Two credit card companies in Israel let cardholders buy bitcoin

Financial firms in Israel are increasingly moving into cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin (BTC), with two competing credit card companies working on BTC investment and cashback features.

Two Israel-based credit card companies, Max and Isracard, have partnered with crypto-related platforms to allow cardholders to buy bitcoin, local news outlet Calcalist reported on May 17.

Max announced a collaboration with local crypto broker Bits of Gold to launch a crypto-enabled card called MaxBack Crypto. According to Max’s official website, the card offers cash back opportunities in BTC, as well as the option to buy Bitcoin through a Bits of Gold clearing agreement.

Max, formerly known as Leumi Card, is one of the largest credit card processors and issuers in Israel and a major non-bank financial institution. The company has reportedly issued 1.6 million credit cards and provides clearing services for more than 40,000 merchants.

Max’s competitor, Isracard Group, is one of the largest credit card companies in Israel and provides credit clearing services for four major credit card brands, including American Express, MasterCard, Visa and Isracard.

Isracard isn’t skipping crypto either, reportedly also announcing a partnership with Israel’s major investment firm Altshuler Shaham on May 17.

Isracard has specifically partnered with Altshuler’s crypto-focused subsidiary, Altshuler Shaham Horizon, to allow Isracard holders to buy Bitcoin directly using their credit card.

As previously reported, Altshuler Shaham has previously expressed interest in Bitcoin investing, with the company investing $100 million in the Grayscale Bitcoin Trust in 2020.

Related: Top Israeli bank accepts BTC and ETH trades by collaborating with Paxos

“As the country’s leading crypto company, we are proud to launch this innovative collaboration that will allow the general public to join the digital currency arena,” said Ilan Stark, CEO of Horizon. “Whereas this area used to belong to the exotic part of the capital market, today we are seeing increasing interest from investors and customers,” added the manager.