Users will gain both physical and virtual cards, free of charge, as well as perks such as cashback.
AstroPay, an online payments provider, was founded in 2009 as an app-based free-to-use digital wallet to help those without a bank account to shop and pay online, or to send and receive money.
Commenting on the launch in Brazil, Guillermo Dotta, chief technology officer and chief product officer of AstroPay, said: “When it comes to digital money and fintechs, Brazil is one of the most advanced countries in the world, and the partnership with Mastercard honours our long-standing commitment to Brazilians to deliver the simplest solutions to handle money in the most secure and simple way.”
Thiago Dias, vice president of fintech and enablers at Mastercard in Latin America and Caribbean, added: “As the partner of choice for fintech companies, Mastercard is pleased to work with AstroPay to provide innovative solutions that help advance financial inclusion while offering consumers with a seamless and secure experience.”
Mastercard’s partnership with AstroPay in Brazil is part of a wider programme of prepaid card initiatives with other fintechs around the world, including Instapay, an e-wallet provider in Malaysia.
Another popular payment method in Brazil is the central bank-backed Pix, which has helped to shift the country’s underbanked population towards banking and payments services.
This digital transformation accelerated during the pandemic, as the Brazilian government devised the ‘coronavoucher’ programme, an emergency subsidy for low-income informal workers that was made available through an app of state-owned bank Caixa Econômica Federal.
Some 66m people received the subsidy. An estimated 36m of those were previously unbanked, reducing Brazil’s unbanked population by as much as 73% during the pandemic, according to Mastercard.
For London-headquartered AstroPay, Brazil-based prepaid card users will join a growing base that now includes Asia, Africa, South America and the UK. Dotta said: “As we keep on building a strong community of consumers, our focus remains to continue innovating to adapt and streamline payment solutions such as cards into our overall product offering to ensure that the needs of our users are not only met but exceeded.”