Payment card network Mastercard has launched cryptocurrency-linked payments cards in the Asia-Pacific region that will enable users to convert their digital assets into fiat currency, the company announced on Monday. The cards seek to remove any barrier between merchants who do not accept cryptocurrency as payment and customers who want to pay in digital assets.
“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 executive vice president for digital and emerging partnerships and new payment flows for the Asia Pacific, in a public statement.
The development comes at a time after a Mastercard survey revealed that 45 percent of those surveyed are likely to consider using cryptocurrency in the next year.
The alliance with Hong Kong’s Amber Group, Thailand’s Bitkub, and Australia’s CoinJar will allow consumers and businesses in the Asia Pacific region to apply for crypto-enabled credit, debit, or pre-paid cards, which can be spent anywhere Mastercard is accepted.
The three firms will also join Mastercard’s global Crypto Card Program— which is aimed at making crypto transactions as seamless as possible.
Mastercard’s survey shows that cryptocurrency is one of four emerging payment methods, alongside QR codes, biometrics, and contactless payments, with 94 percent of consumers considering using at least one of them. The report also highlighted that millennials were more willing compared with the general population to use and learn about cryptocurrency.