Bitso launches Mastercard-backed crypto card in Mexico

In partnership with Mastercard, Latin America’s most popular exchange, Bitso launched a debit card in Mexico offering cryptocurrency rewards on customers’ purchases.

Bitso, which claims six million users in Mexico, Brazil, Colombia, and Argentina, said more than 100,000 users have already enrolled in a long waiting list to beta test the product.

The card provides clients with a simple way to acquire cryptocurrencies without having to pay fees or navigate the sometimes-complicated onboarding processes at exchanges. The card also offers other benefits such as access to exclusive offers with select merchants and comes with no annual fee or foreign transaction fees.

Bitso lets clients top-up their card with funds through their exchange wallet and then convert their crypto holdings to fiat within seconds, which can be spent at over 90 million Mastercard merchants worldwide. As such, the card doesn’t directly connect to the platform’s customer account. Bitso, whose valuation topped $2.2 billion in 2022, was Latin America’s first crypto unicorn.

Mastercard also integrates supported cryptocurrencies into its loyalty solutions, enabling its partners to offer rewards and loyalty points in digital assets. This allows consumers to earn and spend their rewards in cryptocurrency instead of traditional loyalty points and then convert their crypto holdings to pay for purchases.

Specially issued crypto cards are becoming the norm that is quite popular since they allow users to cash out their digital assets and spend them at thousands of credit card-accepting merchants worldwide.

Commenting on the launch, the General Director of Bitso México, Bárbara Briseño said: “We share the enthusiasm with our entire community in Mexico to see this long-awaited product become a reality.” Briseño also stated the belief that the card will become the access point to the digital economy for many people in the future.”

The announcement is noteworthy as it came a few days after Visa and Mastercard denied reports that they are halting new crypto partnerships amid the industry’s recent struggles. For this reason, Mastercard has apparently elected to advance the launch of crypto-related projects to confirm it’s not slamming the brakes.

Latin America ranks fifth in the world for cryptocurrency adoption and consistently captures between 8% and 10% of global cryptocurrency activity. The region saw a ten-fold increase in the use of cryptocurrencies over the last two years.

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