Mastercard users based in Europe will be able to recharge their cards with crypto currencies and use them around the world through the Wirex service.
As announced on Monday, Mastercard has granted a commercial license to Wirex, a crypto currency payment company, becoming the first of its kind to receive this membership from the financial services giant.
Established in the United Kingdom, Wirex thus enters Mastercard’s crypto currency boost program, whose expansion was announced in a press release today.
With this announcement, Mastercard seems to change its strategy to one more focused on the massive adoption of cryptomoney as a means of payment.
“Our work with Wirex and the cryptoecosystem is accelerating innovation and empowering consumers by giving them more choices in payment methods,” said Raj Dhamodharan, Executive Vice President and head of Digital Assets, Blockchain Products and Alliances for Mastercard.
This new position for Mastercard contrasts with comments made a few years ago by its CEO, Ajay Banga, regarding the use of cryptomoney as a means of payment. On that occasion, Banga pointed out that “currencies not controlled by governments are rubbish”.
As explained in the press release, the membership obtained by Wirex will allow it to issue payment cards to its clients based in Europe, allowing them to make purchases with it, as well as to exchange for a variety of available crypto-currencies and withdraw cash from ATMs. They also indicate that corporate cards will be issued later this year.
Users will be able to exchange their crypto currencies for national fiat currencies, which can be spent around the world wherever MasterCard is accepted. The coins will always be taken into account by the Mastercard system as a fiat currency.
Wirex will also maintain an incentive program that will reward purchases made with the card with 1.5% of the total amount in bitcoins.
It is important to note that Wirex has already joined Visa and has been offering a debit card since the end of last year; a remarkable point since Visa is Mastercard’s main competitor in terms of debit card payment processing.
How Mastercard’s Crypto Business Acceleration Program Works
In the same press release Mastercard provides details on how companies in the cryptology area can join its acceleration program.
According to him, this program offers fintech and crypto companies full support in their growth and transformation, projecting them to have a global reach. Companies can join this program after following a few weeks process; once they obtain the membership, they will be able to integrate Mastercard’s technology to their services, obtain first-hand data and statistics and receive assistance in computer security, as well as be able to reach new market niches.
They claim that business crypto partners who choose to be part of this acceleration program must meet several requirements. First, they must provide customer security, as well as protect the privacy of their information and transactions.
Also, crypto businesses must operate in full compliance with the laws and regulations of the countries where they operate, as well as implement anti-money laundering mechanisms.
Mastercard recently abandoned the Libra project, a Facebook initiative to issue a digital currency, allegedly because it did not find it feasible in terms of its business model, in addition to other regulatory inconsistencies.
However, Mastercard seems to be directing its strategy towards the adoption of crypto-currencies, where companies native to this ecosystem have wanted to issue their own consumer cards.
For its part, Wirex was forced to suspend its services provided through the Wirecard platform, a company which filed for bankruptcy and left a $2 billion imbalance in the United Kingdom.