Bitcoin and credit cards are electronic payment systems facilitating digital money transfers. However, they have significant disparities that clearly distinguish one from the other. For instance, governments and financial companies regulate the usage of credit cards while Bitcoin is a decentralized means of payment. The following article will describe how Bitcoin and credit cards work and highlight the critical differences between the two.

Bitcoin Transactions

Satoshi Nakamoto designed Bitcoin to run on a peer-to-peer network, removing third parties from transactions. And this ensures that only the two parties making the financial exchange are involved. Bitcoin users do not need banks or any other financial institution to transact, and this reduces the transaction costs while facilitating prompt payment processing.

Bitcoin payments are similar to wire transfers or cash transactions, transferring funds directly between two parties without an intermediary. Bitcoin’s network comprises independent nodes, verifying and validating the transactions on a shared blockchain ledger. The ledger is irreversible, facilitating the utmost transparency in all Bitcoin transactions.

Bitcoin users can process payments through personal wallets or crypto exchange platforms such as Bitcoin Era. However, one does not have to provide personal identification details like names and addresses. Besides, Bitcoin also allows users to transact anonymously. That means no one monitors Bitcoin users’ financial activities or transaction volumes.

Credit Card Payments

Unlike in Bitcoin, credit card users must go through merchants or third parties to process payments on their behalf. Typically, one authorizes a merchant to transfer money from their account, using other intermediaries to complete the payments. A Visa transaction is an excellent example of a credit card payment involving five parties, including the credit card network, merchant, credit card acquirer, issuer, and the cardholder. Sometimes, the transaction could involve a sixth party, the payment processor.

Each party involved in the transaction charges a fee for their services. They pass on those fees to the cardholders, impacting substantial transaction costs. Besides, credit cards are tangible objects kept in physical storage. Thus, they are usually vulnerable to theft and loss. Besides, credit card numbers are easy to hack, making them a target for cybercriminals.

The Key Differences Between Bitcoin Payments and Credit Cards

Bitcoin users have unique public keys with anonymous alphanumeric addresses that vary with every transaction. The public key is like the account number for sending or receiving payments. Bitcoin also has a private key for authorizing transactions through your wallet. Those transacting through mobile devices can also use Quick Response (QR) codes linked to their wallets. On the other hand, credit cards can also work on mobile devices, but payments must go through several intermediaries for approval and processing.

Credit card users often have to hand over their cards to other people or swipe them at point-of-sale terminals. The problem is that somebody can hack those machines, and simulated terminals can also send users’ card information to bad actors. Untrustworthy cashiers could also keep their customers’ credit card data and sell them online or use them in other unlawful ways. Bitcoin eliminates all intermediaries from transactions, leaving only the two parties involved in the financial exchange. The absence of third parties in Bitcoin payments leaves no room for anyone to intercept or manipulate users’ transactions and data.

Bitcoin transactions are irreversible, and only the recipient can refund the payments. However, credit card companies and users can always cancel payments. That means no chargebacks for merchants when receiving Bitcoin payments. Besides, using Bitcoin enables merchants to save on credit card fees. Bitcoin payments cost relatively lower than credit cards.

Both Bitcoin and credit cards are convenient electronic payment methods. However, Bitcoin offers more benefits, including enhanced transactional security, prompt payment processing, and low-cost transactions.