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Mastercard grants Wirex approval to issue crypto payment cards

Mastercard grants Wirex approval to issue crypto payment cards

Mastercard expands its Accelerate programme, making it easier for cryptocurrency and crypto card partners to join

Digital payment platform Wirex has become the first native cryptocurrency platform to be granted a Mastercard principal membership, allowing it to directly issue payment cards.

Consumer interest and investment in digital currencies are growing, with recent research from Statista showing that up to 20 per cent of the population of some countries are holding cryptocurrencies, and an increasing number of merchants, digital players and financial institutions are exploring crypto payments.

“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 crypto ecosystem is accelerating innovation and empowering consumers with more choice in the way they pay.”

By enabling Wirex to issue payment cards directly to consumers, Mastercard principal membership makes it easier for people to buy, hold and exchange multiple cryptocurrencies. Consumers can instantly convert their cryptocurrencies into traditional fiat currency, which can be spent everywhere Mastercard is accepted around the world.

Currency will always enter Mastercard’s network as traditional fiat currency. Users will also benefit from Wirex’s Cryptoback rewards programme, which automatically gives customers up to 1.5 per cent back in Bitcoin for every purchase made in-store.

The move comes as Mastercard expands its Mastercard’s Accelerate programme, making it easier for cryptocurrency and crypto card partners to join it. Crypto partners can be onboarded to Mastercard in a matter of weeks and are guided through the company’s services, the company says. Programme participants are connected to relevant parts of the business to integrate Mastercard’s proprietary technology, leverage cybersecurity services and reach new customers and markets.

In February of this year, Mastercard rival Visa granted Coinbase authorisation to issue bitcoin debit cards, making Coinbase the first cryptocurrency firm with the power to issue debit cards.

These developments lay the foundation for the expansion of cryptocurrency being used to buy everyday items, regardless of whether the merchant in question accepts cryptocurrency.

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