Today, at 17:49 BTC-e time, BTC-e released this update on their site.  This was the first update in nearly a month, the last update being a statement regarding Mt. Gox.

Withdrawal of funds on the cards VISA / MasterCard issued in any country and in any currency.

Dear our valuable clients!

We are pleased to announce that for your convenience, we have implemented a new payout system that allows you to send your funds to any cards VISA / MasterCard issued in any country and in any currency.

Fee – 5%

Transfer of funds is possible only in U.S. dollars . If your card is not in USD, the money will be converted at the rate of VISA / MasterCard or your bank’s rate (depending on the agreement with your bank). It takes 2-4 business days to deliver funds to your card. «Maestro» and «VISA Electron» cards are not supported by our payout system.

BTC-e is one of the top Bitcoin and Litecoin exchanges in the world in the aftermath of The Goxxing.  BTC-e has drawn a lot of interest in the last few months as its anonymous owners have not yet stepped forward to allay the fears of some customers, and even some regulators.  According to Bitcoincharts, BTC-e is currently the third largest Bitcoin Exchange by USD volume and this new withdrawal method potentially opens the exchange up to even more users worldwide. 


The Limitations

BTC-e included a short FAQ that cleared up any questions potential users of this new program might have.  Users can only fund VISA and Mastercard cards that allow a positive balance on the account, and the transaction from BTC-e occurs in USD and the user is responsible for additional currency exchange costs.

During the test period, our administrators have received a lot of questions. Here are the answers to the most frequently asked questions:

1 . What is displayed in the statement of my card?
Operation appears as : «affiliate payment» or «refund affiliate payment».

2 . Does it matter in which country my card is issued ?
We can fund any card (VISA/MasterCard) in any country.

3 . Is it important the type of my card: credit , debit , etc.?
Yes, it is. On some cards withdrawal is not possible, this is due to the restrictions polices of some banks. For example: you cannot withdraw money through our exchange on the cards issued by PayPal. Some credit cards that does not allow to have a positive balance cannot be funded.

If payout to your card is not possible, then we will immediately notify you and refund the money back to your account.

Mixed Reception From Bitcoiners

BTC-e hasn’t revealed exactly which third party payment processor is providing this service to them.  Some Bitcoiners have noted that similar capabilities were already provided by BTC-e through LiqPay.  On the other side, some are skeptical about the longevity of this program.  The fiat appears in the system as an affiliate payment, or a refund affiliate payment.  Those familiar with such programs have been quick to point out that the industry widely frowns upon abuse of affiliate payments, and payment codes.  Visa and Mastercard could take offense to this operation, or the third party processor could pull out.  Either way, BTC-e has always taken this approach in releasing functionality and news.  Because of that, BTC-e has both haters and lovers.

Check out this /r/Bitcoin thread about the announcement.