Blockchain payments provider BitPay has launched a Mastercard prepaid card for crypto users in the United States. The BitPay Card enables customers to convert their cryptocurrency into fiat, which can then be loaded onto the card and spent anywhere Mastercard debit is accepted.
Card holders can also withdraw U.S. dollars from ATMs and make online purchases. BitPay CEO Stephen Pair told Cointelegraph that the BitPay Card is specifically targeted at crypto holders, serving as a tool to provide a convenient way to access spending power:
“The real goal of the BitPay Card is to provide users with a convenient way to convert their crypto onto a prepaid card. BitPay is a payments company, therefore we are focused on giving people and companies an easy way to conduct commerce using crypto.”
Prepaid cards are hoping to tap into a whole new market, as recent findings show that 36.5 million people in the U.S. own some sort of cryptocurrency. BitPay’s statistics page also highlights that an average of 98,000 Bitcoin transactions were processed per month during this year.
Mastercard’s vice president of digital partnerships, Tim Montgomery, told Cointelegraph that Mastercard is particularly focused on providing consumers with flexibility and choice when it comes to finances. He said that working with companies like BitPay enables this:
“We’re enabling people to transact in the ways that work best for their individual needs. We will continue to work with fintechs across the globe to accommodate and empower consumer choice, flexibility, and evolving preferences.”
Modern features in a crypto-backed card
Aside from making crypto easier to spend, Pair mentioned the importance of modern features in crypto payment cards, noting that the BitPay Card was designed to have capabilities that users would naturally expect.
Like traditional prepaid cards that function without bank accounts, the BitPay mobile app allows card holders to reload their balances, view transaction history and manage their card settings. The BitPay Card supports Bitcoin (BTC), Bitcoin Cash (BCH), Ether (ETH), XRP and stable coins including USDC (USDC), GUSD, PAX and BUSD.
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All funds are made available to cardholders almost instantly, without any conversion fees. BitPay leverages technology from Galileo Financial Technologies, which lets the company use APIs to sell Bitcoin in real-time. Proceeds are then loaded onto the Galileo platform and transactions are processed in fiat through the Mastercard payment rails.
Galileo Financial Technologies senior vice president, Scott Johnson, told Cointelegraph that BitPay is its second prepaid card client, noting that the platform also powers Coinzoom.
Pair further pointed out that the BitPay Card features an EMV chip that provides added security and works with contactless-enabled payment systems. Interestingly, he explained that next steps are to integrate Apple Pay and Samsung…