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Using a Stellar wallet to buy and deposit USDC to Kinesis

To test the process for the UK, I installed Lobstr wallet.
This was straightforward and had a useful FAQ section.

I then started the process of acquiring USDC from within the Lobstr wallet.
There is a Buy & Sell Crypto option listed within the wallet with VISA/MC symbols.
This links to a partner called MoonPay, which allows card or bank transfer (faster payment)
There is also a Deposit option.
Going via the Assets option, then looking at the options for USDC, you can also access Deposit.
Deposit has two options of potential interest:
  • MoneyGram - cash (doesn't work for UK)
  • Banxa - card or faster payment

MoonPay charges are rather high.
  • Minimum payment is £30.
  • 6.5% for card payments for values above ~£160. Fee is £5.20 for min payment.
  • 2.7% for bank transfer for values above ~£570. Fee is £4.60 for min payment.

Your payment amount is used to calculate the number of USDC.
The relevant fee is then added to your payment amount to come to the total to pay.
There may have been a small amount of additional slippage on the GBP/USD/USDC rate. I was focused on the added fees to calculate the above %'s.

The MoneyGram option involves depositing cash at one of their locations in exchange for USDC.
Although the UK is listed as one of the Cash In countries, it doesn't appear on the list of available countries when going through the process, so this is not an option for the UK, but could be interesting for other countries eg there are 14 countries in Africa that are listed.

Banxa charges are slightly lower than MoonPay.
  • Minimum payment is £40.
  • ~6.2% for card payments for values above ~£160. Just over 6.5% for min payment.
  • ~2.3% for bank transfer for values above ~£600. 5.2% fee for min payment.
Fees are deducted from your payment amount, with the remainder used to calculate the number of USDC.
These % costs were "everything included". I calculated the USD value for the GBP payment and assumed 1 USDC=1 USD.

MoonPay transaction
I didn't notice the Banxa option initially, so went forward with a purchase via MoonPay (bank transfer).
The process itself was very smooth. Started on desktop, completed on mobile by scanning QR code, then confirming payment in mobile banking app.
It took less than 10 minutes between authorising the bank transfer and receiving the USDC.

USDC sent to my KM account generated a Kinesis email receipt within a minute.
Fee Charged:0.00001 XLM, basically nothing.

The cost of funding GBP, even via Banxa faster payments is relatively high.
However, might be worth considering vs a high street bank international wire for smaller amounts.
eg £200 sent via Banxa would cost 2.7%.
If you have a crypto account that allows fiat deposit and USDC purchase, that route is likely to be eliminate much of the cost.

KYC, 24 hour wait period, questionnaire
Be aware that you will have a 24 hour wait period for any of these fiat-crypto services in the UK (eg Banxa, MoonPay) and that qualifying for one doesn't qualify you for another.
You will also have to classify your investor type, do KYC and also pass a questionnaire before they will allow you to complete your purchase.
The clock seems to start when you initiate your first purchase - which they will interrupt to do the above. Some of the required activity is at the interruption point, some is after the 24 hours is up.

While not really related to deposits, I did try the MoneyGram Cash Out option.
This time, UK was one of the supported countries.
I got all the way through the process, including selecting a local store and submitting ID, however at the last page, I got this message:
Unfortunately this wallet is not eligible for MoneyGram transactions at this time
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Banxa supports ACH in the US and Interac in Canada. A better option for USDC for most, imo.

Moonpay is good for XLM, the native Stellar asset.

Certain countries accept Moneygram deposits (Cash-in) at no extra fee, here is a list of supported countries:

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Interac is free in Canada.
ACH was about 2% last I checked, a few months ago ( cant see it now, as I'm overseas).
OK, so do Banxa give you the full value of your CAD in USDC when bought via Interac transfers?
(Faster Payments is the free way to do bank transfers in the UK)

They don't specify any separate fee for GBP purchases, but this is how I worked out the "fee".

Calculate USD value of my GBP payment eg £100 currently = $126.4 at mid rate.
If 1 USDC = 1 USD, then in a perfect world (for me), I would get 126.4 USDC for my £100.
Banxa won't be doing this for free, so they will give less USDC than that.
They are giving 122.18 USDC for £100.

I calculate the fee they are taking as
(126.4-122.18)/126.4 = 3.34%

As in my initial post, the % fee drops to ~2.3% for higher values.

EDIT 4th Apr:
I looked at costs for Interac (CAD) and Instant Bank Transfer (USD) here:
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Banxa was the most cost effective way on Lobstr when I looked into it.
Interac has no fees but there is a mid market conversion from $CAD to USDC$ and a "network fee" which effectively puts you at less then 1:1 but the total was about half of Moonpay's all in fee's..
If this helps anyone. I ran a test with $300.

Bank account to Coinbase USDC - Free
USDC on Stellar to Kinesis - Free
USDC to USD on the Kinesis Exchange - 0.66 Cents.

My first transfer was a bank wire with Wise to Indonesia into Kinesis, I think the turn around was $20.

Really liking the Stellar network add.
Sorry I more detail.. What is the name of the app you mentioned, how to get the USDC from the app to Kinesis
Robinhood. But you can't buy send USDC from there to Kinesis over the stellar network. Only using the Ethereum or Solana networks. Those have sending fees that are too high.

Think of crypto in this way: you have tokens and networks. Confusingly, sometimes the token is also the network. For example, paxos gold (gold backed token) is stored on/transferred around over the Ethereum network (ETH). Another example would be that stellar tokens can be stored and transferred over the stellar network.

What I do is buy stellar tokens on Robinhood, send them over to my stellar wallet in Kinesis, sell to USD, and then buy KAG.
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Just for reference, Robinhood doesn't currently allow crypto purchases in the UK.
They obviously do in the US and it also seems likely in the EU.

A crypto exchange that allows purchase of USDC and withdrawal on the Stellar network is going to be the optimum solution as described by @Paraeer here:

Bank account to Coinbase USDC - Free
USDC on Stellar to Kinesis - Free
USDC to USD on the Kinesis Exchange - 0.66 Cents.

There was likely another 30 or so cents in the bid price "spread" (You get $0.999 or close to this per 1 USDC), making the overall cost ~0.33%.
For those in the US, in addition to the Coinbase option, this also looks like minimal cost:
The other US based solution I like is Juno.finance because they are a US bank and crypto exchange. The cost for USDC stellar there is free and because there is no spread the only fee is the fraction of a penny in gas to send the USDC to Kinesis. They pay me 3% interest on Fiat for balances under $20k and 5% for those over $20k.

@The Moonshaft also provided a good overview of exchanges and costs here:
The MoneyGram option involves depositing cash at one of their locations in exchange for USDC.
I wrote to MoneyGram a few days ago. I asked them why U.S. and U.K. were not on their current cash drop-off list. Their response was not too encouraging:
MoneyGram status.jpg