Philippine National Bank selects APS for pre-paid MasterCard launch in Europe

Source: Advanced Payment Solutions

Leading European prepaid card provider Advanced Payment Solutions Ltd (APS) has signed a contract with Philippine National Bank (PNB) Europe PLC to launch its flagship cashplus prepaid Gold MasterCard throughout its European network.

PNB will promote the product to its account holders living or working in Europe as an international payment card and remittance tool. Over the past twenty years, the number of Filipinos living and working in the UK alone has increased by more than 833% from roughly 18,000 in 1986 to more than 150,000 in 2006. Less than 10% are in domestic work with more than 65% of Filipinos in nursing and/or the allied medical fields and about 5% are entrepreneurs.

There are thought to be eight million Filipinos living and working overseas in total and the money they send back in "remittances" - about $15bn in 2006 - is vital to the Philippines economy. In the 1990s remittances contributed an average of 20.3 percent of the Philippines' export earnings and 5.2 percent of Gross Domestic Product. In 2000, the Government proactively appealed to Filipinos overseas to remit more to save its economy. The cashplus prepaid Gold MasterCard will be promoted as a new, cheaper way to regularly share money with friends and relatives back home.

APS' cashplus prepaid Gold MasterCard is the premium prepaid card market available in Europe and is the most-awarded prepaid payment card in Europe, having won a number of awards from MasterCard and other organisations. The cashplus prepaid Gold MasterCard offers maximum card utility which closely mimics that of traditional MasterCard credit products, but without the credit facility. Its features provide a cost-effective and seamless remittance service which appeals to foreign citizens who can also experience card 'acceptance' problems abroad when paying with domestically issued payment cards which are not accepted widely offshore.

PNB customers will be able to spend their funds on the card in the same way as a regular debit card, but with no risk of becoming overdrawn. Using an additional card they can also share money with friends and relatives in their country of origin on an ongoing basis, as regularly as they would like to, for minimum chargcharges.

Advanced Payment Solutions' online acquisition site has been seamlessly linked to PNB Europe's website. PNB customers can service their accounts at Philippine National Bank Europe PLC, online, and at more than 20,000 top-up locations in the UK.

Once loaded, the cashplus card is accepted in the UK and worldwide wherever the MasterCard acceptance mark is displayed and can be used to buy in-store, by phone, via the internet or used at ATMs. In addition to usage across multiple channels and retailers, the cashplus prepaid Gold MasterCard card will also reduce exposure to fraud and eliminates the risk of losses caused by unauthorised borrowing.

Ronald Sipat, Managing Director of the Philippine National Bank Europe Plc says: "The cashplus prepaid Gold MasterCard provides our customers with a simple way to access ATM and retail point of sale services around the world and an easy Money Share programme. We are delighted with the way our relationship with Advanced Payment Solutions has developed over recent months and we selected them as our service provider because of their proven expertise within the prepaid card payments sector".

Commenting on the deal, Philip Harrison, Advanced Payment Solutions' Director of Business Development says: "I am delighted to welcome Philippine National Bank Europe PLC as a partner of APS. They bring a strong pan-European presence and a key strategic customer base for the prepaid card market which will benefit from the trust, security and stability provided by the cashplus programmes, superior remittance possibilities and the freedom to spend wherever they see the MasterCard acceptance mark.

"The broad features of the cashplus card plus an acquisition and customer service model designed to be cost and operationally efficient for banks make this type of partnership simple to get off the ground. We are expecting to see more activity with foreign banking partners in 2008," says Mr Harrison.

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