Wirex Review

wirex
Wirex card

Cryptocurrency adopters that aren’t interested in holding their tokens forever are looking for ways to utilize them in real life. In this Wirex review, we’re going to have a look if this well-known digital payments app is a useful way for you to actually spend Bitcoin, Ether, and half a dozen more tokens, or is it just another show-off. But first, here’s our short verdict:

Wirex got us really excited about their multi-currency crypto card because it’s a way to practically use our tokens in real-life situations. We’ve had enough of watching digits on our screens just sitting there. And Wirex Visa card is a great and seamless way to spend crypto in-store or online. It has a great cash-back program and savings bonuses. But it seems that it grew too big too fast which is why there’s a slew of recent negative reviews and customer support horror stories. With its “voluntary” decision to stop taking new UK customers, we just can’t recommend their product at the moment. Until they manage to wow their users again, we’d skip Wirex. 

Read all about digital banks on our website and decide which one is for you. 

About Wirex

Wirex is a digital payments platform that was founded in 2014 by Dmitry Lazarichev and Pavel Matveev. It’s a London-based company with offices around the world, including Atlanta, Toronto, Tokyo, and Singapore, and an R&D center in Kyiv.

Wirex was the first in Europe to offer cryptocurrency accounts linked to free physical debit cards and they already have more than 3 and a half million users worldwide. This comes as no surprise as it offers many benefits to, not only crypto enthusiasts but regular users that have no idea what BTC or XLM even are.

The company’s mission is to make crypto more accessible and open to everyone by giving “people the power to seamlessly use their digital and traditional currency wherever they are in the world.” If that sounds good to you, check out what features and benefits it offers to people like you, but also what cons are hindering its success. 

Wirex Features

  • Open an account online in minutes
  • Instant crypto transactions
  • Notifications for all incoming and outgoing transactions
  • Send money to your contacts in seconds
  • Free ATM withdrawals up to £400 per month
  • No account maintenance fees
  • Zero exchange fees

A great thing about digital banks and apps is that you can literally open an account in minutes. The same is true with Wirex. We love the fact that it’s erasing the border between traditional currencies and cryptocurrencies. by instantly switching between your crypto and traditional currency at interbank rates, No fees, and even some savings when compared to competitors. 

This is what we’ve been waiting for, as exchange fees are silently eating our hard-earned dollars. euros, or pounds. If you’re a freelancer, a seasoned traveler, or a business owner, you know what we’re talking about. 

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Great for crypto adopters
  • Realtime point-of-sale conversion
  • Unlimited fee-free foreign exchange
  • Great rewards program
  • Easy spending with their Visa card

Cons

  • BTC transactions can be cheaper elsewhere
  • Bad Trustpilot rating of only 3.4 stars
  • Bad customer service

It’s hard to get away from that Trustpilot rating, unfortunately. Even if the pros were twice as long, once you see a rating below 4, it raises an alarm. Crypto users must be rooting for Wirex to be a solid company as they really provide a great alternative, in principle, to crypto wallets and HODLing tokens indefinitely. 

How is Wirex Regulated?

Wirex is authorized and has a license as an e-money institution in countries where it’s offering its services. For instance, it’s authorized by the Financial Conduct Authority in the UK.

What it doesn’t have though are banking protections from the FDIC Deposit Insurance Scheme nor the UK Financial Services Compensation Scheme. Yet, unlike “real” banks, your money is not used for investment or lending purposes and will not accrue interest, and will instead be safeguarded in segregated accounts. From our understanding, it should be available to withdraw if the company goes under for some reason.

Wirex Accounts

Standard (Free)

  • 0.5% Cryptoback in-store
  • Merchant Offers
  • Free fully-featured cryptocurrency wallets (BTC, LTC, XRP, ETH, WAVES, DAI, NANO, XLM)
  • Free Wirex card
  • No-fee ATM withdrawals up to £400 per month, then 2% fee
  • Unlimited cryptocurrency external transfers
  • Unlimited access to over-the-counter crypto exchange rates
  • Spend in over 150 currencies at the interbank exchange rate
  • No-fee unlimited interbank exchange rates

Premium (£9.99/month paid in WXT)

  • 1% Cryptoback in-store and online
  • 4% annual Savings Bonus on WXT balance (Usual rate 2%)
  • Merchant Offers
  • Free fully-featured cryptocurrency wallets (BTC, LTC, XRP, ETH, WAVES, DAI, NANO, XLM)
  • Free Wirex card
  • No-fee ATM withdrawals up to £400 per month, then 2% fee
  • Unlimited cryptocurrency external transfers
  • Unlimited access to over-the-counter crypto exchange rates
  • Spend in over 150 currencies at the interbank exchange rate
  • No-fee unlimited interbank exchange rates

Elite (£29.99/month paid in WXT)

  • 2% Cryptoback in-store and online
  • 12% annual Savings Bonus on WXT balance (Usual rate 6%)
  • Curated elite offers from merchant partners
  • Free fully-featured cryptocurrency wallets (BTC, LTC, XRP, ETH, WAVES, DAI, NANO, XLM)
  • Free Wirex card
  • No-fee ATM withdrawals up to £400 per month, then 2% fee
  • Unlimited cryptocurrency external transfers
  • Unlimited access to over-the-counter crypto exchange rates
  • Spend in over 150 currencies at the interbank exchange rate
  • No-fee unlimited interbank exchange rates

Which Wirex account should I get?

Because you’re getting a free debit card with every account, the only reasons why you would upgrade to a paid account are the online crypto cashback and the great annual savings bonus rates. These are great benefits you must admit, and depending on how much money you’ll store into your account, it might well be worth the upgrade. 

How do I open an Account?

You can open a Wirex account in minutes and here are the steps:

  1. Go to their website to register or download the app for Android or iOS
  2. Select your country, fill in your email, and create a password
  3. Agree to the terms and conditions
  4. When you receive an email with a confirmation link, open it and follow the link
  5. Confirm your address, personal information, and phone number
  6. You’ll need to verify your identity by uploading the required documents
  7. Once verified, you’ll need to set a memorable word to unlock all Wirex features
  8. You’re now ready to use your new Wirex account
  9. Go get some crypto!

Supported Cryptocurrencies List

Although there are more than 4,000 (!) cryptocurrencies in the world, not all of them are useful or desirable. Quite the contrary. But Wirex has a mix of well-known and beneficial cryptos for you to buy, sell and hold. Here’s the current list.

  • Europe: BTC, LTC, XRP, ETH, WAVES, WLO, DAI, NANO, XLM, WXT
  • Asia-Pacific: BTC, LTC, XRP, ETH, WXT, XLM, DAI, NANO
  • All Other Regions: BTC, LTC, XRP, ETH, WXT, DAI

Cryptoback Rewards

Cryptoback is Wirex’s take on cashback. You use your Wirex card in your local shop or online, and you get up to 2% cashback but in cryptocurrency, more specifically, in WXT. Cryptoback rewards are paid into the Rewards Account in the app.

You’re free to do whatever you wish with that amount, ie. spend, exchange or HODL.

In 2020, Wirex rewarded the equivalent of 20 Bitcoins to its users. Doesn’t seem like much when you put it that way, but that was the equivalent of $600,000! Seems like Wirex users love to spend their crypto a lot!

What is WXT?

WXT is Wirex’s own cryptocurrency or token. Anyone can buy it or sell it on a crypto exchange just like you can any other token. It’s used mainly for Cryptoback Rewards though. You spend money, you get WXT back into your account.

It operates on the Stellar platform and has a current supply of 10 billion with 2,3 billion in circulation. It is a utility token and not a security token. Meaning, that by buying WXT you’re not buying equity in Wirex nor is it dependent on Wirex performance. It is very much independent and a subject to the market’s movements.

The company says that more than 230,000 people bought WXT in 2020. That is a respectable amount of people. 

You can find more info on their website’s WXT FAQ page.

Savings Bonus

One of the best benefits of having a Wirex account is the Savings Bonus. You’ll have to upgrade to Premium or Elite though as the free account doesn’t offer this feature.

The standard annual Savings Bonuses on the WXT balance is 2% or 6% respectively, which is not too bad actually. At the time of writing this Wirex review, they were running a double bonus promotion where Premium account holders get 4% for the first three months, and Elite get 12%.

Mastercard Offers

Wirex is offering discounts with select online merchants in association with Mastercard. Here are the merchants that were offering discounts at the moment of writing: Zavvi, Farfetch, IWOOT, Yoox, The Hut, Look Fantastic, Mankind, and All Sole. You can check out this page for current promotions.

Is my Money Safe With Wirex?

Wirex is regulated in each country where it does business, but it’s not insured by the government institutions if something should happen with the company. Wirex uses 256-bit SSL for all communications and requires a two-factor authentication plus you get instant notifications when receiving or transferring funds.

Some customers have expressed in reviews that their accounts were frozen or that they were blocked from using the app. There’s also mention of hard to reach customer support. From our experience, there’s no digital bank out there that doesn’t have the same complaints from some of the users.

As these neobanking companies expand too quickly, sometimes they lag with people power to follow the expansion, especially in the customer support and security departments.

Probably for this reason they had to temporarily stop enrolling new UK customers in March of 2021. They say that “the pause is a temporary measure and follows constructive dialogue with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), the UK regulator.”

So, what does all this mean for you? Although Wirex funds aren’t insured by governments, they do follow all the regulations, and users’ money is stored in separate ring-fenced bank accounts. With all these facts, we can conclude that your money is safe and that you should get it back if the company goes belly up, without going through a lengthy litigation process.

Competitors

Revolut

This well-known digital bank allows you to invest in cryptos but the downside is that it isn’t the best when it comes to using your tokens. In fact, you can’t pay for anything with them. You can buy, sell, and sit on them. Also, none of the ten or so tokens can be sent to a different wallet, only to other Revolut accounts. The company says that they’re working on it without an ETA. 

Coinbase

The biggest and best-known crypto exchange in the world has an unbelievable valuation of well above $100 billion according to recent reports. It also has a Visa card that allows you to spend your crypto in millions of stores worldwide. You can choose which crypto you’ll use to spend with instant transactions and payments. It isn’t the cheapest way to spend your tokens as you’ll have to cover an issuance fee of £4.95 and a cryptocurrency exchange fee of 2.49%.

I wanted to list a couple of more Wirex competitors, but at the moment it’s slim pickings. All other crypto digital payments apps or cards seem to have major issues in communicating with their customers and although they sound great on paper, you shouldn’t get fooled by them. 

The Bottom Line

There’s not much to say except that we hope that Wirex works out their kinks in the fastest time possible because we really love the app’s/card’s features, for example, the Cryptoback Rewards and the great Savings Bonuses. Although we don’t recommend them at the moment, please do check out their website and decide for yourself if they are worthy to HODL your hand.