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Like MasterCard meets PayPal without the charges

That's the opinion of Ted Leonsis, chairman of RevolutionMoney, describing the new RevolutionCard, which was released in the US today.

The PIN-protected card offers a line of credit, $15,000 top-up capacity, ID-theft protection and interest rates pegged to the card holder's credit rating. It also promises to significantly undercut the hated interchange fees charged to merchants by the dominant card schemes.

The company is chaired by Steve Case, former chairman of AOL. He claims: "We're trying to revolutionise payment systems in this country, which haven't changed in a few decades."

The RevolutionMoney concept - the card has no account name or number - was dreamt up by CEO and president Thomas Hogg, and initially marketed under the GratisCard banner. Hogg says he hit on the idea in 2000, after years of discussions with his father.

Ordinarily this wouldn't be relevant, but in this case we'll make an exception....Russell Hogg was a former CEO of MasterCard International.

Other investors in the company include former US Treasury Secretary Larry Summers and ex-Charles Schwab CEO David Pottruck. Institutional backers include Citi, Morgan Stanley, and Deutsche Bank

RevolutionCard has so far signed up 100,000 merchants, including Barnes & Noble. Hogg Jr has set a target of seven million merchants in the next 36 months.

This would put RevolutionCard on a competitive footing with MasterCard.

A PayPal for the cards business?

It's a tall order. Getting traction with merchants is one thing, but convincing consumers to take on another piece of plastic may prove a slightly harder sell.

Worth watching nonetheless.


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Paul Penrose

Paul Penrose

Head of Research


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06 Oct 2006



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