The Times partners Tuxedo on pre-paid card

Source: Tuxedo Money Solutions

Times Media, Britain's most established quality daily, is offering readers a prepaid service which will give them more control over how they manage their money by reducing the need to carry cash, providing a more secure way to shop online and offering a safer way to spend money at home and abroad.

The Times MasterCard Prepaid Card and eccount, powered by Tuxedo Money Solutions, the UK's leading prepaid service provider, benefits from all the functions of a plastic card, but differs from traditional credit or debit cards by allowing users to "top up" money onto the card as and when they need it from their eccount, happy in the knowledge that once a purchase is complete the card details are of no use to a fraudster.

The deal between Tuxedo and Times Media signifies the growing interest in prepaid cards as modern consumers look to change their spending habits to have greater control and security over how they manage and spend their money.

With a Times prepaid MasterCard, up to £5,000 can be held in a secure online "eccount" from where it can be safely moved by text, internet or phone on to The Times card when it is required. According to recent figures released from the Association of Payment Clearing Services (Apacs), there was a 25% rise in the fraudulent use of UK credit and debit cards last year.

The card also features chip and pin, giving complete security for internet use, everyday payments and as a worldwide travel card with access to 1.3 million ATM's and over 25 million merchants. Up to £500 can be withdrawn from ATM's daily.

Cardholders can share money with friends and family in the UK or abroad, using the eccount service to transfer funds between different cards within the same eccount. In addition the card offers great value on exchange rates and foreign ATM charges when outside of the UK - ideal for travel money.

The eccount is designed for easy and safe card management and allows you to text instructions via your mobile phone including "block" to lock your card, "unblock" to re-activate your funds and "lost" or "stolen" to stop all use. You even get free SMS alerts sent to your phone when your card balance is low and needs topping-up.

Times Media will market the new card in newspapers and on their website. Readers applying foffor the card will receive a welcome letter, a user guide and a card personalised in their name, all priced at £12. However they will receive a £7 cash-back on the first load, making the effective price only £5.

Mark Simon, CEO of Tuxedo Money Solutions said: "By partnering with The Times we can explain the benefits of prepay to a target audience that have very real concerns over the safety of their money when shopping online and whilst travelling - our industry leading eccount solution is just what is needed."

The growth of pre-paid cards across Europe has been dramatic as more people realise the benefits of money management with latest figures available showing there will be around 2.3 billion pre-paid card transactions taking place in Europe by 2010.

The Times card is the third such partnership between News Corporation and Tuxedo Money Solutions. Last year Tuxedo teamed up with The Sun and the News of the World newspapers to launch two co-branded prepaid cards for readers.

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