Upstart cryptocurrency exchange Ripio announced an initial roll out of their prepaid debit card product, with Brazil as its introductory market. The card will allow Ripio account holders to pay at traditional points of sale using their crypto holdings. Rupal Sharma reports further in The Crypto Times:
“The company plans to launch 250,000 cards that were developed in collaboration with Visa by the end of the year. The offering would be accessible to the one million users it has in South America. The company already declared that the digital version of the card is already available.”
The Ripio prepaid card follows Binance’s recent announcement, previously covered in PaymentsJournal. Binance is providing similar services in Latin America, starting in Argentina, for payments utilizing crypto holdings through prepaid mechanisms to ensure merchants are paid in fiat currency. The competitive market within Latin America exemplifies the growth potential and opportunity to transition crypto from a speculative investment mechanism into a fully actionable currency supporting daily transactions. The moves also highlight the need for exchanges to offer easy to use prepaid card options as a standard offer to attract and retain customers. Providers are wisely launching in specific markets before expanding into other, complementary areas. Ripio, which also operates under the BitcoinTrade brand through a previous acquisition, plans for similar distribution throughout Latin America following the initial launch in Brazil:
“Ripio will launch the card in Argentina later this year but hasn’t ruled out launching the debit card in countries such as Colombia, Mexico, Spain, and Uruguay.”
Ripio is also following recent trends to support reward programs, a burgeoning space in the crypto supported prepaid card market. Details of the Ripio reward program are limited to date beyond support of rewards paid in Bitcoin. Ripio is considering supporting rewards in additional cryptocurrencies that would likely try and match some or all of the 28 currencies that Ripio actively lists. Another good indicator of potential offerings that Ripio may try and cover would be to highlight the retailer supported rewards program that Bitpay and Cardlytics recently launched that incents customers to shop at particular merchants to earn rewards. This type of program highlights the need for crypto exchanges to encourage mainstream merchants to support the use of crypto through card-network supported prepaid cards in order to grow the market beyond the visionaries and early adopters.
Overview by Jordan Hirschfield, Director of the Prepaid Advisory Service at Mercator Advisory Group.