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Uphold acquires UK-based card issuer Optimus Cards

By Shalini mani

Uphold, a digital money platform, has acquired Optimus Cards UK, a credit and debit card issuer across the UK and Europe.

Optimus is a primary card issuer and a payments facilitator regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

It offers its customers in the fintech and credit union sectors, a platform that supports Apple Pay, Google Pay, Open Banking along with contactless and virtual cards, IBANs, UK sort-code and accounts, and ‘cardless’ cash withdrawal.

Uphold recently added over two million customers and increased its reserve assets to more than $1bn.

It now plans to democratise investments by providing access to traditionally hard-to-reach asset classes such as cryptos, precious metals, US equities and even carbon credits.

The firm plans to launch the crypto-powered debit card on the Optimus platform in Europe from April 2021.

Uphold CEO JP Thieriot said: “We’re delighted to have acquired an issuer with such a technically-sophisticated platform and a full EMI licence. These attributes will shortly allow us to issue multi-asset, crypto-enabled debit cards across the UK and Europe.

“After passing the FCA’s rigorous ‘Change In Control’ process, we’re very excited to get to work and help scale Optimus’s thriving EMD agency business, which already supports several major crypto and fintech ecosystems.”

Thieriot continued: “The combination of Optimus’s tech-forward card platform and Uphold’s unique multi-asset wallet should create a compelling product.

“Very soon our European customers will be able to receive part or all of their salary in Bitcoin – or any asset of their choice – and spend it using Uphold Cards issued through Optimus.”

Last March, Uphold unveiled a multi-asset account with a debit card with an ability to convert crypto, gold, and other commodities into fiat currency.

Initially, US customers can use the card and spend the assets held in their accounts. Stores and ATMs in the US supporting Mastercard will accept the new card.

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