The payments giant has invited cryptocurrency and crypto card partners to join its Accelerate program for emerging brands and fintechs, giving them backing for growth and allowing them to bring compliant payments cards to market.
UK fintech Wirex has become the first native cryptocurrency platform to be granted a Mastercard principal membership, allowing it to directly issue payment cards.
Customers will be able to buy, hold and exchange multiple traditional and cryptocurrencies. They will be able to instantly convert their cryptocurrencies into traditional fiat currency, which can be spent where Mastercard is accepted.
Raj Dhamodharan, executive vice-president, digital asset and blockchain products and partnerships, Mastercard said the cryptocurrency market has continued to mature.
“Our work with Wirex and the wider crypto ecosystem is accelerating innovation and empowering consumers with more choice in the way they pay,” Mr Dhamodharan said.
Currency will enter Mastercard’s network as traditional fiat currency.
Users will also have access to Wirex’s Cryptoback rewards program, which gives customers up to 1.5 per cent back in [bitcoin] for every purchase made in store.
Pavel Matveev, chief executive and co-founder of Wirex said the partnership “represents a growing interest and recognition in the acceptance of cryptocurrency by leading bodies and regulators”.
The UK fintech has expanded into the APAC region in the last year and a half.
The company has signalled plans to launch a next-generation Wirex card for customers in Europe later in the year, with features including additional currencies and free international ATM withdrawals.
Wirex is also set to start issuing corporate cards for Wirex Business clients.
Sarah Simpkins is a journalist at Momentum Media, reporting primarily on banking, financial services and wealth.
Prior to joining the team in 2018, Sarah worked in trade media and produced stories for a current affairs program on community radio.
Sarah has a dual bachelor's degree in science and journalism from the University of Queensland.