MCO Visa Card Review – up to 8% instant rebates, but should you bite?

Long story short: The MCO Visa Card is a perfect replacement for many credit cards and debit cards. It comes with unlimited 1%-8% instant rebate* on all spend, 100% rebates* on Spotify and Netflix, and if you like, expose yourself to the wider crypto ecosystem.

The MCO Visa Card is a part of the larger Crypto.com ecosystem of cryptocurrency-based services of lending, earning, investing, staking, and spending your cryptocurrencies. A separate review of the crypto-based ecosystem will be out in a couple of weeks to illustrate the possibilities of the alternate realm of digital currencies.

In the meantime, I want to spend some time talking about the MCO Visa Card and you can decide if this card is right for you. I’d like to disclaim that this card is not for everybody, but I think it opens up opportunities to replace many cards that you currently have in your arsenal.

The following content contains a non-sponsored review but may contain affiliate links. For my disclosure policies, please read them here. *Rebates are in the form of CRO rewards, defined in the explanation below.

This review has been updated in September 2020 to reflect the latest changes to the program.

Introduction

The MCO Visa Card is rather similar to a generic Visa plastic debit card issued by other Fintech firms like Revolut, TransferWise, and YouTrip.

You need to first preload the card with funds from your credit/debit card, linked bank account, or crypto wallet before you can use the card for transacting and spending.

Similar to the competition, the MCO Visa Card also offers the perks you typically get from using these Fintech debit cards – free overseas ATM access (up to a cap), free foreign exchange with no mark-ups, in-app instant spend notifications and in-app card control (block, manage and limit within the app).

However, the MCO Visa Card has additional benefits that are usually not found with the other three. Two of these benefits include an unlimited rebate of your spending between 1% to 5% in the form of CRO tokens – which can be converted back to cash and subsequently spent in your debit card; and for the higher tiers, a 100% rebate of entertainment services such as Spotify, Netflix, and Amazon Prime.

Here’s an introductory video:

What are the differences in the MCO Card tiers?

There are 5 card tiers for the MCO Visa Card, ranging from the free Midnight Blue card to the really expensive Obsidian Black card for the super-rich.

The Midnight Blue card comes with an unlimited 1% rebate, which Revolut charges a monthly subscription of S$19.99 per month for its Metal Card.

  • Midnight Blue: Free. 1% CRO rewards.
  • Ruby Steel: 1,000 CRO stake required. 2% CRO rewards. 100% CRO rewards for Spotify up to USD 12.99.
  • Jade Green/Royal Indigo: 10,000 CRO stake required. 3% CRO rewards. 100% CRO rewards for Spotify and Netflix up to US$12.99 each. Loungekey Airport lounge access passes.
  • Icy White/Frosted Rose: 100,000 CRO stake required. 5% CRO rewards. All of the above plus 100% CRO rewards for Amazon Prime, 10% CRO rewards for Expedia, bonus interest, and access to Crypto invest. One additional Loungekey Airport lounge access for guests.
  • Obsidian Black: 1,000,000 CRO stake required. 8% CRO rewards. All of the above plus private jet partnership, 10% CRO rewards for Airbnb.

While most people might be perfectly fine with the Midnight Blue card for normal use, those that want to take advantage of the better benefits offered in the higher tiers such as 100% rebate for Spotify and Netflix and airport lounge access might want to consider upgrading their cards.

In order to progress up the card tiers, you need to first stake a virtual token known as CRO – which means holding CRO locked in your wallet for an agreed period of time.

Depending on which card tier you’d like, you need to purchase and stake the required amount of CRO from the app or transfer the tokens in from another exchange, select the Upgrade option in the app, choose the respective card you would like to order and then proceed with staking.

This process will lock your CRO tokens in the app for six months, and if you subsequently choose to upgrade your card again during this period, your six-month timer will reset. They will then close your current MCO card before reissuing you with a new card with a different number. Additionally, a $50 card reissuing fee will be charged to your old debit card.

Note that you have to continue staking and locking up your CRO tokens if you wish to continue enjoying the purchase rebates of the MCO Card. This will also grant you the rebate % tier seen in the table above. If you choose not to continue staking CRO tokens after the initial lock-up, then your reward tiers reduce to a maximum of 2% rebate and there will be no purchase rebates for Spotify, Netflix, Expedia etc.

Card benefits without staking

How do I get CRO tokens for staking?

The CRO token can be either bought through their Crypto.com app or through other popular crypto exchanges like Binance, OKEX and Bittrex.

Because the token is publicly traded, it is subjected to price volatility, meaning the value of the token can change over time. This is a risk that you are undertaking when staking CRO tokens.

Why stake CRO for better rewards?

Staking CRO means that they will be locked in the app for the next six months. The price of the token can also fluctuate, meaning they could be potentially worth less than when you had bought them. However, there are benefits of staking these tokens, which can be broken down into the various products they offer in their ecosystem –

  • Cards: Reserve and upgrade a higher tier MCO Visa card
  • App: Airdrops for tokens and earn referral rewards
  • Earn: Earn higher interest on other staked tokens/coins
  • Credit: Borrow cheaper and get instant loans with CRO collateral
  • Invest: Pay less in fees when investing on their platform

A further explanation about MCO rewards

Transaction Rebates

CRO rewards are somewhat like a credit card cashback or rebates program, where you will get a rebate with every transaction that you make with the MCO card in the form of CRO tokens – paid into your crypto wallet within the app. While this is not cash (fiat) per se, CRO tokens have a value attached to them which can be sold in the market or converted to cash.

2% rebate is a higher rate of rebate than what most unlimited cashback cards you see in the market are offering (1.5%-1.6%). You also don’t have to pay any credit card annual fees or meet any minimum monthly spend or wait till the following month to receive your rebate.

The trade-off is that you can only receive your rebates in CRO tokens and you currently can only convert your CRO tokens into fiat (SGD) in blocks.

Purchase Rebates

For higher tier cards, you will have the option to receive a 100% rebate for your current subscriptions by paying with the subscription using your MCO Visa Card. Crypto.com will deposit the CRO equivalent of the rebate to your wallet after you’re charged, but you need to maintain sufficient balance in your MCO Visa Card for deduction.

Note that the merchants (e.g. Spotify, Netflix) do not have any sort of partnership with Crypto.com, so there is always a risk of them pulling or modifying the offer at their discretion. I suspect they are subsidizing the cost of acquisition to make it more worthwhile to stake CRO for such benefits.

In my opinion, the 1,000 CRO (~$250 stake) upgrade tier makes the most sense if you only want to quickly recoup your initial investment through Spotify purchase rebates. If you already own and are paying for a Spotify family plan, then you can break-even on your investment within 16 months at current prices, less if you manage to stake CRO cheaper.

How do I top up the MCO Card?

Under the MAS Payment Services Act, you can only hold up to S$5000 in your MCO Visa Card wallet, and spend S$30,000 from it annually. You also cannot make any ATM withdrawals – this is the same for all other similar cards like GrabPay MasterCard, Revolut Visa etc.

New top up limits under the MAS Payments Services Act

To top up your MCO Visa Card, you can head over to the Card page, hit top up and select if you’d like to top up by Crypto (BTC, ETH, LTC, XRP, MCO) or Credit/Debit card – a new feature launched in November 2019.

The in-app foreign currencies available. Other currencies can be exchanged on-the-fly (during purchase) but subjected to Visa’s exchange rates instead

You can also top up and convert into other currencies (HKD, EUR, AUD, JPY, GBP) from the Card page at the interbank exchange rate, up to limits set by each tier of MCO Visa card. The Midnight Blue card has a $2000 monthly exchange limit to exchange currencies using interbank exchange rate, and there is a 0.5% surcharge for exchanges above the monthly limit.

I personally use DBS debit cards for topping up SGD in the MCO Visa Card Wallet because they have no processing fees associated with them.

If you top up with credit cards, a 1% processing fee on the top-up amount applies.

What are the risks of using the MCO Visa Card?

We have discussed quite a bit about the features and benefits of the MCO Visa Card. However, there are some small risks especially when it comes to staking CRO tokens.

The price of CRO tokens move up and down daily as it gets traded on major exchanges worldwide. Within the past year, we have seen wild swings in its value.

This price volatility has implications on your the value of your transaction rebate (denominated in CRO) and the value of your stake.

Are there any MCO Card promotions?

Crypto.com usually holds regular card promotions on its platform. Last month, they had a waiver of the card re-issuance fee when users upgrade their cards from one tier to another. They are currently running a 10% rebate for food and grocery shopping with the MCO Visa Card for merchants such as GrabFood, Fairprice, Sheng Siong, McDonalds, Foodpanda, Domino’s Pizza, Deliveroo and more.

This is part of their Crypto.com Special Measures for Apr-Jun 2020 campaign which will end on 30 Jun 2020. (Update – Jul 2020: the campaign has been extended to Sep 2020)

MCO Card Sign up and Referral Bonus

If you are interested to get for yourself the MCO Visa Card, you can use this referral link and input the referral code h6xukdg2ch. You will receive US$50 ($70 SGD) if you stake at least 1,000 CRO for the MCO Visa Card, which can be used to offset your staking requirement.

With this referral, your cost of owning a Ruby Red card is much lower, and you should be able to break even much faster with the rebates on your Spotify subscription.

No bonuses if you didn’t, but you can within 10 days of confirming your email still input the referral code via App Settings -> Referral Code to get your bonus.

If you’re interested to find out how I make full use of the MCO card, check out my strategy here.

Use this free spreadsheet to calculate your returns based on your spending habits.

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Spiderscore

Spiderscore
8 10 0 1
Overall, the MCO Visa Card has an interesting take on the prepaid/debit card space, blending crypto-based rewards with fiat-currency spending. This is useful for those with existing crypto holdings or new users desiring to get into this space. However, short-term price volatility and the concept of staking might put off less sophisticated users.
Overall, the MCO Visa Card has an interesting take on the prepaid/debit card space, blending crypto-based rewards with fiat-currency spending. This is useful for those with existing crypto holdings or new users desiring to get into this space. However, short-term price volatility and the concept of staking might put off less sophisticated users.
8/10
Total Score iSpiderscore is our ranking system used when reviewing products and services. It is based on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the most highly recommended rating.

Pros

  • Fee-free foreign currency exchange and free overseas ATM withdrawals
  • 1% transaction rebate for free tier is generous compared to rivals
  • 100% purchase rebates is an attractive hook for mid-tier cards
  • Bridges the crypto-fiat currency for those who want to spend crypto in real-life
  • Rebate can be converted to cash

Cons

  • Price volatility in CRO tokens means the value of your stake and rebate can fluctuate
  • Top-tier cards are out-of-reach for the majority
  • Ongoing CRO stake is required for decent rewards
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8 comments
  1. I have the Indigo card and agree with your review. Risks aside and not being suitable for newbies, the card is an amazing option to have in our wallet. One thing to highlight is that the interbank exchange rate is amazing and I’ve consistently been able to get close to Google rate when making purchases in foreign currency.

      1. Similar as they both use mid-market exchange rates, but only for the supported currencies (SGD, EUR, AUD, HKD, JPY, and GBP). For other currencies, Visa would set the exchange rate at the point of transaction. Plus, you get rebates on your spending.

          1. Yes, the 1% unlimited rebate makes it way superior. The only catch is it’s not a direct cash rebate

  2. Ruby Steel/Royal Indigo/Jade Green/Icy White/Frosted Rose Gold/Obsidian Black:
    10% off purchases ($50 reward cap monthly).

    this cap is in USD or SGD?

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