MasterCard Denies Plans For BitCoin Debit Card

MasterCard is out of the loop, but BitInstant says the launch is still on track

Payment processing company MasterCard has denied that it is working with BitInstant to create an officially certified BitCoin debit card.

This follows a report that claimed the virtual currency exchange could release a BitCoin debit card as early as October.

UPDATE: We have been contacted by BitInstant co-founder Charlie Shrem, who has confirmed that the launch of the card is still on track. You can read more details here.


BitCoins, or BTC, make up a decentralised virtual cryptocurrency commonly used online by people interested in keeping their transactions secret. It is not tied to any real money, but traded on various electronic exchanges to establish its price.

On Tuesday, TechWeekEurope reported on an attempt by BitInstant to create the world’s first BitcCoin debit card. According to the company co-founder Charlie Shrem, the card would function as a standard debit or credit card and would be accepted anywhere that accepts MasterCard, with users being able to store their balance in BitCoins.

The cards themselves would be issued by “a major international bank” that had agreed to partner with BitInstant.

However, this morning MasterCard has come forward to quash the rumours, saying that it hasn’t been approached by BitInstant in any way.

Before being able to issue a card with a MasterCard logo on it, both the issuer and its banking partners need to go through a rigorous screening process, a MasterCard spokesperson told TechWeekEurope.

At the moment, BitInstant has submitted no documents to MasterCard, and is not even present on their system. Furthermore, MasterCard has never worked on any projects involving the virtual currency. This means that the future of the BitCoin debit card, if there ever was any, is unclear.

“MasterCard has no relationship with BitInstant. There are issuers who allow the conversion of Bitcoins to US dollars and other currencies, delivered on prepaid cards. However, we’re not aware of this particular programme from BitInstant.”

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