH/LTC/XRP – may vary from market to market), and then selling this BTC/ETH/LTC/XRP to your card to “purchase” your “real” money.

Watch out for minimum buy/sell amounts, which will all be communicated to you at the time of attempting the transaction. Also consider tax implications of doing such trades!

How do I actually cash out to my “real” bank account?

You’ll need to look this up, because every market has its own way to do so. However, it’ll typically involve using a platform which has the ability to withdraw directly to your local currency. Just be aware of any applicable fees.

Which Card Do You have?

I personally invested in the 10000 CRO card (when it required a 500 MCO stake) because I was looking for a long-term replacement to my Unlimited LoungeKey Card.


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