Monolith Card Review (2021)
Ease of Use
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
- 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.
- 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:
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.
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.
We're delighted to introduce our next upgrade:
— Monolith (@monolith_web3) June 26, 2020
Find out more about this here.
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.
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:
|Fees||GBP 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 Fee||Normally 1%
0% if using DAI & TKN
|Community Contribution||Normally 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.
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.
Thanks for reading this Monolith review!
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