Have you ever tried to pay for something online with your local card and it’s being rejected by the merchant simply because the billing address is not US and the card is in your local currency or perharps you have a US paypal account and need to add an acceptable US card to your paypal but all you have is a card with your local currency. Well, worry no more as Barter is here to help.
Barter is a digital platform owned by flutterwave which issues dollar denominated virtual card. This card is especially aimed at those who live in Africa and want to pay on international websites (particularly US websites) but can’t because the billing address of the card is in Africa or wants to make online purchase using paypal but needs an acceptable US card to be linked to their US paypal account.
Getting the dollar virtual card is very easy. First you need to download the Barter app on google or ios, then fill out the necessary details such as your name, address, bvn and so forth, this takes between 1-5 mins to fill at most. After which you fund your account with your local currency and it will be converted to dollar immediately to fund your card.
You’ll be provided with your card details and billing address and you can start shopping with the card immediately. Remember that if you want to link it to your paypal you should have fund in it. You’ll need at least $1 as this would be needed for paypal verification, paypal will debit you $1 and credit it back to you almost immediately. Though the card is a lifesaver for many but there are things most people feel they can improve on about the card. What are these?
Cons of Using Barter Card
First, is their convertion rate. Their conversion rate is too high. Infact, it is expensive using their card considering their conversion rate. For instance, if you are converting from naira they convert at a whooping rate of N497 (rate as of the time of writing this article) even higher than what you’ll get in the black market. This is too high considering that banks are converting at most N420. I guess they are doing this to be on the safe side due to dollar fluctuation so that they don’t lose money incase dollar rises above their conversion rate.
Second issue is that you can’t withdraw fund to the card. If it has this option it could have been the solution most freelancers in Nigeria are looking for. You can only use it for payment on paypal but can’t use it to withdraw your funds on paypal. Well, since CBN as recently approved paypal for international transfer hopefully the card will be enabled to withdraw fund from paypal.
Thirdly, you can’t use the card on money transfer site. For instance, on sites such as Transferwise the card would not work.
In conclusion, if you can buy dollar from black market and fund your bank dollar Mastercard it’s cheaper for you than using barter dollar card. However, if you are on a site that accepts only cards with US billing address then a Barter card can be useful. If you also want to purchase dollar at ease without no middle man then barter card can also be an option (though at a high rate).