MasterCard announced Monday that it has entered into a partnership with cryptocurrency firm Bakkt that specifically allows the issuance of credit or debit cards that can offer loyalty points in virtual currencies that can then be used to make payments.
A statement said the idea was to make it easier for US-based banks, merchants and fintechs to provide their customers with a full range of cryptocurrency solutions and services. On the other hand, the partnership offers the possibility to issue credit or debit cards that are only dedicated to cryptocurrencies, and based on the wallets managed by Bakkt. Mastercard also plans to add virtual currencies to its loyalty programmes. “This means that consumers will be able to earn and spend rewards in cryptocurrency instead of the traditional loyalty points and seamlessly convert the cryptocurrency they hold for purchases.” Define the press release.
Bakkt already offers a debit card in partnership with Visa, which allows holders to use their bitcoin to make purchases but only at stores using Apple Pay or Google Pay solutions. The partnership with Mastercard is broader as it offers the possibility for regular Mastercard customers to offer traditional cards with the option to offer loyalty points in cryptocurrency instead of, for example, cash or miles.
Bakkt’s stake, which went public last week, more than tripled Monday following the announcement, with the group now worth more than $1.5 billion on Wall Street. Mastercard stock rose 0.67%.
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