MasterCard Launches World’s First CBDC-Linked Card in the Bahamas

  • MasterCard launches prepaid cards for the Bahamian central bank digital currency or CBDC.
  • The card allows payments using the Sand Dollar across all accepted stores.

MasterCard, Island Pay, and the central bank of Bahamas collaborate to launch the world’s first CBDC-linked card. The card will integrate Bahamian digital currency, Sand Dollars, enhancing and allowing greater flexibility on how users can pay at any MasterCard-accepted store, an announcement on Wednesday read.

The prepaid card will convert the Sand Dollars to any fiat currency, and users can pay for goods and services around the world.

Island Pay and MasterCard launched the card to “reduce the operational distribution costs of cash and modernize the overall payments system” across the islands. Richard Douglas, the co-founder of Island Pay, said,

“By working closely with the Central Bank of The Bahamas and Mastercard, we can issue a prepaid card unlike any other in the world.”

“We are now able to bring immediate, critical benefits to our customers at a time when they are looking to find new, innovative ways to pay.”

Piloted in 2019, the Sand Dollar became the first-ever fully-deployed CBDC to a country’s fiat system. The Sand dollar carries the same customer protection laws and value propositions as the Bahamian fiat currency. The project aims to build a more inclusive financial system by facilitating government disbursements across the 700+ islands and offering more payment options to Bahamians.

The partnership with MasterCard is expected to open up the Sand Dollar borders, which was previously only available to selected merchants in the Bahamas.

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