Visa has partnered Australia's SCX Global to launch Vcard, a virtual pre-paid voucher that can be used to pay for purchases online and over the phone without the need for a plastic card or bank account.
Vcard is issued by Australia's Heritage Building Society and is aimed at people who don't have their own bank account or choose not to use their credit or debit card for purchasing online.
Consumers pay their chosen amount for the purchasing value of the card, plus a small set-up fee, either at a participating retail outlet or online.
The customer is given an account reference number which, when entered at a secure Web site, activates the virtual card. They then register and are given a Visa account number. An expiry date and special three-digit security code are immediately delivered via e-mail or SMS.
Bruce Mansfield, EVP, Australia, New Zealand and South Pacific, Visa International, says Visa prepaid cards are a new product platform in Australia that complement debit and credit cards and enable consumers to pre-pay an amount for later spending.
"Visa prepaid products are a popular way to maintain financial control, making it easy to keep a track of spending, monitor transactions and manage budgets," says Mansfield. "Importantly, account holders are generally protected in the event of unauthorised or fraudulent transaction."
SCX Global is the first Visa virtual pre-paid provider in Australia
In 2005 Dublin-based 3V Transaction Services teamed with Visa to launch a similar product in Ireland before offering the virtual card in Germany and the UK.