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Mastercard brings crypto-linked payments cards to APAC region

Mastercard brings crypto-linked payments cards to APAC region
10 Nov, 2021

Global payment giant Mastercard is extending its crypto-linked payments cards to the Asia-Pacific region, partnering with three crypto service providers. The move comes a month after Mastercard announced a partnership with crypto exchange Bakkt, that would “make it easier for merchants, banks and fintechs in the US to embrace and offer a broad set of cryptocurrency solutions and services.”

In Asia, the company is going to partner with Thailand-based Amber Group and Bitkub, along with Australian crypto exchange Coinjar. “These companies are the first APAC-based cryptocurrency platforms to join Mastercard’s global Crypto Card Program which was designed to make it simpler and faster for crypto firms to bring secure, compliant payment cards to market, as consumers increasingly seek to fund everyday transactions securely and efficiently with digital currencies,” the company said.

With the new partnership, both consumers and businesses in the APAC region will be able to apply for Mastercard’s crypto linked cards, which include credit, debit and prepaid cards. “Cryptocurrencies are many things to people—an investment, a disruptive technology, or a unique financial tool. As interest and attention surges from all quarters, their real-world applications are now emerging beyond the speculative,” said Rama Sridhar, Executive Vice President, Digital & Emerging Partnerships and New Payment Flows, Asia Pacific, Mastercard. 

The company isn’t the first payments provider to accept crypto payments either. Visa had started a pilot project in the US back in March, partnering with Crypto.com for the move. Mastercard also cited a survey it conducted, where it found that 45 percent of those surveyed in the APAC region are likely to consider using cryptocurrency in the next year.

The payments major hasn’t said whether it plans to enter India with these new cards as well, but the country is one of the biggest adopters of crypto in the APAC region. The country has around 2 crore crypto users at the moment, according to an October 26 tweet by Nischal Shetty, founder of WazirX, one of the largest crypto exchanges in the country.