Mastercard to Enable Merchants on Its Network to Offer Crypto Products and Services

By Kevin Helms

Payments giant Mastercard has partnered with a cryptocurrency exchange to allow its partners and merchants in the U.S. to offer crypto solutions, including the buying, selling, and holding of cryptocurrencies. “We want to offer all of our partners the ability to more easily add crypto services to whatever it is they’re doing.”

Mastercard’s Network Integrates Crypto

Mastercard (NYSE: MA) and cryptocurrency exchange platform Bakkt (NYSE: BKKT) announced “a multifaceted partnership” Monday at the Money20/20 event.

The partnership aims “to make it easier for merchants, banks, and fintechs in the U.S. to embrace and offer a broad set of cryptocurrency solutions and services,” the announcement details. “Bakkt extends Mastercard’s ecosystem of cryptocurrency partners enabling crypto-as-a-service, which provides quick access to cryptocurrency capabilities.”

The two companies explained:

Mastercard partners will be able to offer cryptocurrency solutions. These include the ability for consumers to buy, sell and hold digital assets through custodial wallets powered by the Bakkt platform and streamlined issuance of branded crypto debit and credit cards.

The payments giant has relationships with more than 20,000 financial institutions worldwide, and there are 2.8 billion Mastercards in use, according to the company. An October 2019 Nilson Report states that Visa and Mastercard both had 52.9 million merchants — more than any other companies worldwide.

Mastercard further revealed that crypto will also be integrated into its loyalty solutions, allowing its partners to “offer cryptocurrency as rewards and create fungibility between loyalty points and other digital assets.” The announcement adds:

This means that consumers can earn and spend rewards in cryptocurrency instead of traditional loyalty points and seamlessly convert their crypto holdings to pay for purchases.

Sherri Haymond, Mastercard’s executive vice president of digital partnerships, was quoted as saying: “We want to offer all of our partners the ability to more easily add crypto services to whatever it is they’re doing. Our partners, be they banks, fintechs, or merchants can offer their customers the ability to buy, sell and hold cryptocurrency through an integration with the Bakkt platform.”

Bakkt CEO Gavin Michael opined: “We’re lowering the barriers to entry, allowing people to take something like your rewards points and trade them into crypto. It’s an easy way to get going because you’re not using cash, you’re putting something that’s an idle asset sitting on your balance sheet, and we’re allowing you to put it to work.”

What do you think about Mastercard helping merchants on its network integrate crypto solutions? Let us know in the comments section below.