As Ukash, the online payment specialist, continues in its quest to make online shopping available to everybody, anywhere in the world, the company has signed a significant global deal with epay, a Division of Euronet Worldwide - a leading provider of payment services and technology - to make its online cash vouchers available in Italy for the first time.
The expansion of Ukash into Italy will initially see Ukash vouchers available at 1,250 epay locations across the country, before extending to thousands more over the rest of the year. The deal offers all internet users in Italy the opportunity to pay, play and shop online using cash for free without having to pay for a prepaid card.
Internet shopping in Italy turned over 4,868 billion euros in 2007  and continues to grow. The Ukash partnership with epay allows online merchants to tap into the growing customer base of consumers who prefer to use cash as a safer way to complete transactions online.
Ukash vouchers do not attract a service or convenience fee. Consumers simply exchange their cash for a unique 19-digit code to use online. This provides them with a secure payment system where they don't need to reveal any financial information, enabling those without access to credit or debit cards - or those with fears of online fraud - to enjoy online shopping.
Mark Chirnside, chief executive officer of Ukash, explained, "Italy is a key growth market for Ukash, where ecommerce is on the up and consumers are becoming savvy about the safer ways to pay online. We are pleased to be able to extend the availability of our product to Italian consumers, providing them with a free, one-time use, e-cash solution that opens online shopping up to everybody. By partnering with epay we are able to reach a broader scope of potential new customers and expand our global footprint."
"This deal also opens the virtual door for many online retailers as they can now offer alternative payment methods and attract the cash consumer, as well as eliminate any risk of online fraud."
"epay is pleased to be able to partner with Ukash in Italy, thereby combining the strengths of both businesses to offer consumers more convenient locations to obtain Ukash vouchers - a safe and alternative method of online payment," said Giuseppe Di Marco, Country Manager, epay Italy. "Utilising our Italian cash collection network, we can deliver a value-added service to Ukash customers, further extending our payment service and technology offering."
From today, Ukash vouchers will be available at 1,250 physical point of sale terminals operated by epay at independent supermarkets, petrol stations, call shops, drug stores and convenience stores in Italy. The vouchers will be available in €10, €20, €50 and €100 and can be combined, split and/or converted.
Ukash is undergoing a period of rapid global growth and in the last few months has expanded its offer in Germany, Poland, Australia and Spain with epay.