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Visa Invests in Credit Card Provider Deserve After BlockFi Credit Card Success

2 mins
Updated by Ryan Boltman
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In Brief

  • Visa and rival Mastercard are investing in Deserve, a credit card stack provider.
  • This comes as Deserve’s BlockFi Visa credit card is approaching $2B in annualized transaction volume.
  • The BlockFi card has already generated 120 BTC in rewards.
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Visa’s vice-president of crypto has expressed positive sentiments regarding the company’s investment in Deserve, and looks forward to more partnerships with crypto companies to drive engagement and loyalty programs.

Visa has announced its investment in Deserve, a company that provides turnkey credit card services for the digital world. Deserve has seen significant success with the BlockFi Visa credit card. The card rewards 1.5% in Bitcoin for each purchase, making it easy to acquire Bitcoin, without having to go through an exchange. The payout increases to 2% after $50,000 is spent. A BlockFi account is necessary to receive rewards.

Deserve’s trump card is its frictionless turnkey solutions

BlockFi announced its plans for a credit card in Dec 2020. By using Deserve’s technology, they are able to acquire new customers. Deserve’s technology is able to expedite the credit card application process, enabling customers to set up cards in digital wallets in minutes. It has a robust onboarding flow that still ensures strong identity verification and underwriting while reducing friction. Deserve uses machine learning and artificial intelligence, and its underwriting process relies upon FICO scores, income, and employment data.

Crypto rewards cards have been revolutionizing rewards and loyalty programs, by providing end-users with fungible cryptocurrency rewards for purchases. When a customer purchases at a certain retailer and is rewarded points, the customer could only redeem those rewards at the same retailer, which they may never visit again. Bitcoin rewards give customers a greater incentive to engage in retail spending.

Mastercard and Visa making inroads into credit card fintechs

Deserve is a Palo-Alto-based credit-card startup that provides a cloud platform for partners to launch credit products on scalable infrastructure at a rapid pace. They use real-time data processing and Application Programming Interfaces (APIs), and Software Development Kits (SDKs) to replace legacy batch processing. Deserve can create proof-of-concept programs in 90 days by using the cloud platform, and a mobile-focused approach, beating the 24-month time frame typically taken to launch a credit card scheme using legacy systems mired in bureaucracy.

Goldman Sachs, Mastercard Inc., and Ally Financial Inc.’s strategic investment arm were initial backers of Deserve. The CEO believes that Deserve is to the credit card industry what Instagram was to Kodak. 

Companies can use its services to offer digital credit cards that can be applied for and used on Android and Apple devices. Mastercard certified Deserve’s Digital First Card, which was the first fully-digital credit card experience in the world.

Gemini recently partnered with Mastercard to offer a card that gives clients 3% back on dining purchases in any cryptocurrency offered on the exchange, 2% on grocery purchases, and 1% on all other purchases. WebBank issued the card in the U.S.

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David Thomas
David Thomas graduated from the University of Kwa-Zulu Natal in Durban, South Africa, with an Honors degree in electronic engineering. He worked as an engineer for eight years, developing software for industrial processes at South African automation specialist Autotronix (Pty) Ltd., mining control systems for AngloGold Ashanti, and consumer products at Inhep Digital Security, a domestic security company wholly owned by Swedish conglomerate Assa Abloy. He has experience writing software in C,...
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