Poşta Română, the Romanian postal service, and Advanced Payment Solutions Ltd (APS), the leading European provider of prepaid cards, have partnered to launch Romania's first-ever general purpose prepaid payment card.
The launch of the Poşta Română cashplus prepaid MasterCard opens up a new market by bridging the gap between cash and credit cards in a country where a significant number of its 21 million people do not have a bank account or credit card and most payments are made in cash.
This new market provides Romanian consumers with a respected, secure and internationally accepted alternative to cash for making purchases online, by telephone, in store, overseas and cash withdrawals from cash machines or free inside Poşta Română. Prepaid cards work by loading money on to the card to make purchases and do not require credit checks, so any Romanian aged 18 years+, resident in Romania and has an identity card will be eligible to open an account.
The card will be offered initially to Poşta Română staff ahead of the consumer launch in six Poşta Română branches in Bucharest in the second quarter 2009. The card will be rolled out to all of Poşta Română's 7,000 branches in due course. More information about the card's features and benefits will be available at the consumer launch next month.
Research undertaken by APS in October 2008 found that while 56% of Romanians have internet access at home or work, only 6% shop online due to security fears or lack of a card to make purchases. Respondents also saw the ability to use plastic cards to provide money to family abroad as an alternative to traditional money transfers out of Romania as an advantage.
Against this backdrop the new Poşta Română cashplus prepaid MasterCard offers many benefits. It has CHIP and PIN functionality for added fraud protection and can be used like a regular debit or credit card. It enables the holder to pay utility and other bills online, avoids the need to carry large amounts of cash, helps to shop online more safely and take advantage of lower internet prices. Remittances and internatnational travel and spending are also more straightforward than using cash. MasterCard is accepted in almost 100,000 outlets in Romania and 26 million places around the world.
Rich Wagner, Chief Executive Officer, APS, said: "I am proud that Poşta Română selected APS to help develop the payments market. Poşta Română's trusted brand and network of more than 7,000 branches will reach consumers who have not yet been able to experience the financial freedom a plastic payment card provides."
"Poşta Română enters the prepaid cards market in conjunction with two strong and experienced partners: MasterCard and Advanced Payment Solutions. Poşta Română will provide nationwide coverage to this partnership; due to this Poşta Română customers will benefit from a greater flexibility to manage their finances. Cashplus prepaid card will not only be accepted in Poşta Română branches, but also in retail stores, online shops and the ATM network worldwide; wherever the MasterCard sign is displayed. We are excited that some of our own employees will be first to use the new prepaid MasterCard, declared Marius Vatafu, CEO Poşta Română ,
Matt Lanford, Vice President and Prepaid Products Lead-Europe, MasterCard, said: "It's a great accomplishment for APS to have secured the Poşta Română deal. APS and MasterCard are the perfect partners to help Poşta Română expand their financial product strategy to the millions of Romanian consumers who do not have a bank account."