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Crypto Payments Explained

Crypto payments are becoming more widely accepted by retailers, individuals, and businesses. While you can transfer funds manually, payment gateways provide a simpler way to accept crypto payments. This saves you from manually copying addresses and making mistakes. You can also use a crypto debit or credit card to make fiat payments with crypto you have in a linked account.

Crypto payments provide a cheap, quick, and fast way to transfer funds. There’s no need to use local fiat currencies for international transfers. A payment service will often be more intuitive than a wallet and also have customer support. On the other hand, a payment gateway provides less control, may charge fees, and takes longer to set up than a standard wallet.

You can start making crypto payments by using Binance Pay. The service is available to all Binance users with a crypto wallet and charges zero fees. Once you’re ready, you can begin making payments to any other Binance Pay user or supported retailer. You can also order a free Binance Card if you prefer making payments with a credit or debit card.


Although crypto is famous for speculation and investment, it does have another use case: payments. It’s easy to forget that people use cryptocurrencies like BNB, BTC, and BUSD to transfer value. Large retailers, such as Microsoft and Starbucks, and small businesses have begun to accept crypto payments for their goods and services.

This is usually done via a payment gateway to make the process simple. You can even use crypto to pay for items in fiat currency with a crypto card. So whether you want to pay back a friend or purchase an item, there are multiple options that use blockchain technology.

How do crypto payments work?

At its simplest level, a crypto payment transfers cryptocurrencies from one wallet to another. To do this manually, you’ll need the recipient’s public address. Using your wallet, you then copy the address in and send the funds. While this sounds easy, the process can be tricky and intimidating for newcomers. It’s not rare for users to make irreversible mistakes, such as sending the wrong kind of crypto to a certain address or selecting the wrong blockchain network. As there is no way to return a crypto transaction, these often lead to significant losses.

To help make the process foolproof, crypto service providers like Binance have created more intuitive crypto payment methods. These gateways turn a complicated process into one that can be done in just a few seconds. The exact steps differ depending on the payment processor, but the usual method is as follows:

1. A customer decides to pay for a good or service, or someone wants to pay a friend.

2. The recipient creates a digital invoice to be paid using their payment gateway. This is usually a QR code containing the receiving wallet address and the amount needed. For example, purchasing a $10 (US dollar) meal would require $10 of a specific cryptocurrency at the current market rate.

3. The payer scans the QR code with the app and confirms the payment.

4. The crypto is transferred to the payee’s account or digital wallet.

This whole process can be completed in just a few clicks. It’s also safer and more convenient than attempting to do all steps manually.

Crypto cards for payments

Another option for crypto payments is using a crypto-linked credit or debit card. This way, you can make payments using cryptocurrencies even if the payee only accepts fiat. To use a crypto card, you’ll need to store coins and tokens with your card provider. When you purchase something, the cryptocurrency exchange sells your digital assets for the required fiat and sends this to the payee. In some cases, it may also be that you pay off your monthly credit using crypto. The exact terms will change depending on the issuer or financial institution.

You can use crypto cards in more places than crypto payment gateways. However, it’s trickier to pay a friend directly unless they can accept card payment. If the payee wants to be paid in crypto, then a card also isn’t suitable. Both Visa and Mastercard currently offer crypto card options through different financial service providers.

What are the advantages of crypto payments?

Paying someone in crypto has advantages even without using a payment gateway or crypto card. When combined with a payments system, the experience has the best of both worlds:

1. Bitcoin (BTC) and other cryptocurrencies can be used in almost any country. This saves you from converting into the local fiat currency when making international payments.

2. Depending on the crypto payments provider, your transactions can go through almost instantly. This typically happens when you both use the same service. Even if your transaction isn’t instant, it can often be quicker than a bank account transfer and cheaper with fewer transaction fees.

3. A crypto payments service will have a customer support team to help you with any technical issues. This isn’t usually the case when you transfer funds manually with a custodial crypto wallet.

4. A crypto payments gateway is, for many newcomers, simpler to use than setting up and managing a wallet themselves.

What are the disadvantages of cryptocurrency payments?

While the advantages are easy to see, experienced users might find some limitations when making crypto payments:

1. You have less control than setting up a wallet yourself. Many people prefer the traditional experience of having full custody over their crypto. A payment gateway effectively adds an intermediary into the process.

2. Crypto prices can experience high volatility if you’re not using a stablecoin. This can make it difficult for the payee to plan their finances accurately.
3. You may have to go through a lengthy sign-up process with KYC and AML checks. While these keep people safe, it’s more effort than creating a wallet yourself.

4. Some payment networks will charge fees for the service they offer.

5. Accepting crypto as a payment method still isn’t widely accepted.

What is Binance Pay?

Binance Pay is a crypto payments service offered to all Binance users. It offers a borderless and contactless way to transfer and receive cryptocurrencies quickly. To send crypto, all you’ll need is someone’s email, mobile number, or payment ID. You can also create a QR code that specifies an amount, cryptocurrency, and message to be sent to the payer. Binance Pay also has a list of Merchant Stores that accept payments through the service.

How can I use Binance Pay?

If you’ve already got a Binance Account, head to the Binance Pay tab. You’ll then be directed to create a nickname for the service before you start making and receiving payments.
The [Send] tab will allow you to make a payment using an email, mobile number, or Pay ID. [Receive] tab will display your personal QR code, plus the option to customize it for your specific transaction. For more detailed instructions, see our How to Send Cryptocurrency to an Individual with Binance Pay FAQ.

Using a Binance Card

If you’re interested in using your crypto to pay for everyday fiat purchases, a crypto card is your best option. You can sign up for a free Binance Visa Card with your Binance account, so long as you have completed the required KYC and AML checks. To use it, simply transfer the crypto you want to use on the card to your Funding Wallet. When you make a card payment, the crypto will be sold for the local currency you’re paying in and transferred to the vendor.

Closing thoughts

Ever since the first famous real-world Bitcoin pizza purchase for 10,000 BTC in 2010, people have been using crypto to make payments. Over ten years later, we’ve progressed from a manual process to integrated digital currency gateways offered through FinTech banking and crypto services. If you want to start experimenting with crypto payments yourself, check with your crypto exchange to see what services they offer.

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