Mastercard inks partnership for prepaid card linked to The Bahamas' central bank digital currency

The Sand Dollar, a digital currency issued by The Bahamas' central bank, is at the center of a new prepaid card arrangement involving Mastercard.

Mastercard published details of the set-up on Wednesday, which involves mobile payments service provider Island Pay in addition to the central bank. Mastercard will issue a prepaid card that allows users to instantly convert the Sand Dollar, The Bahamas' central bank digital currency (CBDC), to cash during purchases.

The Bahamas piloted its Sand Dollar in 2019 before fully deploying the CBDC in October of last year. Initially, it was only accepted by select merchants through a digital app that required user registration. The new prepaid card can be used with any merchant that accepts Mastercard.

Mastercard's executive vice president of Digital Asset and Blockchain Products and Partnerships, Raj Dhamodharan, said Mastercard is focused on creating possibilities for governments related to new forms of payment.

“This partnership is an example of how the private and public sector can rethink what’s possible, while delivering the strongest levels of consumer protection and regulatory compliance," he said in a statement.