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Monolith Card Review (2021)

Cryptocurrency is not regulated by the UK Financial Conduct Authority and is not subject to protection under the UK Financial Services Compensation Scheme or within the scope of jurisdiction of the UK Financial Ombudsman Service. Investing in cryptocurrency comes with risk and cryptocurrency may gain in value, or lose some or all value. Capital gains tax may be applicable to profits from cryptocurrency sales.

Monolith Card Review (2021)
  • Ease of Use
  • Customer Support
  • Payment Options
  • Speed
  • Fees
3.4

Summary

There’s a lot to love about the Monolith Card.

However, you’ll pay up to 2% in fees when you top-up your card. You’ll also pay blockchain fees (Gas) whenever you swap tokens or top-up your Monolith Card – which can be costly. Together, these fees make it a little too expensive to top-up with small amounts and use it for everyday spending.

At least until Ethereum (ETH) has lower transactions fees, I’ll be using alternative crypto debit cards that are available.

Monolith is the first non-custodial, 100% decentralised Ethereum (ETH) wallet that is linked to a Visa debit card. The Monolith Card is available to residents in the United Kingdom and across the European Economic Area (EEA).

But how does it all work? What are the fees like? And how does it compare to the best bitcoin debit cards available?

Find out my thoughts in this Monolith review.

Advantages & Disadvantages

Advantages

  • Can be used anywhere that Visa is accepted around the world.
  • No monthly card management fee.
  • Issued and delivered for FREE.
  • Supports contactless payments.
  • Can be added to PayPal, Curve, and Google Pay.
  • Non-custodial Ethereum (ETH) contract wallet.
  • Easily swap ERC-20 tokens on 10+ decentralised exchanges within the app.

Disadvantages

  • Few Trustpilot reviews.
  • Verification seemed slow (mine took about 3 days).
  • No cashback on your purchases.
  • Up to 2% fee to load up the Monolith Card.
  • Minimum top-up by credit/debit card is £250 / €250.

What is Monolith Card?

Monolith Card (or TokenCard) is quite a unique crypto debit card.

First: It doesn’t support Bitcoin (BTC). It only supports Ethereum (ETH) and ERC-20 tokens.

Second: The Monolith Card is connected to a non-custodial Ethereum (ETH) contract wallet. You’ll set this up wallet during setup and you’ll be the only one that has access to it. I haven’t come across another crypto debit card that works like this. It’s awesome. But it does mean that you’re responsible for securing your wallet’s private key.

You load your Monolith Card by exchanging ERC-20 tokens for fiat (either GBP or EUR). You can then use the Monolith Card anywhere Visa is accepted (online and offline). For purchases in the card’s currency, there aren’t any transaction fees.

Here’s what the Monolith Card looks like:

Who is behind Monolith?

Monolith is a trading name of Token Group Limited, which has been registered in the UK since December 2017. They were previously known as TokenCard, but rebranded to Monolith in 2019.

The company was founded by Mel Gelderman (CEO) and David Hoggard (Strategy Director).

Who is the Monolith Card issued by?

The Monolith Card is issued by Contis Financial Services Ltd. This is the same company that issues the Wirex Card.

Is the Monolith Card safe?

Contis Financial Services Ltd, who issue the Monolith Card, are authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) as an Electronic Money Insitution. See here for details.

However, this product is NOT covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS).

Monolith says that customer funds are stored in a segregated account though. This means that if the card issuer becomes insolvent, your funds could not be claimed by creditors.

It’s also worth highlighting that the Monolith Wallet is non-custodial. This means that any of the Ethereum (ETH) or ERC-20 tokens stored in your Monolith Wallet are not controlled by anyone other than you.

During setup, you’re prompted to create an Ethereum (ETH) contract wallet and record the seed. Even if you could not get into the Monolith Wallet, this would allow you to access the funds stored in it from elsewhere.

For more on the security of tokens, check out this post.

Supported Countries

The Monolith Wallet can be used in any country (without KYC).

However, the Monolith Card is only available in the UK, European Economic Area (EEA), and some Special Member State Territories.

Monolith Card: Supported Countries

The following countries are able to get a Monolith Card:

  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Bulgaria
  • Croatia
  • Republic of Cyprus
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark
  • Estonia
  • Finland
  • France
  • French Guiana
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Gibraltar
  • Guadeloupe
  • Hungary
  • Iceland
  • Ireland
  • Italy
  • Latvia
  • Liechtenstein
  • Lithuania
  • Luxembourg
  • Malta
  • Netherlands
  • Norway
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Romania
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • United Kingdom
  • Reunion
  • Martinique
  • Mayotte
  • Isle of Man
  • Jersey
  • Guernsey
  • The Aland Islands
  • Saint-Martin

Supported Cryptocurrencies

According to Monolith’s website and this Reddit thread, the Monolith Wallet supports all ERC-20 tokens.

You can exchange ERC-20 tokens within the Monolith Wallet using decentralised exchanges (currently 10+). If you do this, you will have to pay Ethereum (ETH) transaction fees. Because of all the recent network congestion, this can end up being expensive.

Find out more about this here.

Payment Methods

You can only buy Ethereum (ETH) or Dai (DAI) with a debit card or credit card using Monolith (UK bank transfers are NOT supported). If you do this, then you’ll be charged a 2.95% fee (with a minimum top-up of £250 / €250).

The Monolith Card can be topped up with Ethereum (ETH) and a number of ERC-20 tokens.

What ERC-20 tokens can I top-up the Monolith Card with?

You can top-up the Monolith Card with the following ERC-20 tokens:

  • Aave DAI (ADAI)
  • Dai (DAI)
  • Digix Gold Token (DGX)
  • Ethereum (ETH)
  • Gnosis (GNO)
  • Gemini Dollar (GUSD)
  • Kyber Network Crystal (KNC)
  • Polygon (MATIC)
  • Maker (MKR)
  • OKB (OKB)
  • Quant (QNT)
  • iExec RLC (RLC)
  • Synthetix (SNX)
  • sUSD (SUSD)
  • Monolith (TKN)
  • USD Coin (USDC)
  • Tether (USDT)

Fees

Setting up a Monolith account is FREE and getting a physical card delivered is also FREE.

There are no transaction fees when you spend in the card’s currency, but you will pay a 1.75% transaction fee when you buy things in non-card currencies. This seems reasonable – most UK banks charge between 2-3% when you buy things abroad with your credit or debit card.

There are also no monthly account management fees to worry about.

Here are the other fees that I picked out for the GBP Monolith Card:

FeesGBP Monolith Card
ATM Charge (GBP)2 FREE withdrawals, thereafter £0.75 per withdrawal.
ATM Charge (International)£1.20 (in EUR)
Approx. £1.75 (other currencies)
ATM Withdrawal Limit£350 per day
Card Loading FeeNormally 1%
0% if using DAI & TKN
Community ContributionNormally 1%
0% if using TKN
Daily Spend Limit£7500

And here are the limits for the GBP Monolith Card that I was given:

It’s disappointing that there’s a card top-up fee.

This isn’t something charged by some alternative crypto debit cards. However, you can dodge it by topping up your Monolith Card with either DAI and TKN.

The ‘community contribution’ is another fee you might need to pay. You’ll normally pay it when topping up your Monolith Card… UNLESS you’re topping up with TKN. This fee goes to Monolith’s Community Chest.

What is Monolith’s Community Chest?

You can put your hands into this community chest by burning (i.e. destroying) TKN. The amount that you’re able to claim from the community chest is determined by the proportion of the TKN supply that you’re burning.

For Example: If you burn 10% of the TKN supply, then you’ll get 10% of whatever is in the community chest.

To find out a little more, visit this help article.

So although you can dodge these fees by using TKN to top-up your card, you could pay up to 2% in fees if you use a different token.

You’ll also pay Ethereum network fees when you swap ERC-20 tokens or top-up your card with tokens in your Monolith wallet. At the time of writing, congestion on the Ethereum (ETH) network has led to transaction fees above $35. Ouch!

Summary: Best Crypto Debit Card?

The Monolith Card is a unique beast.

When I found out that Monolith was shipping cards in the UK, I couldn’t wait to check it out.

I like that the Monolith Card is connected to a non-custodial Ethereum (ETH) wallet, which means that Monolith can’t access, confiscate, or freeze cryptocurrency you add to the Monolith Wallet. It’s great that you can swap tokens in the app too.

But the Monolith Card fees are hard to ignore:

  • Up to 2% in fees when you load your Monolith Card.
  • Blockchain network fees when you swap tokens or top-up your Monolith card using tokens. Ongoing Ethereum congestion means you could pay more than $35 in network fees.

To put this into perspective, Wirex doesn’t charge you anything to top-up your card. Neither does the Crypto.com app (if topping up directly with fiat). They both provide you with cashback whenever you spend using your card too!

Regardless, there’s a lot to love – especially if you’re invested in the Ethereum (ETH) ecosystem.

Check It Out

Think the Monolith Card is the right one for you? Download the app to get started.

If not? Check out the best cryptocurrency debit cards that are available.

Any Questions?

Thanks for reading this Monolith review!

Have a question?

Leave a comment below and I’ll get back to you ASAP.

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