Wednesday, 22 July 2020 05:46

Mastercard offers cryptocurrency firms ability to issue credit cards

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Mastercard offers cryptocurrency firms ability to issue credit cards Image by VIN JD from Pixabay

Global payments technology company Mastercard has expanded its cryptocurrency program, making it easy for its partners to introduce secure compliant payment cards to market.

In a statement, the company said it was inviting cryptocurrency and cryptocurrency card partners to join its Accelerate program for emerging brands and fintechs as it would provide them access with everything needed for quick growth.

Mastercard's move comes at a time when Wirex has become the first native cryptocurrency platform to be granted a principal membership, allowing it to directly issue payment cards.

"The cryptocurrency market continues to mature, and Mastercard is driving it forward, creating safe and secure experiences for consumers and businesses in today's digital economy," said Raj Dhamodharan, executive vice-president, Digital Asset and Blockchain Products and Partnerships, Mastercard.

"Our work with Wirex and the wider cryptocurrency ecosystem is accelerating innovation and empowering consumers with more choice in the way they pay."

The company said principal membership enabled Wirex to issue payment cards directly to consumers, making it easier for people to buy, hold and exchange multiple traditional and cryptocurrencies. Consumers could instantly convert their cryptocurrencies into traditional fiat currencies, which could be used everywhere Mastercard was accepted.

It said currency would always enter Mastercard's network as traditional fiat currency. Users would also benefit from Wirex's Cryptoback rewards program, which automatically gives them up to 1.5% back in bitcoin for every purchase made in-store.

"We are very excited for Wirex to be the first cryptocurrency-native company granted principal membership from Mastercard," said Pavel Matveev, chief executive and co-founder of Wirex.

"It represents a growing interest and recognition in the acceptance of cryptocurrency by leading bodies and regulators and will help us to realize our vision of empowering everyone to experience a world where all currencies, traditional and cryptocurrency, are equal."

Wirex is regulated by the UK's Financial Conduct Authority with a licence to issue cards in Europe. It has shown rapid growth over the last 18 months and has successfully expansion into the Asia Pacific region along with the release of its native Wirex Token.

The company plans to launch the next generation of Wirex cards for customers in Europe later this year, with features including additional currencies and free international ATM withdrawals. Wirex also plans to issue corporate cards for Wirex Business clients.

Mastercard said its Accelerate program provided a simple, single entry point to a range of specialised programs and gave cryptocurrency partners and other fintechs support and assistance for every stage of their growth and transformation, from market entry to global expansion. Cryptocurrency partners could join Mastercard in weeks and were guided through everything the company could offer.

There are some requirements for cryptocurrency partnerships; they must:

  • Provide strong consumer protection, including privacy and security of the consumers' information and transactions;
  • Deliver a level playing field for all stakeholders, including but not limited to financial institutions, merchants and mobile network operators; and
  • Operate in full compliance with all applicable laws and regulations, including those applicable to anti-money laundering, and consistent with the economic systems of the countries the network operates in.

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Sam Varghese

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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