Mastercard inks cryptocurrency card deal with London-based Wirex

(Image credit: Wirex)

Mastercard has partnered with London-based startup Wirex to directly issue payment cards in the same way as conventional merchants..

The move will make Wirex the first native cryptocurrency platform to be granted a Mastercard principal membership licence, allowing consumers to buy, hold and exchange cryptocurrencies alongside multiple traditional currencies. The public can instantly convert their cryptocurrencies into traditional fiat currency, which can be spent everywhere Mastercard is accepted around the world.

Users will also benefit from Wirex’s own Cryptoback rewards program, which automatically gives customers up to 1.5% back in Bitcoin for every purchase they make in-store.

“We are very excited for Wirex to be the first crypto-native company granted principal membership from Mastercard,” said Pavel Matveev, CEO and co-founder of Wirex. 

"It represents a growing interest and recognition in the acceptance of cryptocurrency by leading bodies and regulators and will help us to realize our vision of empowering everyone to experience a world where all currencies, traditional and crypto, are equal."

Cryptocurrency program

Consumer interest and investment in digital currencies is growing, with a recent Statista survey revealing that up to 20 per cent of the population of some countries are now holding cryptocurrencies.

The move by Mastercard to expand its cryptocurrency program will make it easier for partners to bring secure payment cards to the marketplace. The company is also inviting other cryptocurrency and crypto card partners to join Mastercard’s Accelerate program, aimed at helping emerging brands and fintechs.

“The cryptocurrency market continues to mature, and Mastercard is driving it forward, creating safe and secure experiences for consumers and businesses in today’s digital economy,” said Raj Dhamodharan, Executive Vice President, Digital Asset and Blockchain Products and Partnerships, Mastercard. 

“Our work with Wirex and the wider crypto ecosystem is accelerating innovation and empowering consumers with more choice in the way they pay.”

Rob Clymo

Rob Clymo has been a tech journalist for more years than he can actually remember, having started out in the wacky world of print magazines before discovering the power of the internet. Since he's been all-digital he has run the Innovation channel during a few years at Microsoft as well as turning out regular news, reviews, features and other content for the likes of TechRadar, TechRadar Pro, Tom's Guide, Fit&Well, Gizmodo, Shortlist, Automotive Interiors World, Automotive Testing Technology International, Future of Transportation and Electric & Hybrid Vehicle Technology International. In the rare moments he's not working he's usually out and about on one of numerous e-bikes in his collection.