Mastercard and digital currency exchange Gemini to launch crypto rewards credit card


FILE PHOTO: Mastercard Inc. credit cards are displayed in this picture illustration taken December 8, 2017. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier/Illustration

LONDON (Reuters) - Mastercard Inc and U.S. cryptocurrency exchange Gemini will launch the first credit card that gives users digital currency "rewards" on purchases this year, deepening the involvement of major payment firms in the emerging asset class.

Users of the card will from this summer receive up to 3% in bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies on their purchases, the companies said in a statement, with the digital currency deposited in the cardholder's Gemini account.

The card will be issued by WebBank, a Utah-based digital lender.

Payment giants from Mastercard and Visa Inc to PayPal Holdings Inc have stepped up their engagement with cryptocurrencies in recent months, as larger investors and companies warm to bitcoin and its kin.

Mastercard said in February it was planning to offer support for some cryptocurrencies on its network this year, while Visa will also allow the use of cryptocurrency to settle transactions on its payment network.

"As consumers go about spending in various acceptance locations, now they get a chance to earn reward in the form of crypto," Raj Dhamodharan, Mastercard's head of digital assets and blockchain products & partnerships, said.

The card will be available in the United States.

(Reporting by Tom Wilson; editing by Philippa Fletcher)

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