Mastercard company says it would ”very happy” to facilitate the use of digital currencies issued by central banks a senior executive at the card company has told the Financial Times.
Central banks including the Swedish have considered creating their own cryptocurrencies that would have the same security and ease of use as decentralised cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin, but would be backed by the central bank and would be less volatile.
Ari Sarker, co-president of Mastercard’s Asia-Pacific business, said. “If governments look to create national digital currency we’d be very happy to look at those in a more favourable way [compared with existing cryptocurrencies]”
MasterCard and its rival Visa both made it more difficult for users to buy bitcoin this year by reclassifying such purchases “cash transactions” which attract higher fees. Mr Sarker said MasterCard was running a pilot enabling customers to cash out of bitcoin on to a MasterCard.
There were strict “know your customer” and anti-money laundering controls, he added. MasterCard has no exposure to Bitcoins price, which oscillates wildly.
Mr Sarker also said MasterCard had had “25 to 30 engagement discussions” with Asian cities about introducing the same kind of contactless payment system that is used on London transport. It has already run pilots in Singapore and Australia. The card company has also partnered with India’s national biometric ID system and its cards can be used for contactless payments on toll roads in the Philippines.