Bitcoin Debit Cards Halt Service to Non-European Residents Due to Visa’s New Rules

Four bitcoin Visa debit cards are suspending service to non-European residents due to Visa’s new licensing restrictions. BTCC and Bitwala have joined Xapo and Shakepay to stop debit card service to users who reside outside of the Visa European payment network.

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Service Halted for Non-European Residents

China-based bitcoin exchange BTCC announced on Thursday that its Mobi app will stop offering Visa debit card service to non-European residents “because of new licensing restrictions from Visa.” The change only affects Visa card usage, however. Emphasizing that other Mobi’s features remain available, the company noted:

Non-European residents who already have Mobi Visa cards will not be able to use Mobi Visa cards after 11:59 PM (UTC) on October 15th, 2017.

Germany-based Bitwala announced a similar suspension on Wednesday. Canada-based Shakepay made the same move on Monday. “Our partner bank is being nudged by Visa to immediately stop issuing cards to residents living outside of the European Territory,” the company wrote, adding that most of the Shakepay team fall into that category.

Xapo was the first of the four companies to announce its Visa debit card service suspension. On August 22, the company stopped selling its debit cards to new customers outside the European territory.

New Visa Rules; ID Verification Required

The new Visa rules went into effect on August 21, Bitwala detailed, adding that:

Bitwala cards have always utilised the Visa network to provide users with global and uninterrupted coverage. According to their new regulations, only customers in the EEA and selected adjacent states will be able to order the Bitwala Debit Card.

Non-European residents, including European citizens who are not currently living in Europe, can no longer order new Visa cards from the four companies. For Bitwala cards, users who successfully ordered them on August 9 onward have been refunded, the company revealed.

Customers living in the European territory can continue using their cards “by uploading a proof of domicile in one of the supported countries,” Bitwala described. BTCC explained that the ID verification process includes “providing scans of their ID and address-verification documents.”

BTCC has listed the countries unaffected by the change. They are: Andorra, Austria, Bailiwick of Guernsey, Bailiwick of Jersey, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canary Islands, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Gibraltar, Greece, Greenland, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Isle of Man, Israel, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, San Marino, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, and the United Kingdom.