Russian telco MegaFon is to provide subscribers with a MasterCard chip-based card that can be topped up from a user's mobile account and used to make online and offline purchases.
The telco is looking to make card-based payments a reality for people without bank accounts, including students, pensioners and migrant workers, as well as to drive loyalty among existing subscribers.
MegaFon has partnered with Round Bank to provide the banking licence, and technology partners BPC and Inplat to support technical integration, card issuance and management, e-commerce and SMS banking.
Available to order from any MegaFon branch, the card supports contactless payments and can be loaded in much the same way as any airtime top up.
Ian Kukhalsky, new business and partnership director, MegaFon, says: “There was a huge demand from our customers for more options to use their mobile accounts, to get more services. This initiative is all about how to use mobile account as your own wallet, in all senses - for online and offline payments - and even get additional benefits of a banking service."
These extra benefits include an 8% interest rate paid monthly on the balance held in mobile accounts, alongside ten percent cash back deals from selected retail partners.
Users can also send money to other MegaFon subscribers, both within Russia and internationally, commission-free.