Card giant Mastercard has partnered with cryptocurrency service providers Amber Group, Bitkub, and CoinJar to offer bitcoin-linked payment cards across the Asia Pacific region, the company said in a statement on November 8.
These firms are the first APAC-based platforms to join the card issuer’s global Crypto Card Program, which seeks to make it easier for bitcoin and cryptocurrency firms to offer payment cards to their customers.
“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,” per the announcement.
Cardholders will be able to use their Mastercard through the arrangement established between the card issuer and the bitcoin service providers, which entails having the corresponding amount of BTC or other cryptocurrency be deducted from the user’s account and instantly converted into fiat currency.
“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, Mastercard’s Asia Pacific executive VP of digital and emerging partnerships.
In July, Mastercard announced the creation of a simplified payments card offering for Bitcoin and cryptocurrency companies.
The product sought to reduce friction in experience and provide greater choice for consumers by helping facilitate the conversion between BTC and fiat currency.
“In collaboration with these partners that adhere to the same core principles that Mastercard does…Mastercard is expanding what’s possible with cryptocurrencies to give people even greater choice and flexibility in how they pay.”