Visa, MasterCard
A credit card user displays her cards in Washington.Reuters

Bitcoin exchange BTC-e is allowing users to send funds to Visa and MasterCard debit and credit cards issued in any country and in any currency with some exceptions.

The exchange is charging a 5% fee for the service. Users can only transfer funds in US dollars and it takes 2-4 business days to deliver funds to cards.

"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," BTC-e said in a statement.

In the credit card statement, the operations will show as "affiliate payment" or "refund affiliate payment". The exchange added that on some cards such transactions would not be possible due to restrictions imposed by banks.

"Some credit cards that do 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," it said.

The service will not be available for MasterCard's Maestro debit card, cards issued by PayPal and Visa Electron debit cards.

Bitcoin is trading at $569.49 on BTC-e as at 8:00am GMT.

BTC-e announced in late February immediately after the bankruptcy announcement of Japan-based bitcoin exchange MtGox that it was planning to try different fee scales and ability to obtain fund withdrawals.

MtGox, which at one point hosted 80% of the world's bitcoin trades, collapsed after reporting that about 850,000 bitcoins were missing in what it claims was a theft, the result of a two-year-long cyber attack. The company filed for bankruptcy protection in Japan on 28 February and subsequently in the US.

Trading volumes in rival bitcoin exchanges Bistamp and BTC-e began to rise as MtGox's problems mounted. The three exchanges accounted for about 30% each of total trading done in US dollars at the end of 2013.

At present, Bitstamp, Bitfinex and BTC-e are handling more than 90% of total trades in the popular digital currency, according to Bitcoin Average.