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Altair and Vodatel form prepaid card JV

23 May 2007  |  1473 views  |  0 Source: Altair Financial Services International

Altair Financial Services International and Vodatel have announced the formation of a joint venture - iPay Holding - to provide prepaid and stored value card services globally with a focus on the Middle East, Africa, Indian Subcontinent and Asia Pacific.

iPay Holding, which will formally begin trading in Q3 2007, seeks to take advantage of the explosive growth in demand for prepaid card products in these regions and to capitalise upon Altair's leading edge technology. The potential market size for prepaid cards is estimated at $3 trillion* and the current value of global money remittance is thought to be in excess of $290 billion**.

Prepaid cards are payment cards that have been preloaded with funds; they can be used to make purchases and to access cash from ATMs at over 24 million locations world-wide, wherever MasterCard or Visa is accepted. Because the cards are preloaded they offer a secure and convenient alternative to cash, without the danger of running into debt.

"iPay Holding will offer a portfolio of stored value Prepaid Card programs to suit different types of customers including money transfer and payroll solution for unbanked workers. Our research has indicated that the money transfer and payroll programs are likely to be extremely successful due to the industry leading features and functionality of the cards," reports Ghassan Oueida, CEO of iPay Holding. "There is definitely a market for prepaid products that have convenience and value for money built in. UAE, for example, has a population of 4.3 million with its expatriates sending home $5.4 billion annually. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is even larger with around $14 billion being sent home. India, on the other hand, is the biggest beneficiary in the world receiving $23 billion annually." ***

Altair has recently launched an unparalleled addition to its prepaid card services that makes use of an innovative mobile technology. A principal product that immediately benefits from this new technology is its successful MoneyShare Card. It is a MasterCard branded two-card package that allows the instant and safe transmission of funds using SMS instructions to move funds from a primary card to a secondary prepaid card.

"We have an eye on the wider glglobal market and UAE represents the first milestone for our launch," declared Ghassan Oueida. "In a society where expatriates account for almost 80%++ of the community, the potential for offering such an innovative money remittance solution is overwhelming. The UAE market is in need of our products and we're determined to establish ourselves here as the first step towards our global launch."

The Payroll Card is particularly attractive for businesses employing high numbers of transitory staff on short term contracts who may arrive in a country without any banking arrangements set up in advance. Using the latest SMS technology or the Internet, wages can be loaded simply and easily onto a corporately branded Prepaid MasterCard that staff can use immediately for all their personal requirements. MoneyShare can be built in to the card so that card holders can instantly and cheaply send money to their families back home.

Lee Britton, CEO of Altair stated: "We are one of the first companies in the world to offer such new technology - Altair Mobile Payment System (AMPS) - to our clients in this region. But watch this space! The pace of change in what we can achieve by linking telecommunications companies and the financial services sector is accelerating rapidly. We are trialing yet more new services and iPay Holding will continue to lead the way through innovation."

iPay Holding will have its headquarters in Dubai which will host its global processing and call center facilities. Distribution partners are now being appointed throughout GCC and the launch will be supported with an aggressive marketing campaign.

* The Center for Financial Services Innovation (CFSI)
** Visa Remittance Solutions Report
*** International Association of Money Transfer Networks
++ Preliminary Results of the General Census for Population, 2005 United
Arabic Emirates

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