MasterCard has launched its rePower service, which lets people convert their cash into electronic money on a pre-paid account, in the UK.
Brits with eligible MasterCard or Maestro pre-paid cards can convert cash in thousands of stores into Ukash vouchers. The code on the voucher is then entered at a dedicated rePower Web site and the money added to the card, available to spend wherever MasterCard is accepted.
The service will be rolled out in other European countries in the coming months. In some cases the voucher model will be used but in other places customers will simply insert their card at the point-of-sale to add the cash.
MasterCard has partnered with CQR Payment Group to provide acquiring, processing and customer services. CQR unit Vincento is the first issuer enrolled while the firm's Kalixa pre-paid card is the first that can be loaded in the UK via rePower.
Matt Lanford, head, pre-paid, MasterCard Europe, says: "By enabling cash electronification to take place at a far wider range of merchants or online, MasterCard is creating a series of environments where pre-paid can be disruptive to the normal flow of cash in our society and where those people bound to cash can take advantage of the security, convenience and control offered by pre-paid."