You might have heard about Wirex when looking for the best crypto debit card, something to connect and use your crypto holdings in day-to-day expenses.
But their features run much deeper than that, and in this article, I’m gonna give you a rundown on the good, the bad, and the ugly when it comes to using Wirex, from my own personal experience with them.
Since I wanted to go really in-depth for this Wirex review, the article will be on the longer side, so I’ve broken it down into specific sections, - read it all or feel free to jump around to the part that interests you most.
- What is Wirex?
- Who are they (a bit of history)
- How safe are they
- Wirex products and features explained
- Pricing of their plans
- Does Wirex have apps (which operating systems, are they any good)?
- Does Wirex have Apple Pay / Google Pay integration?
- How is the support for Wirex
- The Good
- The Bad
- What they can improve on
This should give you a great overview of Wirex and help you decide if it’s a good fit for your needs.
And now, without further ado, let’s get into the meat of things!
What is Wirex?
In their own words, “Wirex is a worldwide digital payment platform and regulated institution, that has forged new rules in the digital payments space.”
In simpler terms, Wirex is a fintech digital platform (located in London, UK, and with offices around the world - Atlanta, Toronto, Tokyo, and Singapore, Kiev) that offers access to a physical debit card that can be funded with crypto assets. They’re also a cryptocurrency exchange, where you can buy, store, exchange, and spend a plethora of crypto assets.
Their main appeal is their crypto debit card, which can also grow your account, when used, via their up to 2% Cryptoback™ rewards on all your spending (this varies based on the pricing plan you’re on, we’ll get more into all that a bit later).
They have their own native crypto token, WXT, which you can buy and trade in the app and gives you access to their more premium features, like cryptoback rewards, annual savings bonus, and a decent amount of exclusive merchant offers.
We’ll explore each one of their features in the following sections of the article, but for now, let’s take a closer look at Wirex itself and how they got here.
Who are they (a bit of history)
“In 2015, E-Coin successfully crowdfunded around $200K from 93 investors via the online investment platform BnkToTheFuture. In March 2017, Wirex raised $3 million in a Series A funding round from the Fintech fund established by Japanese financial giant SBI Group.” (via Golden, https://golden.com/wiki/Wirex-EAVXPWM)
Wirex now operates in 130 countries with 3m+ registered users and has offices in London, Singapore, Tokyo, Delaware, Toronto, and Kiev.
• 3.1m+ registered users in 130 countries
• 220k+ monthly active users
• £3bn+ cumulative transaction volume
• £315m turnover, £4m net profit (last 12 months to June 2020)
They’ve also been, since the start, kind of a pioneer in the domain of crypto-focused fintech, pushing the field forward and being one of the first to make strides into linking the legacy financial system with the new, crypto-based, decentralized one.
“In 2020, Wirex became Mastercard’s first "native" crypto-friendly principal member.”
How safe are they
As a company, Wirex is a licensed and regulated platform - in 2018, they received their e-money license from the UK Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).
The safety of your account with Wirex looks solid, and they do offer access to two-factor authentication (2FA), which has become a minimum standard for fintech companies.
After the account setup process, when you have to go through the Proof of Identity process (pretty quick and straightforward), I’ve never had any account login issues or anything of that sort.
As with most of the other fintech apps, there are always reports from users of accounts blocked or frozen, so best to keep this in mind when dealing with online-type services, but I haven’t found the Wirex ones to be more than the average of the industry.
These usually happen because all these financial companies have to obey the anti-money-laundering laws, and they usually employ AI and algorithms to do the first-line work. Surprise-surprise, these algorithms sometimes mess up.
But this is a common problem in this new fintech field, which you have to deal with regardless of the app you choose.
The only security problem I’ve encountered (which I’ll detail further down in the article) is an issue I had with the iOS app, specifically an error when trying to set up the PIN code of the app (might be just something that happens on a certain combination of app version + device + version of OS, and I’ve already reported it to their support team).
Wirex products and features explained
Here’s where we get into the nitty-gritty details of the Wirex services and see how they can best benefit you.
1. Wirex Payments
Wirex traditional currency accounts:
EUR - Euro
GBP - Great Britain Pound
CAD - Canadian dollar
CZK - Czech koruna
HUF - Hungarian forint
PLN - Polish złoty
RON - Romanian leu
HRK - Croatian kuna
USD - United States dollar
Wirex cryptocurrency accounts:
BTC - Bitcoin
ETH - Ethereum
XRP - Ripple
LTC - Litecoin
XLM - Stellar
WXT - Wirex Token
MKR - Maker
LINK - Chainlink
UNI - Uniswap
YFI - Yearn.finance
XLM - Stellar Lumen
ZRX - 0x
BAT - Basic Attention Token
FTT - FTX Token
LINK - Chainlink
OMG - OMG Network
SNX - Synthetix
They’re adding new cryptocurrencies regularly, I remember getting a notification from the app each time there’s a new one available, so their roster of cryptos is always on the rise.
You can fund your FIAT accounts using a linked local card - basically, you just link & verify your normal debit card, and then you can use it to top up your accounts on Wirex, which works like a normal online payment transaction.
For your crypto accounts, after you add your favorite ones in the app, you activate them, and then you have access to their wallet address (you can use the QR code or just copy & paste the address).
Once you do this, you can top up your Wirex wallets by sending crypto from your external crypto wallet to their respective address. Alternatively, just use your linked local debit card to top them up (this basically works like a transaction on a crypto exchange, where you receive tokens for your sum of money - your fee consists of the OTC rates + commission -> which, after some digging around, I found it to be 2.49%, kind of on the high side).
2. The Wirex Card
The star of the app is, without a doubt, their multi-currency debit card, powered by MasterCard.
Wirex turned their card into something of a too-good-to-be-true kind of deal, by allowing you to link it and spend from all your accounts in the app (both FIAT and crypto), the best part is the on-the-fly conversion at the point of sale, with NO EXCHANGE fees.
Honestly, the zero-fees thing is a killer feature, allowing you to keep your investments in multiple stores of value and use them whenever you need, without worrying about converting them beforehand. This means you can have, for example, EUR and USD, along with BTC and ETH, in your Wirex account, and use all of them for your daily expenses.
A cool little feature, that I really like, is the ability to pinpoint in the app the order of preference for your spending, meaning you can drag and drop your accounts (in the card section) and set them up as needed: for example, you want to first spend your USD and then dip into your Bitcoin wallet? No problem, put USD at the top and your BTC account underneath.
If you’re traveling, your Wirex card also helps you pay in the local currency, by converting your currencies to the one used in the foreign country you’ve traveled to, giving you access to 150+ currencies at live interbank rates, with zero fees for the exchange.
Now, this varies significantly based on the pricing plan you’re on: from 0.5% Cryptoback (for in-store purchases) on their Free plan and up to 2% Cryptoback (both for in-store and online purchases) on their Elite plan.
We’ll talk more in the following section about their free vs. paid plan features, but I have to tell you, right off the bat, that this cashback rewards feature makes the Wirex card one of the best options for earning money while spending money (especially in Europe, where there aren’t many credit or debit cards which offer cashback programs, unlike the US, where there’s loads of them).
The Wirex card doesn’t have any monthly maintenance fee, and there are free ATM withdrawals of up to €400 per month; after this sum, there’s a 2% fee for withdrawing cash.
3. The Wirex Multicurrency Exchange
This feature is another one that stands out and puts Wirex a step above other similar fintech apps: their currency exchange using exclusive OTC and interbank rates, with zero fees on all fiat-to-fiat exchanges.
What does this mean, in plain English? Basically, you can fund your account with your local, preferred currency, and then exchange it in the app for whichever currency you need, at the best rates you can get on the market.
For example, I’ve used it for funding my Wirex account with RON and then turn it into EUR, with the rate being noticeably better than anything I’ve used before (including Revolut, which always had the best rates for me when it came to this kind of exchange).
Buying crypto at Over-the-Counter (OTC) rates is another thing you’ll appreciate - essentially, these are again the best rates you can access, but keep in mind you’ll also have to pay their commission, 2.49% of the order (definitely higher than some other dedicated exchanges and apps, such as Binance or Coinbase Pro, but what you’re getting for this is simple convenience and ease of use).
4. The Wirex X-tras (their rewards)
Wirex has a pretty extensive rewards program, with features designed to give you the most out of using your account, and of course, nudge you towards their paid premium plans. We’ll take a look at each of their rewards features, but from the start, we can see that even the ones available on the free plan are pretty sweet and make for a very competitive offer when compared with other crypto-focused financial apps.
- Wirex Crypto Cashback (or Cryptoback™ Rewards, how it's branded)
This is by far the queen of the ball, and probably the feature most users create a Wirex account for.
How does Cryptoback work? Each time you use your Wirex card for payments you can earn a bit of money back (between 0.5 - 2%) in WXT (Wirex Token). In the app, there’s a special rewards account where your WXT accumulates, and you have access to it to spend it, exchange it, sell it, to do whatever you please with it.
First, you should know that Wirex has 3 pricing plans for its members (which we’ll discuss a bit more in the next section):
- STANDARD - their free plan, which offers 0.5% Cryptoback™ (only for in-store purchases, not online ones)
- PREMIUM - which offers 1% Cryptoback™ (both for in-store and online purchases)
- ELITE - which offers 2% Cryptoback™ (both for in-store and online purchases)
The pricing of their premium plans, although listed on the Wirex website as being €9.99/month for PREMIUM and €29.99/month for ELITE, actually varies, since these plans can only be paid using their WXT token (which, being a cryptocurrency, tends to be volatile and fluctuate greatly over time, as any crypto enthusiast surely knows).
How do these crypto cashbacks compare to the competition?
Let’s take a look at probably their closest competitor in this field: Crypto.com - they’ve also got crypto-backed cards, with cashback in CRO (their own token), the difference being how you pay for the premium plans: you have to stake CRO on their platform (essentially, buy and hold CRO in your Crypto.com account, leaving that money locked there in order to access the rewards of their programs).
The Crypto.com free credit card plan does offer 1% cashback, but good luck actually getting the card. I have ordered it more than 2 months ago, and no sign in sight of actually getting it.
As for the premium plans of Crypto.com, they indeed go up to a mind-boggling 8% in CRO cashback on their top tier plan, but for that plan, you have to stake 2.5 million CRO on their platform. Doing some simple math, at the current price of CRO, which is 0.0975 EUR per coin, you’d have to leave stuck on Crypto.com about around 243k EUR.
That’s… yeah, a lot!
And that’s the story for all their premium plans, you have to stake some money which you can’t access unless you want to lose your account rewards. From 2500 CRO up to that 2.5 million CRO.
Personally, I much more prefer the Wirex method of a subscription, with accessible rates that give you access to up to 2% in cashback crypto. It ain’t much, but it’s honest work!
Yes, the Crypto.com free plan for their debit card does offer 1% in cashback as opposed to Wirex’s 0.5%, that is if you EVER receive the Crypto.com card. But their other premium plans don’t make much sense unless you are willing to leave your money stuck somewhere for an extended period of time.
- Wirex Savings Bonus
Another cool reward for Wirex accounts is their annual Savings Bonus on your WXT balance.
That’s available only for the paid plans and gives you an interest rate on your WXT holdings of between 4% (on the PREMIUM plan) and 12% (on the ELITE plan). These numbers have doubled recently, previously you could only get 2% on the PREMIUM plan and 6% on the ELITE.
The savings bonus you get is also in WXT cryptocurrency, and 12% on the higher tier plan (at the moment) makes it a pretty compelling argument for holding onto some WXT in your account.
- Exclusive Mastercard Merchant Offers
The Wirex card also gives you access to a selection of merchant offers (discounts, free trials, etc), best to check them out right on the Wirex site and see if there’s something that you could use: https://wirexapp.com/mastercard-offers
The 3 months free of Headspace subscription is the one that caught my eyes, but there’s also a few clothing and cosmetics stores there at the moment (best to check on the website, these are likely to change over time).
Nothing earth-shattering, just something to keep in mind when using your Wirex card.
- Wirex Refer-a-Friend Program
This is just your standard referral benefit for when you’re sending people to their site & app to become clients themselves.
They run various offers from time to time, so this number is always changing (right now you can get up to 25 € for referrals, for example).
You can find your referral link on “X-tras” in the Wirex app, then by going to “Invite Friends”.
Full disclosure: that’s the link I’ll be using in this article, if you do end up signing up I can add a little WXT to my account.
All the fintech apps have a similar feature, nothing major here, but a nice-to-have option if you like the app and share it with your friends.
Wirex Pricing Plans
Time to get a bit more in-depth into the Wirex different pricing plans, what they offer, how much they cost, and if they’re really worth paying for.
As I’ve mentioned before, Wirex offers a free STANDARD plan and 2 paid plans, the PREMIUM and ELITE.
The pricing you see on the Wirex website for the paid plans, 9.99 EUR/month for the PREMIUM and 29.99 EUR/month for the ELITE one, isn’t set in stone, since you actually have to pay for these in WXT (which fluctuates as all cryptocurrencies do).
These are the actual rates for these paid plans (in WXT):
PREMIUM - 999 WXT / monthly or 9999 WXT / annually
ELITE - 2999 WXT / monthly or 29999 WXT / annually
How do these prices translate into cash (at the current prices of WXT)?
PREMIUM - about 5 EUR / month or 51 EUR / annually
ELITE - about 15 EUR / month or 153 EUR / annually
Why this difference between the prices on the Wirex website and the actual thing you have to pay? Mainly because the crypto market is in a bit of a correction phase right now, with Bitcoin dropping almost 50% in the last weeks and dragging down every other coin with it.
In short, now would be a great time to profit and get a paid Wirex account, which is also discounted almost by half, since itțs linked to WXT, which is very cheap as I’m writing this.
Of course, things will vary in the future and these numbers might be drastically changed when you’re reading this, so do check how much WXT is priced before upgrading to the paid plans. Wouldn’t hurt if you’re also to wait a bit for a lower price if you’re not in a hurry to upgrade, and when WXT is cheaper to pounce and get the annual plan.
And now the big question:
Are the Wirex Paid Plans Worth It?
We must now invoke the power of math for a little while, put on our thinking hats, and do some calculus.
Currently, PREMIUM costs 51 €/year and offers 1% crypto cashback, and ELITE costs 153 €/year and offers 2% in crypto cashback.
Let’s take a monthly spend of 2000 € as an example: on PREMIUM you’d get 20 € back every month, which translates into 240 € cashback in a year. Since you pre-paid for this plan 51 €, you’d have a profit of 189 €. Not bad for doing nothing special and just using your card as you normally would.
For the ELITE plan, the numbers look like this: on a 2k € monthly spend, you’d get back in cashback 2%, which is 40 €/month or 480 €/year. Subtracting the cost of the plan (153 €/year), you’d make a yearly profit of 327 €.
We all like free money, and getting paid back more when you spend more is a cool trick. Of course, you know best how much you spend on average every month, and you can assess for yourself how much you’d get back with a Wirex card.
So what’s the catch here? There isn’t really one, other than the obvious fact that the cashback you receive is also in WXT, which can be up or down depending on the state of the market. But its trend is usually an upward one, so in addition, you could also make money from the price of WXT rising, and also from the interest accumulated on your WXT holdings (remember? 4 to 12% yearly, at the moment).
All and all, a pretty sweet deal that should soften the impact of your daily spending and give you a little of it back in the form of crypto.
We mustn’t forget the FREE Wirex plan, which gives you 0.5% cashback in WXT for your in-store purchases. That’s still dope, the drawback being that we currently spend so much more online, so this cashback would kick in a whole lot fewer times than in the case of the paid plans. Still, a cool addition to have on top of the other features of the free debit card.
In summary, to answer the question above: YES, it definitely is worth it to get a paid Wirex plan, if you can afford it and makes sense for your average monthly spending.
Does Wirex have apps (which operating systems, are they any good)?
Wirex does have mobile apps for both iOS and Android, you can find the links on their website or just go through your phone’s app store and search for “wirex”. You can also use your Wirex account on the web version, just sign in to your account on the Wirex website.
In terms of their design and usability, I can only speak for the iPhone version, which is the one I have installed and used since creating my Wirex account.
The Wirex app is OK, nothing too fancy, gets the job done. I have had a few issues with it, like the constant error I get when trying to set up a passcode in the app, but usually, things get fixed over time and I wouldn’t get bogged down into analyzing every little feature or bug.
And yes, the app is consistently updated, showing their team actively working on improving it, which is always a good sign.
Does Wirex have Apple Pay / Google Pay integration?
In short, no. There’s no official Apple Pay or Google Pay integration, at the moment, for the Wirex card.
But, at least on iOS, there is a way that I am using the Wirex card with Apple Pay. I have installed on my iPhone another fintech app, Curve, which acts as an aggregator of debit cards, and also offers its own card - which, lo and behold, does have Apple Pay integration.
So I’ve just added my Wirex card into the Curve app and now when I pay with Apple Pay, I can simply use the Wirex card to fund the purchases. The process was very simple, just adding the card, verifying it in the Curve app and everything was set to go.
A simple workaround that makes the Wirex card available to use with Apple Pay.
I have not tried this on Android, but the Curve card does state it can be used also with Google Pay, so this might also be a workaround for Android users looking to add the Wirex card to their Google Pay wallet.
Give Curve a go, it’s free and also has some neat features of its own.
How is the support for Wirex
Like most of the new fintech apps launched in the past few years, Wirex is clearly also dealing with a growing customer base, which they struggle to service on the support side. It’s always hard to scale your customer care team at the same rate as your customer base, and this is a long, painful growth process that definitely affects users - but which usually gets better over time.
Wirex offers a customer support chat option in the app, which I have used to get some pre-written answers to some normal questions, but also to contact support and chat to a real, live person. I found the wait times decent, and the support person friendly and helpful, though limited in the actual capabilities of solving complex problems. I’ll go into higher detail further down, in the “things that can be improved” section.
There are more options for customer support than just the chat. If you can’t find what you’re looking for on their user forum - or by searching their Help Centre, you can always submit a support ticket.
You can also get in touch with Wirex on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
All and all, the support options are varied, the actual replies to your queries are sometimes delayed and you can find a lot of users complaining on Reddit and other online venues about the long wait times for replies on support tickets.
Just something to keep in mind that can go less than smooth in your relationship with Wirex.
The Good Stuff about Wirex
There’s a lot to appreciate, things that make Wirex a top-notch option in the personal finance field of apps. I’ll just list here the options I’m most excited about and makes the most sense for my own personal usage:
- Multiple currencies accounts, that can be easily topped up with your local debit card and can be exchanged later at interbank rates, with zero fees on all fiat-to-fiat exchanges. This is a game-changer for me personally, being able to easily add RON and exchange to EUR, at the best rates I’ve found so far.
- The Cryptoback cashback rewards, giving you up to 2% in WXT back on their highest-paid plan. This is basically “free money”, if you can afford the initial cost of the paid plan and if the value of WXT is low enough that it makes sense to use. Yes, it’s an upfront subscription cost involved, but I personally like it better than the “staking crypto” method, which other competitors, such as Crypto.com, use.
- The Apple Pay integration, via the Curve app, gives you additional ease of use for the Wirex card. I honestly don’t much care if they ultimately give the Wirex card native Apple Pay (or Google Pay) integration, since it’s so simple to set up with Curve (with which I also use other cards not supported natively by Apple Pay).
- The interest reward you get paid for your WXT holdings in the app. Even if you don’t keep any large amounts in WXT in your account, if you use the Wirex card you’re bound to accumulate some WXT in cashback, which if you left there gets to work and accumulates interest for you (up to 12% annual rate, on the highest-paid plan). Pretty sweet deal!
The Bad (Improvable) Stuff about Wirex
It’s not all roses, to be honest, when dealing with Wirex. There are no deal-breakers, at least for me, especially when considering them head to head with the multiple benefits you get as a Wirex user, but still…let’s just say that things can always be improved.
I should mention that the issues I had and talk about here are not listed as a form of complaining, just with the idea of maybe helping others that go through similar ones, and also to help you when considering their services.
Here are my top 3 issues encountered while using Wirex:
Issue no 1 - The Wirex app
As I’ve mentioned before, I cannot for the life of me set up a PIN code in the app. I’m always greeted with this error and asked to contact support.
This is pretty annoying, I’ve already chatted with support about it and they’ve created a ticket to send the issue to the technical team, but still, I really hope it gets fixed soon, in an app update or something.
Issue no 2 - No top-up available with Revolut debit cards
In short, I’ve tried multiple times to add, as a local debit card in the app, one of my Revolut ones, and each time the card verification failed, informing me that the verification code was incorrectly input (which it wasn’t).
As usual, I’ve chatted with support about this problem and this was their reply:
So yeah, at the moment you cannot use a Revolut card to top up your Wirex account. They are “in contact with Revolut to find a general solution” for this issue. If that’s something that would affect your workflow with Wirex, best to be aware of it. I don’t know when this will get solved, no timeframe offered by support.
I haven’t had any issue with any of the other debit cards I’ve added and used for a top-up, so this might be just affecting Revolut cards. But if you try to verify a card, input the correct verification code and still get an error, this could be the explanation on why it’s happening and you should chat with Wirex support and let them know.
Issue no 3 - In-store purchase categorized as online
This is something that happened to me once when using the free plan of Wirex. This plan gives you 0.5% in cashback WXT only when used for in-store transactions.
I went to a restaurant, paid with my Wirex card, everything went smoothly, but no Cryptoback was received in the app. I contacted support and asked, and they said the merchant had categorized the transaction as online, so the system couldn’t give me the cashback rewards for it.
Unfortunately, nothing could be done (short of me going back to the restaurant and whining to them about it, which I bet wouldn’t have helped either). Tough luck!
Now, this is something of no relevance to the paid Wirex plans, which give you cashback on both online and offline transactions. Just something that can happen on the free Wirex plan. I don’t see a simple solution here, other than contacting support, and I also don’t know how often this can happen (for me, it did only once).
What they can improve on
There are always things that could go smoother, and Wirex has its fair share of them.
- The app design looks a bit outdated and convoluted, the premium plans have no obvious location in their own tab, you can only find them while clicking around in the app. I would make them more obvious and easy to access.
- Stating the prices of the Wirex paid plans in EUR on the website can be a little misleading (and also far from the actual price, which is basically half now). Just put the prices in WXT and link the WXT live price there, or calculate it automatically so that the actual number is on the page, in fiat currency.
- Improve support times and make it easier to chat with a real person in the app. It gets a little difficult to actually talk to someone from support, I can understand the staffing constraints, but great support is one of the top features users look for in any service.
- Fix issues like PIN code error in the app, not being able to top-up with Revolut cards and not being able to top up with British pounds (something affecting UK customers, which also cannot sign up for Wirex right now due to some regulatory stuff that’s being worked on)
- Official Apple Pay / Google Pay support would be nice to have
- Take steps towards becoming more of an online bank, like offering other means of top-up (such as bank transfers), various IBAN accounts, spending analytics, and so on.
In my experience, Wirex offers probably the best experience for anyone looking for a good, easy to fund, multi-currency debit card, with crypto support and cashback rewards.
Their paid plans make sense and are decently affordable, putting some of your current life spendings back in your pocket, and offering interest rates far above what you might find in a traditional bank.
This is not an account that can be your only one - more like an additional financial account, where you can deposit your monthly spending, earn some cashback for it, get interest for holding WXT tokens, purchase other crypto assets - an interesting mix of traditional banking with new fintech features, all flavored with crypto vibes.
Personally, except for few hiccups I’ve detailed above, I’ve used it successfully and it’s been a great addition to my financial life workflow.