Mastercard announced the partnership with the Bahamas’ central bank to introduce the Sand Dollar prepaid card yesterday
The financial services provider released an official statement highlighting the project’s details through its press page. The company is rolling out prepaid cards that are linked to the Bahamas digital currency. The currency, dubbed the Sand Dollar, was piloted at the end of 2019 before being officially launched in October 2020.
The partnership will allow Bahamians to load their cards with digital currency. Mastercard confirmed that the prepaid cards can be used to settle payments.
“Today, Bahamians received even greater flexibility in how they shop and pay using the country’s digital currency, the first of its kind,” Mastercard wrote. “Under a new program from Mastercard and Island Pay, the Bahamas Sand Dollar prepaid card gives people the option to instantly convert the digital currency to traditional Bahamian dollars and pay for goods and services anywhere Mastercard is accepted on the Islands and around the world.”
At the time of deployment, the digital currency was only accessible to registered users via a digital app from Island Pay at specific merchants. The partnership changes the dynamics as the local payment service provider Island Pay will now be issuing the digital currency-linked cards.
Speaking on the matter, John Rolle, governor of the Bahamas Central Bank, said, “We welcome this approach to combining digital currency use with access to foreign currency and other payment outlets.”
Mastercard appears to be taking a strong position in the digital currency sector by releasing testing programs for central bank crypto pilots. It is also reportedly remodeling its network to allow for direct processing of crypto payments.
Raj Dhamodharan, VP of digital assets and blockchain products at the company, explained,
“This partnership is an example of how the private and public sector can rethink what’s possible while delivering the strongest levels of consumer protection and regulatory compliance. We’re creating a lot more possibilities for governments, shoppers and merchants, allowing them to transact in an entirely new form of payment.”