U.K. fintech Glint brings gold-based debit Mastercard to U.S.

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Glint has launched a U.S. version of its European gold-based debit Mastercard and app that creates an alternative currency for long-term savings as well as for use in spending on everyday transactions.

Glint has established a U.S. subsidiary, Glint Pay Inc., in Boulder, Colo., as an agent of Sutton Bank to operate its new payment card account and app with Monday’s launch, and will operate its consumer-facing brand simply as Glint. The company enables consumers to buy, sell, save, and spend physical gold using the Glint debit Mastercard and Glint app.

Glint’s value proposition is that physical gold is a better inflationary hedge than paper currencies generally held in bank accounts, yet because the nature of gold it is generally impractical to make everyday purchases with it. By using an allocation model of gold held in its Swiss depository, consumers can own fractional shares of physical gold and spend the value through a payment card.

“Gold is the most stable and appreciated form of money in the world. But it’s held in a vault and can’t be used to buy coffee. What we’ve created is money’s new form of currency. Using Glint you can spend physical gold at point of sale,” said Jason Cozens, Glint's CEO.

Cozens noted that the gold vault Glint uses for storage and allocation purposes is in Zurich, with Brinks as the custodian, and it is insured by Lloyd of London. Additionally the Glint card has been in testing mode in the U.S. market by a few hundred people for the last few weeks in preparation for the launch.

Glint Pay is a multi-currency account and debit card that enables physical gold to be used for instant payments using a debit Mastercard. In the U.S. launch, consumers will be able to use dollar and gold wallets. Over time the company expects to bring foreign currency wallets to the U.S. which are already available in Europe. Glint has a 0.5% fee applied when buying or selling gold or spending in foreign currencies. There is no fee when making a dollar or gold-based purchase in the U.S. when using the debit card.

The company was founded in 2015 and launched last year in the U.K. Glint reports that it has more than 50,000 app downloads since launch with tens of thousands of registered users and has conducted more than $43.7 million in transacted volume. Glint has 45 employees in three offices globally: London, Boulder and Tokyo.

According to Crunchbase, a website that tracks investments in private startups, Glint has raised about £15.2 million ($18.8 million) in funding in four rounds since 2016. Investors include NEC Capital Solutions, Bray Capital, Tokyo Commodity Exchange and Sprott Asset Management.

“Glint doesn’t operate on a blockchain since the transactional speed is too slow. Our transactions occur in 200 milliseconds or less in order to comply with our SLAs," Cozens said, referring to service-level agreements.

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