Though you’ve likely heard of bitcoins in the news by now, you’re not alone if you still remain a bit confused about if and how they work as a currency. Labeled by some as the currency of the future, their value still wildly fluctuates depending on the market. But does anyone actually use them to make purchases? The answer is yes and if you are going to invest in bitcoins, then getting a bitcoin debit card can make actually spending them a lot easier. As with any financial endeavor, however, it’s important to look at potential cons before jumping in.

The upside of bitcoin debit cards

Until the advent of bitcoin debit cards, actually spending the cryptocurrency was relatively complex. Though more retailers are starting to get on board with accepting bitcoins, the number of those who do is still relatively small. The major advantage of a bitcoin debit card is that once it’s loaded, it works by automatically converting your balance to a selected currency, such as dollars or euros. You can then use your card to pay anywhere you’d use a regular Visa or Mastercard.

In this way, bitcoin debit cards cut out the formally complex conversion process by acting as a sort of prepaid debit card that you can use an app to fund from your bitcoin account. There are both traditional cards which you can use to make atm withdrawals or store purchases and “virtual” cards which you can get if you only plan to shop online. Each is an incredibly easy way to turn your bitcoins into cash if you should decide to spend them. They can also be helpful in travel situations since they only deduct from your balance at the best exchange rates.

Potential negatives of bitcoin debit card spending

As far as the cons of bitcoin debit cards, there are a few to consider. First of all, you’ll want to do a bit of shopping to find the best rates, as different companies who issue the cards charge a wide variety of fees. While the fees may be worth it to some users to have instant access to their cryptocurrency, it will always end up running you more than you’d pay if you only shopped at retailers that accepted bitcoins directly.

The other obvious worry is that in the process of transferring your bitcoins to your mobile wallet and card, you may be opening yourself to an increased risk of cyber theft. This may be an issue you want to discuss with potential providers before signing up for a card so that you can see if they offer any sort of insurance. Last but not least, there’s the concern about whether you really want to be spending your bitcoins in the first place. Granted it’s nice to have a way to cash in on them in case of emergencies. If you’ve invested in bitcoins, however, then you probably already know that there’s always the possibility they could go up in value if you let them sit a while longer.

How do you get one?

If you are interested in investing in a card you can load with your bitcoins, then the good news is that they are relatively easy to find.  BitpayCryptopayXapoWirex, Spectrocoin, and TenX are a few examples of leading bitcoin debit card providers that will be happy to hook you up with more information. If you already have a bitcoin wallet you like, then you can also check with them to see if they offer debit cards which you can to attach to your account. Even so, you may want to shop around just to make sure that you’ve found the best deal for your specific situation and spending plans.