Circle Secures Major Partnership With Visa to Provide Seamless USDC Payments at 60M Merchants

Payment processor VISA is improving its presence in the crypto space. The firm has partnered with Circle Internet Financial to facilitate USDC payments for select VISA users.

Easy Payments for Individuals and Businesses

VISA's partnership with USDC will initially start with selected users, the firm’s Head of Crypto Cuy Sheffield explained on Twitter. The end game is to help users make seamless USDC transactions.

Businesses will also be able to make cross-border payments using their USDC balances.

USDC's operator Circle would also join the Fast Track program, VISA's launchpad initiative that allows businesses to leverage its network's speed to get up and running quickly. VISA estimates that Circle will graduate from the program sometime next year, following which the former will issue a credit card that allows businesses to send and receive USDC-based payments directly.

Speaking on the initiative, Sheffield, said that the firm is looking to become a “network of networks.” He added:

“We see significant potential for stablecoins like USDC to help our clients enable new payment flows and are committed to helping them become integrated into the payments ecosystem in a secure and convenient way”

VISA Strengthens Crypto Ties

The news follows another significant partnership from VISA. On Tuesday, Bloomberg reported that the credit card manufacturer had partnered with BlockFi, one of the top crypto loans and savings providers, to launch a Bitcoin rewards card.

As the report explained, the new credit card will reward buyers with Bitcoin, instead of cashback rewards, airline miles, or other conventional channels. Cardholders can get up to 1.5 percent of their purchases in Bitcoin.

The cards will carry a $200 annual maintenance fee, and they will be issued by the Evolve Bank & Trust. It is expected to be available to the public in early 2021, although BlockFi users can sign up for it before then. Like the Circle partnership, this is also a part of VISA's Fast track program.

The payment processor appears to be gearing up for more crypto partnerships, especially since regulators have put a snag on its acquisition of financial services firm Plaid. Last Thursday, the Department of Justice (DOJ) filed a complaint against VISA, alleging that it was committing antitrust violations in its Plaid acquisition.

In part, the complaint alleged that VISA was looking to purchase Plaid as an “insurance policy” to neutralize any threats to its U.S. debit business. The DOJ added that the acquisition could see VISA easily eliminate nascent competitive risks that could help customers at the detriment of its market share.

VISA announced its blockbuster $5.3 billion Plaid acquisition in January. Since then, however, the latter had been embroiled in several lawsuits over its misuse of data. With the DOJ complaint not putting a hold on things, this deal looks dead in the water.

A few of the other Crypto to VISA connection in recent months includes ZenGo, Binance, Coinbase, and Paxful. This list also included crypto lender Cred, which filed for bankruptcy last month.

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