MasterCard is teaming with Irish e-payments outfit Payzone to offer a Europe-wide point-of-sale re-load service for its pre-paid cards.
The MasterCard rePower service will initially be rolled out in the UK in early 2009 by Newcastle Building Society in association with pre-paid card outfit Altair Financial.
The new service will enable cardholders to re-load MasterCard and Maestro prepaid cards using chip and PIN-based technology as well as conventional ‘swipe’ technology.
MasterCard says chip and PIN reloading will provide issuers and retailers with a means of authenticating cardholders. It also caters for Europe's migration to EMV and the emergence of pre-paid card programmes that can load and activate money held on the chip.
Paul Bartholomew-Keen, business leader, pre-paid Europe, MasterCard, says: "Although people can reload their pre-paid cards at the point-of-sale today, the separate arrangements with the ‘top-up’ networks often means that cardholders receive a multitude of service experiences, and a wide range of timescales for when their money is available."
Last year MasterCard commissioned research from Boston Consulting Group which estimated spending on pre-paid payment cards in Europe will reach US$164 billion by 2010.