Monitise (LSE: MONI.L) welcomes the news that H&R Block (NYSE: HRB), Metavante (NYSE: MV), and Monitise Americas, LLC, today announced that H&R Block Emerald Prepaid MasterCard cardholders will begin to have access to mobile phone text messaging to check their balances and receive account reload mobile alerts.
H&R Block will start piloting the text messaging capabilities made available by Metavante Mobile Financial Services, powered by Monitise Americas technology.
H&R Block is the world's largest tax preparation company. The company's Emerald Prepaid MasterCard marked the largest launch of a prepaid debit card in the industry. Monitise Americas is a joint venture between Monitise plc, a global specialist in mobile banking technology, and Metavante Corporation, a leading provider of banking and payments technologies to financial institutions and businesses worldwide.
"While the Emerald Card has proven to be a popular and convenient way for customers to receive their tax refund - particularly those without traditional banking relationships - we've always seen the card as a next-generation delivery device for financial services to a wider audience," said Kevin Morrison, H&R Block's assistant vice president of card programs. "Adding text message balance inquiry functionality through Monitise Americas and Metavante allows our Emerald Card to further build loyalty for our tax business while meeting the specific needs of our tax clients - and giving them another reason to choose H&R Block year after year."
In addition to text message balance inquiry, the Emerald Card offers clients a robust line of features, including:
- Payroll direct deposit
- Connection to line of credit
- Access to a savings account
- Link to money transfer services
- Nationwide ATM access and point-of-sale purchasing wherever MasterCard debit cards are accepted
This tax season H&R Block issued 2.6 million cards. H&R Block customers continued to use the cards for purposes beyond receiving their taxeir tax refund, loading payroll direct deposit and other funds on the card.
"When banking services perform as advertised, they build relationships," said Frank D'Angelo, group president, Metavante Payment Solutions. "The hope for reloadable prepaid cards has been equipping financial institutions to offer an alternative to checking accounts as an entry-level product and eventually transition non-traditional customers into traditional banking relationships. The ever-present nature of the mobile phone in America makes it an advantageous customer service channel for consumers already bypassing traditional financial institution channels. As prepaid itself becomes a mainstream financial product, using mobile phone text messaging functionality for balance inquiries can enable relationship building by allowing consumers to manage their account whenever and wherever they choose."
Lisa Stanton, chief executive officer, Monitise Americas, said, "Initiating prepaid account balance inquiries on-the-go using text messaging may not represent traditional banking, but considering the ubiquitous nature of mobile phones in America, this functionality does provide greater access to accounts and an expanded customer base."
H&R Block Emerald Prepaid MasterCards are offered through H&R Block tax offices. H&R Block's tax professionals at the company's nationwide network of 13,500 offices assist clients with establishing the accounts.
Metavante Payment Solutions delivers electronic money movement through an integrated payments network, including an ATM/PIN-debit network in NYCE, mobile banking and payments, online bill pay, healthcare payment solutions, a suite of payment cards and automated clearing house (ACH) processing.
Monitise Americas has engineered its platform specifically for the North American mobile banking and payments market, leveraging the best practices and award-winning technology developed by Monitise for the MONILINK service in the U.K. MONILINK provides mobile banking and payment services to U.K. customers including those of first direct, Alliance & Leicester, Royal Bank of Scotland, NatWest and Ulster Bank.