Mastercard Expands Digital Currency Program, Ropes in Wirex

Mastercard Inc. MA has provided Wirex, a borderless payments platform, with the membership of its Mastercard’s Accelerate program.

With Mastercard principal membership, Wirex will be able to issue Mastercard-backed bitcoin debit cards to consumers, which can be spent worldwide wherever Mastercard is accepted.

Since crypto currencies — often viewed as an obscure element — are still not accepted at most places for day-to-day transactions and the value of the same fluctuates hugely, Mastercard enables conversion of crypto into fiat currency by getting an exchange rate from Wirecard.

Consumers will also be able to buy, hold and exchange multiple currencies, such as fiat and crypto. Mastercard will instantly convert their cryptocurrencies into traditional fiat currency, which can then be used for making transactions via Mastarcard’s network.

This move reflects Mastercard’s expansion of its crypto currency card program, which has now been relaxed to allow other emerging crypto firms to emerge as principal members within a few weeks.

With Mastercard’s Accelerate program, members will be able to utilize its propriety technology, insights and cyber security services to engage new customers and explore the untapped markets.

The company intends to provide crypto firms and fintechs assistance at every stage of growth and transformation from market entry to global expansion. This also vouches for Mastercard’s efforts to accelerate its reach in the crypto currency market, which is visibly attaining maturity.

Management stated that the level of consumer interest and investments in digital currencies are growing with research showing that up to 20% of some countries’ population is holding cryptocurrencies, and an increasing number of merchants, digital players and financial institutions are studying crypto payments.

The support of a leading company like Mastercard highlights the adoption of crypto currency, making it available for easy consumer and business usage through safe and secure experiences.

On the flip side, Mastercard is vigilant enough and not randomly offering the membership to anonymous companies. In order to be crypto card partners, companies will have to fulfill a number of credentials. For instance, they will be required to provide strong consumer protection, deliver a level playing field for all stakeholders and also operate in complete compliance with all applicable laws and regulations.

Mastercard is engaging actively in the crypto currency space. Last month, blockchain payments provider Bitpay launched a prepaid debit card named BitPay Card, provided via Mastercard, which permits U.S. users to spend bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies in stores accepting Mastercard debit cards, globally.

A couple of months ago, another company Visa Inc. V approved Swiss DeFi startup Eidoo to issue a new Visa-backed crypto card called Eidoo card in the EU and the UK.

Mastercard has rallied 21.43% year to date compared with its industry’s growth of 19.53%.

The stock carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold), currently. Some better-ranked stocks in the same space are Envestnet Inc. ENV and Cardtronics PLC CATM. While Envestnet  sports a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) presently, Cardtronics holds a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

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