Monaco: A Currency Exchange & Cryptocurrency Rewards Prepaid Card

Recently, a friend recommended now is a good time to buy a little of 4 big cryptocurrencies: Bitcoin, the new Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, and Litecoin. So I bought $100 of each, mostly for the sake of curiosity. I do NOT recommend cryptocurrency as an investment (try these platforms instead!).

monaco review crypto

Monaco will exchange currency and earn crypto rewards with a prepaid debit card

And today, I heard about Monaco, which aims to exchange currency at perfect interchange rates (including crypto). And if you pledge to invest in the card, you can earn “crypto back” rewards – which you can redeem for real crypto.

There are NO fees because your money is always treated as local currency no matter if you’re spending US dollars, a foreign currency, or crypto.

Monaco isn’t available yet in the US. But they expect to launch globally any time now. If you use my link to sign up, you’ll get $10 added to your account for free. Ten US dollars. 😉

Exchange currency and oh god, do I have to think about crypto now?

First and foremost, Monaco is a currency exchange platform and prepaid debit card. Secondly, it supports cryptocurrency payments through the Visa network – so you can pay with crypto anywhere Visa is accepted. Finally, if you pay enough upfront, it’s a rewards debit card.

a qr code on a white background

Free currency exchange, crypto platform, and prepaid debit card all in one

I love the idea that Monaco will hold your money like a bank and allow you to shop anywhere in the world with perfect bank interchange rates because all purchases are made in the local currency. If you choose to pay with crypto, it’s automatically exchanged at the real-time rate.

And if you want to send money to someone in another country, you also get the perfect bank interchange rate. In my opinion, this is the raison d’etre for getting the card.

a white background with black text

Pay with crypto like you would with any Visa debit card

That said, those interested in cryptocurrencies will be particularly interested in the Monaco card. Because you can buy and hold many types of crypto in your account. And spend crypto at the current exchange rates anywhere Visa is accepted – which is pretty much everywhere. This leads me to think: could you eventually use this to pay rent via Plastiq… with Bitcoin?

About the Monaco card

The Monaco card will come in 4 flavors. And each has different rewards and banking limits. But ALL of them are free to have (no monthly fees), have no foreign exchange fees, and ship free.  Half a million cards are already being produced as I type this.

1. Midnight Blue – Free

  • $2,000 monthly interbank exchange rates limit (then 0.5%)
  • $200 in free monthly ATM withdrawals (then 2%)
  • Plastic card

2. Ruby Steel – $611 to reserve

  • Must purchase and hold 50 Monaco tokens for 6 months (currently ~$611 @ $12.23 per token)
  • Earns 1% crypto back on all purchases
  • $4,000 monthly interbank exchange rates limit (then 0.5%)
  • $400 in free monthly ATM withdrawals (then 2%)
  • Metal card
a group of credit cards

Choose from 1 of 4 cards

3. Precious Metal – $6,115 to reserve

  • Must purchase and hold 500 Monaco tokens for 6 months (currently $6,115 @ $12.23 per token)
  • Earns 1.5% crypto back on all purchases
  • $10,000 monthly interbank exchange rates limit (then 0.5%)
  • $800 in free monthly ATM withdrawals (then 2%)
  • LoungeKey airport lounge access
  • Metal card (choose from Rose Gold or Space Gray – both limited edition)

4. Obsidian Black – $611,500 to reserve

  • Must purchase and hold 50,000 Monaco tokens for 6 months (currently $611,500 @ $12.23 per token)
  • Earns 2% crypto back on all purchases
  • Unlimited monthly interbank exchange rates limit (then 0.5%)
  • $1,000 in free monthly ATM withdrawals (then 2%)
  • LoungeKey airport lounge access + 1 guest
  • Metal card – only 999 available

Let’s taco bout that rewards program

Basically, you need to spend $600+ to activate the 1% crypto back feature. Or you can earn 1.5% crypto back if you pay $6,000+. If you want the full 2% crypto back, you’d have to spend over half a million dollars (!!!). No thanks!

a screenshot of a credit card

You have to pledge to activate the rewards program

I suppose if you’re interested in getting started with crypto, it might be worth it to pay ~$600 to earn a flat 1% crypto back on every purchase. But that’s really only if you were planning to spend that much anyway.

The other pricier options are a definite NO from me. But if you really want to go full force into crypto, or were already planning to, they would make an excellent option to get a further return on your spending.

a card with a white circle and a blue background

I’ll start with plain Jane and move up from there

I personally signed up for the free version. There’s no word yet on if you can change your rewards later. And it seems you are only pledging to purchase the Monaco tokens when the card is released – there is no payment necessary to reserve any of the cards.

I’m still new to crypto but want to dabble for my own knowledge and edification. I am interested in crypto and want to get familiar – especially if it becomes more of a way of life in the future.

Are there drawbacks?

Hell yeah. You wanna talk about volatile? Cryptocurrency is the definition of volatile.

There are so many things that could do wrong with this:

  • No FDIC protection
  • Little or no recourse if your money just disappears
  • Crypto is an untested monetary instrument
  • The crypto back rewards might be worth nothing or less than cash back
  • The company is new and it might all be a total disaster

No risk, no reward though. If you go for the free option, it gives you a chance to move at your own pace. Plus you get $10 free for signing up.

I might put $100 in the account and let it sit for a while. That’s when and if the company and card ever launch – although it should be very soon by now. I found some early buzz dated as far back as June 2017.

And there’s a TON of conversation about Monaco on the Reddit Cryptocurrency page.

I’d also encourage you to poke around the official Monaco site and FAQs to help you make up your mind before you sign up.

I personally think crypto is kinda cool and don’t want to miss the boat if it ends up being huge in a few years. I’d like to start learning more about it at my own pace than have to get with the program too fast down the road.

This part might make you uncomfortable, though

You need to upload your ID and a selfie after you download the app. This is actually to protect you against fraud. But for some peeps, it might cross a line.

It was the exact same process when I bought Bitcoin from Coinbase, so it didn’t faze me. As always, do what you’re comfortable doing.

Be sure to claim your free $10

If you use my link to sign up, you get $10 in your Monaco account. And I get nothing except a higher spot to reserve my card to start exploring the features.

a screenshot of a blue screen

Claiming the $10 is a bit tricky

To begin, you have to download the app. So you need to load the link from a mobile browser on your phone or tablet. You use to pull up the download page.

Then, make sure this badge appears at the top of the app:

a screen shot of a computer

If you see this, you’re golden

It might take a couple of clicks to get it to show. Once it does, you can proceed.

Again, I get $0 (nothing!) if you use my link. I just wanna make sure you get your free $10.

Bottom line

Peeps have wildly different opinions about cryptocurrency ranging from total scam to wave of the future and everything in between. So what’s the real scoop? I don’t know for sure, but read as much as you can to get educated. That’s what I’m doing, on the off-chance crypto ends up being major in a few years – I wanna be ahead of the curve.

With that thought, Monaco is a new card that will bridge the gap between local currency and crypto when they launch (hopefully very soon). I’m excited about paying with Bitcoin everywhere Visa is accepted. But the service also allows you to transfer and pay with currency at perfect bank interchange rates, which is awesome.

There are 4 versions of the Monaco card. But I started with the free version. And will use it to dabble for a while until I get more comfy with crypto. When you sign up with my link, you’ll get $10 free when you get your card.

If you just want to buy some crypto, use Coinbase. It’s the most secure and reputable place to buy (so far they only support Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, and Litecoin).

If you’re familiar with crypto, what do you think of Monaco? And if you’re not, will this new service convince you to explore this new way to pay? 

* If you liked this post, consider signing up to receive free blog posts in an RSS reader and you’ll never miss an update!

Announcing Points Hub—points, miles, and travel rewards community. Join for just $9/month or $99/year.

BEST Current Credit Card Deals

  • Capital One Venture X Rewards—Earn 75,000 Venture miles once you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening, plus a $300 annual statement credit for travel booked through Capital One
  • Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card—Earn 100,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points after you spend $15,000 on purchases in the first 3 months and 3X bonus points per $1 on the first $150,000 spent on travel and select business categories each account anniversary year
  • Amex Blue Business Plus—Earn 15,00 Membership Rewards points once you spend after you spend $3,000 in purchases in the first 3 months of Card Membership and 2X bonus points on up to $50,000 in spending per year with NO annual fee

The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

About Harlan

Just a dude living in Memphis, traveling, and working toward financial independence.

More articles by Harlan »



    • Thanks for the info! Hopefully this one makes it out alive. I think it will. Even still, I recommend the free version to start until they gain a little more footing.

Leave a Reply