Mastercard to end crypto card programs with binance

Mastercard and cryptocurrency exchange Binance will terminate their cryptocurrency debit card partnerships in Argentina, Brazil, Colombia and Bahrain from September 22nd, a Mastercard spokesperson confirmed.

The Binance cards allow users to spend their crypto balances for payments in traditional fiat currencies. Mastercard has similar arrangements with other exchanges like Gemini, which will not be impacted.

The surprise decision caps months of growing regulatory pressure on Binance around the world. US regulators sued the exchange and its CEO Changpeng Zhao in June for allegedly operating an unregistered securities exchange.

Binance said it would “vigorously defend” itself. The exchange’s customer support stated on Twitter that cards will no longer be offered in the four countries involved. A reason for the cancellations was not provided.

Mastercard declined to comment on why the programmes were ending or who made the call. In April, its head of crypto said any card deals undergo full due diligence and close monitoring.

The partnership breakdown represents the latest setback for Binance as regulators try to rein in the opaque crypto sector following a series of collapses. Firms seeking mainstream embrace have to increasingly satisfy strict compliance duties.

Mastercard was one of the first major payments firms to embrace crypto, announcing partnerships to support crypto cards in early 2021. But as regulatory headwinds grow, its separation from Binance signals limited risk appetite.

For Binance, loss of card access in multiple countries may raise further questions over its commitment to transparency as policymakers investigate its operations. Mastercard possesses extensive compliance resources that Binance apparently struggled to satisfy.