Mastercard launches first crypto-linked cards in the Asia Pacific region
Mastercard, a global payment company, announced on Monday that it is launching crypto-linked master cards for the Asia Pacific region. It will start offering the service in partnership with regional digital asset service providers Bitkub, CoinJar, and Amber.
According to Mastercard, consumers and businesses will be able to apply for crypto-linked cards (debit, credit, and prepaid cards). And these cards will allow them to convert and spend cryptocurrencies anywhere that Mastercard is accepted.
Mastercard’s Executive Vice President, Digital & Emerging Partnerships and New Payment Flows, Asia Pacific, Rama Sridhar, said:
“Cryptocurrencies are many things to people—an investment, a disruptive technology, or a unique financial tool. As interest and attention surge from all quarters, their real-world applications are now emerging beyond the speculative.”
Shortening the fiat-crypto conversion process
Before the instant conversion service, Mastercard customers had to go through a very lengthy fiat to crypto and crypto to fiat conversion procedure.
They would first be required to deposit the fiat money or cryptocurrency they want to convert to a bank, service provider, or crypto exchange. The bank, service provider, or crypto exchange would then perform the conversion at a cost; meaning it came with additional costs, delays, and additional verification processes.
And while many merchants around the world already support the use of cryptocurrencies as payments for services and goods, the lack of instant conversion service makes the payment method less utilized.
Mastercard pointed out that its new service with the crypto card program responds to the regional and global demand for cryptocurrencies as a payment method.
According to Mastercard’s payment index, about 12% of people in the Asia Pacific are expected to be using cryptocurrencies as a method of payment in the next year. It conducted a survey in Asia where 45% of the interviewed people said they were considering adopting crypto next year.
Mastercard instant crypto-fiat conversions to start with stablecoins
While the instant crypto-fiat conversion service is expected to help businesses, merchants, and customers move traditional and digital assets easily, Mastercard said that it does not intend to start by supporting all the cryptocurrencies.
It plans to start with stablecoins since they are more regulated, stable, and aligned to compliance measures.
Mastercard did not however reveal when the service shall be extended to the rest of the regions or when the other cryptocurrencies shall be supported. It however alluded that it may work with like-minded service providers in other regions if they are ready to adhere to Mastercard’s core principles.