On January 5, 2018, WaveCrest, a card issuer working with cryptocurrency credit cards, including Bitwala, Cryptopay, Wirex, and TenX, announced that following an order from Visa Europe, it would suspend services immediately.
According to Visa Europe, WaveCrest's membership was terminated "due to noncompliance with our operating rules. All of WaveCrest's Visa card programmes will be closed as a result." The move by Visa doesn't encompass all cryptocurrency, however:
"Visa has other approved card programmes that use fiat funds converted from cryptocurrency in a number of jurisdictions. The termination of WaveCrest's Visa membership does not affect these other products. Visa is committed to the security of its ecosystem and compliance with Visa's operating rules is critical for ensuring the safety and integrity of the Visa payment system. Our issuers' card programmes must comply with our membership regulations, as well as all applicable laws."
WaveCrest sent a letter to users warning of the impending card shutdown following Visa Europe's decision to rescind services. It reads:
"We, WaveCrest, are the issuer of your Visa Prepaid card, which you enrolled for through one of our program partners. Visa have today instructed us that we must close all WaveCrest issued Visa Prepaid Cards with immediate effect … Your WaveCrest-issued Visa Prepaid Card will no longer function. However, as your funds were stored in your e-wallet they will remain accessible to you via your wallet provider."
Unsuspecting cardholders caught up in the turmoil weren't shy about filing their complaints, some of whom found themselves inadvertently stranded without any access to funds:
In a statement to users, TenX founder Dr. Julian Hosp explained the Visa-related issues and assured users that on Monday, January 8, 2018, withdrawals for cryptocurrencies would be enabled. He added that a great deal of the tech team is out on vacation, and should be assembled by next week to facilitate the transfers.
Other affected companies also responded via social media to relate the news to their user bases:
It remains to be seen how the cryptocurrency card providers will restore services, but for the time being, users who rely on them will need to seek out alternate methods of payment.