Bakkt, the crypto exchange owned by Intercontinental Exchange (ICE), has announced a partnership with Mastercard to allow merchants offer their clients crypto-centric loyalty opportunities.
This alliance also streamlines issuance of branded crypto debit and credit cards, while enabling interested consumers to buy, sell and hold cryptocurrency.
Through the partnership, the American multinational financial services corporation will enable merchants, banks, and fintechs within the US to more easily embrace and offer a broad set of cryptocurrency solutions and services. The offering will leverage Bakkt’s custodial wallets to facilitate access to cryptocurrency capabilities.
Leveraging Mastercard Send capability, US clients can instantly convert their cryptocurrencies into their preferred traditional currency, which can be spent everywhere Mastercard is accepted.
Mastercard will also integrate 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.
The move comes as payment giants, including Visa and PayPal, have stepped up their engagement with cryptocurrencies in recent months, as more merchants are warming to the nascent digital asset.
“Together with Bakkt and grounded by our principled approach to innovation, we’ll not only empower our partners to offer a dynamic mix of digital assets options, but also deliver differentiated and relevant consumer experiences,” said Sherri Haymond, executive vice president, Digital Partnerships at Mastercard.
Nancy Gordon, EVP, Loyalty Rewards & Payments at Bakkt, added: “As brands and merchants look to appeal to younger consumers and their transaction preferences, these new offerings represent a unique opportunity to satisfy increasing demand for crypto, payment and rewards flexibility.”
Bakkt debit card works just the same as any other bank card, except it isn’t linked to a mobile banking app, but a crypto wallet.
With Bakkt cards, crypto users can instantly convert their virtual coins into fiat currency, which is then loaded onto the card and can be spent anywhere Mastercard debit is accepted around the world. Customers can also use the card issued by Sutton Bank online for purchases and to withdraw cash from ATMs.
Instead of selling their crypto and waiting for a bank transfer, crypto users can tap their Bakkt Card, which also supports Apple Pay, to pay for their purchases.