Mastercard, Binance to end crypto card partnership

By Elizabeth Howcroft and Tom Wilson

LONDON (Reuters) -Mastercard and crypto exchange Binance will end their four crypto card programmes in Argentina, Brazil, Colombia and Bahrain as of Sept. 22, a spokesperson for Mastercard said via email on Thursday.

The Binance cards allow users to make payments in traditional currencies, funded by their cryptocurrency holdings on the exchange.

Mastercard's website also lists partnerships with crypto exchanges including Gemini. The decision will not impact any of Mastercard's other crypto card programmes, the spokesperson said.

Binance is facing legal and regulatory challenges. U.S. regulators sued the crypto exchange and its CEO Changpeng Zhao in June for allegedly operating a "web of deception." Binance has said it would defend itself "vigorously."

Mastercard's head of crypto and blockchain, Raj Dhamodharan, told Reuters in April that the company was seeking more partnerships with crypto firms. He declined to comment on Binance specifically, but said any card programme "goes through full due diligence" and is continuously monitored.

A Mastercard spokesperson declined to comment on why the Binance programme was ending or who made the decision.

Binance did not immediately respond to a comment request sent via email. The exchange's customer support account on X, formerly known as Twitter, said earlier on Thursday that the Binance Card "will no longer be available to users in Latin America and the Middle East."

(Reporting by Elizabeth Howcroft, additional reporting by Tom Wilson; Editing by Susan Fenton)