Mastercard Expands Cryptocurrency Debit Card Payments

Consumers who intend to purchase food, fuel or buy luxury items had better convert their crypto to fiat well in advance, as supermarkets, gas stations and shops usually don’t take crypto. In a welcome news for crypto industry, CNBC reported Mastercard has signed a deal with Wirex that makes the London-based firm the first “native” cryptocurrency platform to gain principal membership.

MasterCard said it had issued its card issuing network a principal membership license to London-based Wirex in a statement on Monday. The deal let’s Wirex issue cards on the payment network of MasterCard. MasterCard said its cryptocurrency platform will also grow and make it easier for other businesses to become issuers.

Wirex’s leading payment network revealed its alliance with Mastercard as it became the first cryptocurrency native application to secure Mastercard membership. The news further reinforces the idea of bringing cryptocurrency to the mainstream with help from Mastercard, the renowned multinational payment technology firm, by offering additional features and power to Wirex.

Cryptocurrency payment cards aren’t new but last year Coinbase introduced its own Visa card, though Wirex also provides a Visa card.

Raj Dhamodharan, Mastercard’s executive vice president for digital asset and blockchain products and partnerships said reported by CNBC “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.” 

“This is less a watershed moment and more part of a broader, slow and steady legitimization of crypto as the global regulators increasingly put systems and controls in place,” Simon Taylor, head of ventures at fintech consultancy firm 11:FS, told CNBC.

Established in 2014, Wirex has developed an app that enables people to keep and spend digital cryptocurrency, such as Bitcoin (BTC-GBP) and ethereum (ETH-GBP). The app is connected to a card, currently issued by MasterCard competitor Visa (V), which allows users to spend their cryptocurrency at the point of sale by converting it to fiat currency.

Wirex is governed by the Financial Conduct Authority of the UK and MasterCard said that it will only work with companies that are completely compliant with local legislation.


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Image: Alina Kuptsova 

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