Monolith Card Review (2020)

Monolith Card Review (2020)
  • Ease of Use
  • Customer Support
  • Payment Options
  • Speed
  • Fees
3

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 (about £2). 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’d check out 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 in the UK?

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

  • No 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.

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. You also can’t use Monolith to buy cryptocurrencies with fiat currencies.

Second: The Monolith Card is connected to a non-custodial Ethereum (ETH) contract wallet. You’ll setup this 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?

The Monolith Card is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), but it is NOT covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS).

However, funds received by Monolith’s customers are stored in a segregated account. 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), but the Monolith Card is only available in the 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. If you do this, you will have to pay Ethereum (ETH) transaction fees.

Find out more about this here.

Payment Methods

Unlike Wirex or Crypto.com, you cannot buy cryptocurrency with a debit card, credit card, or UK bank transfer with Monolith. If you’re looking to buy cryptocurrency, you’ll have to look elsewhere.

To top-up your card, you’ll need to exchange Ethereum (ETH) based tokens for fiat. These are the ones that are currently supported:

  • Ethereum (ETH)
  • Monolith (TKN)
  • Dai (DAI)
  • DigixDAO (DGD)
  • Digix Gold Token (DGX)
  • Maker (MKR)
  • Single Collateral DAI (SAI)
  • 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, USDC, or USDT
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, as 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, USDC, or USDT.

The ‘community contribution’ fee also requires some explanation. You’ll pay this whenever you top-up your Monolith Card, unless you’re topping up with TKN. This fee goes to Monolith’s community chest.

This means you’ll always pay at least 1% in fees when you top-up your card. However, it could be 2% if you use something other than DAI, USDC, USDT, or TKN to top-up.

In addition, you’ll pay transaction fees when you swap ERC-20 tokens or top-up your card. When I tested this, it cost me about £1.78.

Expanded: 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.

Summary: Best Crypto Debit Card?

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

It’s a unique beast. 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. You’ll pay up to 2% in fees when you load your Monolith Card and blockchain transactions fees too.

To put this into perspective, Wirex doesn’t charge you anything to top-up your card. Neither does Crypto.com. They both provide you with cashback when 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 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 reply ASAP.

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