The first days of the New Year came with an unpleasant surprise for many if not all users of Visa debit cards powered by Bitcoin and/or other crypto currencies as services such as Wirex and Xapo among others just stopped working. The reason was not known at first apart from the fact that the issuer of the actual Visa prepaid cards, a company called WaveCrest, has deactivated them after getting instructed to do so directly from Visa. WaveCrest is the Visa debit card partner for many services offering Bitcoin or other crypto currency wallets that can be accessed and funds in them used through the prepaid debit cards. Below is a quote of the email message sent from WaveCrest to all its customers regarding the issue, not many details revealed as of the reason for cards getting deactivated.
We, WaveCrest, are the issuer of your Visa Prepaid card, which you have enrolled for through one of our program partners. Visa have today instructed us that we must close all WaveCrest issued Visa Prepaid Cards with immediate effect.
How will this affect you?
Your WaveCrest-issued Visa Prepaid Card will no longer function. However, as your funds were stored in your e-wallet they will remain accessible to you via your wallet provider.
We thank you for your cooperation.
Services such as Wirex and Xapo are still working and offering their customers access to their funds, though the plastic or virtual cards issued by them are no longer operating while they find another solution with another issues of debit cards. If you are using any other service that is offering a prepaid Visa debit card powered by crypto currencies and it has stopped working suddenly, then the reason is most likely the same – they have used WaveCrest as the card issuer as well. If you are using a service that still has functioning Visa prepaid debit card powered by BTC or another crypto please feel free to share the name of the service as most likely they are using an alternative card issuer. The chances are however that other Visa card issuers like WaveCrest might have also received the same order from Visa to shut down the cards of their crypto partners.
On a side note, we are hearing that in some European countries more and more banks are starting to refuse to accept banks transfers coming from crypto exchanges after being advised to do so from their central banks. Apparently there is something cooking in the EU regarding crypto and this year we might actually see some sort of regulation coming up on a European Union level and we are yet to see if it will be for good or for bad.