Mastercard to Launch Crypto Cards in Asia Pacific

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  • Giant payment firm Mastercard will enable residents of the Asia Pacific to convert digital assets into fiat currencies using credit cards.
  • Mastercard has teamed up with crypto companies Amber Group, Bitkub, and CoinJar.
  • In a survey, Mastercard discovered that 45% of users in the Asia Pacific plan to use crypto as payment.

Giant payment firm Mastercard has teamed up with three crypto companies based in Asia with the aim to issue crypto-linked payment cards, enabling residents of the Asia Pacific to convert digital assets into fiat currencies using Mastercard credit, debit, and prepaid cards.

In a statement on Thursday, Mastercard announced partnerships with Hong Kong’s crypto finance firm Amber Group, Australia’s trading platform Coinjar, and Thailand’s crypto exchange Bitkub to enable users across the Asia Pacific to obtain crypto-linked cards. The firm said:

For the first time, consumers and businesses in the Asia-Pacific region will be able to apply for crypto-linked Mastercard credit, debit or prepaid cards that will enable them to instantly convert their cryptocurrencies into traditional fiat currency, which can be spent everywhere Mastercard is accepted around the world.

Mastercard said the new partnership is to meet the rising interest in cryptocurrencies in the region. In a recent survey, the company discovered that 45% of consumers in the Asia Pacific are exploring using digital assets within the upcoming year, which is relatively higher than the global average of 40%.

Reportedly, the move is part of Mastercard’s global Crypto Card Program, which strives to facilitate easy and secure entry into the booming crypto market. Rama Sridhar, Mastercard’s executive vice president in the Asia Pacific, said the company will adhere to the core principles of offering “stability, regulatory compliance, and consumer protection” with the new partnerships.

Mastercard is boosting its crypto services as its principal competitor Visa strives to grab a large share of the growing digital assets market. Back in March, Visa, in collaboration with the crypto exchange, integrated crypto payments, allowing the use of the USDC stablecoin on its payment network.

Mastercard Bets Big on Crypto

In late October, Mastercard unveiled that it is preparing its network for facilitating stablecoin and CBDC transactions. Michael Miebach, CEO of Mastercard, said the payment behemoth can provide a “safe space for governments and private sector banks” to test out their digital currencies.

“We see significant volumes in terms of people actually investing in crypto and selling crypto, so as an asset class there’s a lot going on, and I think we have a role to play to facilitate consumers wanting to do that,” Miebach said, acknowledging that crypto has undergone incredible growth.

The company has also inked a partnership with the digital asset firm Bakkt, which will enable US banks and merchants on Mastercard’s payment network to offer cryptocurrency solutions and services.

In a survey earlier this year, Mastercard reported that 4 in 10 people plan to adopt digital assets as a means of payment. The firm noted that companies will have to embrace emerging payment methods to meet consumers’ demands.