Mastercard Launches Prepaid Card for World's First CBDC in Bahamas

The Bahamian Sand Dollar can now be used for payments anywhere Mastercard is accepted.

AccessTimeIconFeb 17, 2021 at 3:22 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 14, 2021 at 12:12 p.m. UTC

People in the Bahamas now have the option of loading the country's central bank digital currency (CBDC) onto a prepaid Mastercard to enable use anywhere in the world, the payments giant has announced.

  • The Bahamas Sand Dollar, the world's first CBDC, can now be converted into traditional Bahamian dollars using a prepaid Mastercard, enabling users to pay for goods and services wherever Mastercard is accepted worldwide.
  • Since deployment in October 2020, the Sand Dollar has been accessed exclusively through a digital app at select merchants.
  • The CBDC aims to spur financial inclusion by addressing the expense and difficulty of moving cash between the Bahamas' 700 small islands.
  • The Mastercard development will also open the Sand Dollar to more users, as it has previously only been available to individuals and businesses domiciled in the Bahamas.
  • The Sand Dollar carries the same value as the Bahamian dollar, itself pegged to the U.S. dollar.

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