After years of vexed reluctance, it seems that Visa is finally starting to come around on cryptocurrencies. The global credit card giant recently announced that it has partnered with no less than 50 crypto platforms via card programs. These cards, including some that are branded with the Visa logo, allow users to load up their account with the digital currency of their choice and then use the card to make payments as usual. To make that conversion process go more smoothly and be more cost-effective, Visa announced earlier this year that it would begin to settle transactions in USD Coin, a stablecoin that helps simplify the settlement process.
Looking ahead, Visa has identified four categories that it will focus on: cryptocurrencies, stablecoins, nonfungible tokens (NFTs), and central bank digital currencies. So far, the strategy is already paying off. In July 2021 the big payment processor announced that spending on crypto-linked cards in its network topped $1 billion over the first six months of the year. The $1 billion mark isn’t entirely made up of consumers spending cryptocurrency, since some transactions are tied to fiat accounts but result in crypto rewards. But as more large financial companies deepen their crypto-connections, Visa is positioning itself to play a bigger role in the ever-evolving fintech landscape.