KEY POINTS

  • Customers will soon be able to spend their cryptocurrencies by swiping a card
  • Mastercard partnered with Amber Group, Bitkub, and CoinJar in the APAC region
  • Visa had earlier annouced they're partnering with 50 crypto firms for similar feature

Mastercard announced that it will soon be launching crypto-linked cards in the Asia-Pacific region that enables users to convert crypto into cash instantly. For implementing this strategy, the firm has partnered with digital asset service providers Amber Group, Bitkub, and CoinJar.

The coalition of these digital asset sector firms aim to bridge the gap between merchants who won't accept payment in crypto and customers who want to pay using the cryptocurrencies they own. 

According to the statement released by Mastercard, the partnership with Hong Kong's Amber Group, Thailand's Bitkub, and Australia's CoinJar will allow customers in the APAC region to apply for debit, credit, or pre-paid card which will be accepted by any merchant who accepts Mastercard. 

This step comes under Mastercard's global Crypto Card Program, whose aim is to simplify payments for users as much as possible. Mastercard intends to break down barriers in the payment sector, providing more options for users when moving digital value. 

Rama Sridhar, the Executive Vice President, Digital & Emerging Partnerships and New Payment Flows, for the Asia Pacific at Mastercard, commented on the development and said that the "real-world applications [for cryptocurrencies] are now emerging beyond the speculative."

"In collaboration with these partners that adhere to the same core principles that Mastercard does – that any digital currency must offer stability, regulatory compliance, and consumer protection – Mastercard is expanding what's possible with cryptocurrencies to give people even greater choice and flexibility in how they pay," said Rama Sridhar.

Mastercard's biggest rival, Visa had announced in the month of July that they were partnering with 50 cryptocurrency firms to enable customers to spend their crypto using Visa cards across 70 million merchants worldwide.

According to Visa, more than 25 digital wallet providers have partnered with the payments network, "giving users an easy way to spend from their digital currency balance using a Visa debit or pre-paid credential — anywhere Visa is accepted."

Mastercard's new venture comes to the APAC region, where a partnership of Visa and Singapore-based exchange Zipmex already provides crypto-related payment services to merchants and customers. Recently, Mastercard also announced a partnership with Bakkt allowing customers to collect and spend their loyalty points by making purchases and transfers.

India's central bank banned global payments giant Mastercard from adding new customers starting next week India's central bank banned global payments giant Mastercard from adding new customers starting next week Photo: AFP / KAREN BLEIER