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Interested in earning crypto on your credit cards? Here’s what you need to know

July 20, 2022
8 min read
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Cryptocurrency seems to be everywhere you look these days, with event venues, celebrity endorsements and plenty of headlines pointing to the ups (and downs) of investing in crypto. If you want to get some cryptocurrency of your own without spending your hard-earned dollars, you may be interested in cryptocurrency rewards from your credit card.

Here’s a closer look at what you need to know to earn crypto credit card rewards.

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What is cryptocurrency?

For those new to the world of digital currencies, cryptocurrencies are a type of digital money tracked using public databases. Bitcoin, Ethereum, Dogecoin, Stellar Lumens, Avalanche, Polkadot, Shiba Inu, Flow, Solana, Maker, Compound and XRP are just a few examples of the roughly 10,000 cryptocurrencies in existence today.

Bitcoin is one of the most popular examples of cryptocurrencies today. (Photo by OZAN KOSE/AFP/Getty Images)

While crypto might sound like Monopoly money, it’s a serious part of the growing blockchain industry. Blockchain is the software used to track all past transactions and the current owners of crypto assets, including coins, tokens and non-fungible tokens (NFTs).

The nature of blockchain technology makes these databases extremely difficult for hackers to penetrate or disrupt, and they are not controlled by a centralized government agency, bank or organization. While it likely wouldn't be worth anything, anyone could create a cryptocurrency with the right knowledge and skills.

As of this writing, the total value of all Bitcoin, the most valuable cryptocurrency by market capitalization, is about $400 billion. That’s a big fall from a peak of around $1.2 trillion in late 2021 — which points to just how risky and volatile cryptocurrencies are as assets.

How to earn cryptocurrency with a credit card

Most people are familiar with credit card rewards, allowing you to earn cash back or travel miles and points with every swipe, tap or click with a card-based payment. But many people don’t realize that you could opt to earn cryptocurrency rewards instead.

Crypto rewards cards often offer a cash-back rewards rate based on your purchases in United States dollars and then convert your rewards to Bitcoin, Ethereum or other supported currencies when those rewards are redeemed to your cryptocurrency account.

The most flexible crypto rewards cards give you the freedom to choose from a long list of supported currencies beyond Bitcoin and Ethereum. They also allow you to transfer the crypto to any wallet, exchange or cryptocurrency account you choose. Conversely, other crypto rewards programs keep you locked into that specific program, which isn’t ideal.

Like most cash-back cards, you may be able to earn more in specific bonus categories or other flexible redemption options.

However, it's important to note that once you convert your rewards to a specific crypto product, you're then subject to the volatility of that particular currency (more on those risks below).

Credit cards with cryptocurrency rewards

The cryptocurrency landscape — just like the credit card rewards market — is always changing, so you’ll probably see crypto rewards cards come and go over time. Here are a few noteworthy crypto rewards credit cards to know about:

  • BlockFi Rewards Visa*: Features an unlimited 1.5% back in crypto with no annual fees. BlockFi offers more than a dozen currencies, including Bitcoin and Ethereum.
  • SoFi Credit Card*: Offers up to 3% cash back through a points program that you can redeem for cryptocurrencies, stocks or cash back. There’s no annual fee. You can’t withdraw crypto from SoFi, so it’s locked in that account indefinitely.
  • Gemini Credit Card*: Gemini is a major cryptocurrency exchange with its own branded Gemini Mastercard. It has no annual fee and offers up to 3% back, redeemable for over 60 supported digital currencies.
  • Crypto.com Visa Card*: The Crypto.com card is a bit more complex, with five tiers and varying rewards depending on your cryptocurrency balances. With $400 or more in the CRO currency, the native currency created by Crypto.com, you can earn 1% to 5% back on regular purchases.
  • Upgrade Bitcoin Rewards Visa*: Offers 1.5% back when paying your credit card balance. Rewards are redeemed in Bitcoin only. While it has no annual fee, the Bitcoin program is mediocre. You can’t withdraw and you must pay a 1.5% fee when opting for cash back, which is only redeemable as a statement credit.
  • Venmo Card*: Offers up to 3% cash back. Cardholders can toggle a setting in the app to automatically redeem for Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies in your Venmo account with no transaction fees.

In addition, American Express recently shared that it will get into cryptocurrency rewards, so you may find new crypto rewards credit cards available soon.

*The information for these cards has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Where to store cryptocurrency after earning

If you earn crypto from a credit card, it is usually deposited into an account automatically. For example, with the BlockFi, SoFi, Gemini and Venmo cryptocurrency credit cards, rewards are redeemed into an account at those financial institutions.

Some cryptocurrency users want to hold their currency in an outside hardware wallet for added security, such as the Ledger or Trezor wallets, or prefer to control it using a software wallet like MetaMask.

Wallets, although not quite what you might be picturing, are where you would store your crypto. (Photo by d3sign/Getty Images)

Cryptocurrency wallets require a bit more internet and computing knowledge; conversely, keeping it with a trusted brokerage or exchange is more similar to a stock market account. However, as we’ve seen from several past hacks and losses, exchanges are not always as safe as they first appear.

That said, there are many security and backup worries for those holding their cryptocurrency in a self-controlled wallet. If you’re planning to use these tools, it's important that you do extensive research to understand how they work.

Crypto vs. cash back and travel rewards

You might wonder why you would want crypto rewards when you can earn cash back or travel miles and points. This is The Points Guy, after all.

Cryptocurrency rewards may interest people who believe the value of these currencies will rise in the future. If you redeem $10 in cash back for Bitcoin and the value then doubles, you suddenly have $20 in cash back. However, there’s also a risk that your $10 could turn to $5 or even $0.

With traditional cash back, you know exactly what you’re getting. A dollar of cash back is always worth a dollar. When using travel rewards programs, you’re likely to find rewards that can be worth more than one cent per point, but that’s not always the case.

At the end of the day, it’s up to you to decide which type of rewards you value most.

Is cryptocurrency safe?

One of the biggest concerns with cryptocurrency is the risk of losses. Government regulators have issued stern warnings about potential fraud and investment losses. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) notes hackers and scammers target cryptocurrency users because of the difficulty of tracing and prosecuting these transactions.

There’s also a risk of sending your currency to the wrong or an incompatible address when doing a transfer or purchase, in which case your crypto is likely gone for good. Unlike a bank account, there is no possible way to reverse a cryptocurrency transaction. In most cases, lost funds are lost forever.

Finally, there’s also a risk of investment losses. Cryptocurrencies could tumble in value, wiping out a substantial part or even the entire value of your cryptocurrency rewards account. While many gurus claim cryptocurrencies are going up “to the moon” or down to nothing, only the future will tell us for sure.

Bottom line

You’re the only person who can decide what type of credit card rewards you want. Whether that’s crypto, cash back or travel miles and points, you have plenty of options to choose from. If you want to cash in your rewards for crypto, expect to see even more choices in the coming months and years — but be sure to fully understand the risks associated with this option before jumping in.

Related: A round-up of cards that earn cryptocurrency rewards

Featured image by Getty Images
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards

1 - 3X points
3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
1XEarn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases

Intro offer

Earn 80,000 ThankYou® points60,000 points
For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening

Annual Fee

$95

Recommended Credit

670-850
Excellent, Good
Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

Why We Chose It

The Citi Premier’s 3 points per dollar spent across a wide range of popular categories is one of the more lucrative offerings in the world of points and miles. The Citi Premier comes with a $95 annual fee and is currently offering a solid sign up bonus of 80,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first three months. It also has some valuable transfer partners to make the most of your rewards. Add in access to Citi Entertainment plus a $100 hotel credit for any single-stay hotel booking that exceeds $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through the Citi travel website, there are few reasons why the Citi Premier should not be in every traveler’s wallet.

Pros

  • Earns 3x points on restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, air travel and hotels.
  • $100 annual hotel savings benefit (on single hotel stay bookings of $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through thankyou.com)
  • Points transfer to 16 airline programs, from JetBlue to Virgin Atlantic.
  • World Elite Mastercard benefits, extended warranty, damage and theft protection.

Cons

  • $95 annual fee
  • Lacks travel protections that other travel rewards cards come with
  • For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
  • Earn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Annual Hotel Savings Benefit
  • 80,000 Points are redeemable for $800 in gift cards when redeemed at thankyou.com
  • No expiration and no limit to the amount of points you can earn with this card
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases
Best starter travel card
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
1XEarn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Intro Offer
    For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening

    Earn 80,000 ThankYou® points
    60,000 points
  • Annual Fee

    $95
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    670-850
    Excellent, Good

Why We Chose It

The Citi Premier’s 3 points per dollar spent across a wide range of popular categories is one of the more lucrative offerings in the world of points and miles. The Citi Premier comes with a $95 annual fee and is currently offering a solid sign up bonus of 80,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first three months. It also has some valuable transfer partners to make the most of your rewards. Add in access to Citi Entertainment plus a $100 hotel credit for any single-stay hotel booking that exceeds $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through the Citi travel website, there are few reasons why the Citi Premier should not be in every traveler’s wallet.

Pros

  • Earns 3x points on restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, air travel and hotels.
  • $100 annual hotel savings benefit (on single hotel stay bookings of $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through thankyou.com)
  • Points transfer to 16 airline programs, from JetBlue to Virgin Atlantic.
  • World Elite Mastercard benefits, extended warranty, damage and theft protection.

Cons

  • $95 annual fee
  • Lacks travel protections that other travel rewards cards come with
  • For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
  • Earn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Annual Hotel Savings Benefit
  • 80,000 Points are redeemable for $800 in gift cards when redeemed at thankyou.com
  • No expiration and no limit to the amount of points you can earn with this card
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases