London Mutual Credit Union launches MasterCard debit card programme

Source: Optimus Cards

London Mutual has announced a debit card scheme in cooperation with MasterCard. This ground breaking program, which launched on Monday 21 November, brings true, fully functional debit cards to credit union members across the country for the first time.

The infrastructure necessary to implement and operate debit card functionality—from payment processors and card manufacturers to customer support services—has historically been out of reach for credit unions, whose smaller size in comparison to major commercial banks means transaction volumes beneath the minimum threshold for the service providers required. As a result, credit union members have had to settle for prepaid debit cards, which are both cumbersome to maintain and require large security deposits depreciating liquidity for the credit unions.
By bundling the transaction volumes of their credit union customers, Birmingham and Dublin-based company Optimus Cards Group, has made true debit programs possible for credit unions and smaller financial institutions of virtually any size.

Optimus Cards’ aggregation model provides the support centre infrastructure, PCI compliance, IT, as well as card management and settlement services allowing credit unions to operate a world class card program on a pay as you go basis, without the significant up-front investment normally associated with such a service. The result is a top of the line system that brings real debit card operations to consumers and peerless service to credit unions.

“We are the first Credit Union to offer full Debit contact and contactless cards to our customers,” said Lucky Chandrasekera, CEO. “We chose Optimus because the company offers the most flexible solution on the market today with a completely customisable product set-up to include limits. Card authorisations are debited directly in real time from members’ own accounts because the Optimus system integrates seamlessly with our new, functionally rich back-end solution.”
“We have migrated 10,000 legacy CUCA holders over to our new contact and contactless debit cards. Teen cards have also been configured, enabling us to ensure that our members are served as they move from their teens to full adulthood," Chandrasekera added.

The Optimus Cards program integration and launch process is unusually simple in an industry characterized by complex, often cumbersome technology. From the credit union’s perspective, the service is completely turnkey, requiring zero in-house expertise. At every stage of the process, specialized teams from Optimus Cards orchestrate the necessary procedures and details. The final product—a top of the line, custom-designed and branded debit card program with full white-label support infrastructure—requires little more than signoff from the credit union itself. “Bringing fully functional debit cards to our members was paramount on our agenda, and execution has been flawless,” Chandrasekera added. “MasterCard and Optimus Cards have been outstanding partners, and the program we have built with them will grow in the future.”

Mastercard, who are the chosen payment brand of the Optimus Cards Group scheme and will be branding the debit cards, welcomed the approach to a longstanding problem. Fiona McCaffrey Head of Growth Accounts for Mastercard said. “It’s great to see the UK’s first credit union embracing contactless payments and London Mutual’s members will benefit greatly from the convenience and speed of tapping to pay. We are looking for more opportunities to increase financial inclusion and we believe that everyone should have access to the latest payment technologies. We are working hard in the UK market to support the broad range of institutions that can bring these innovations to customers.”

The debit cards for London Mutual member accounts are already being printed, and will be in consumers’ hands within days. The program includes full 24-hour customer support centers, which will further enhance the new card experience for Credit Union members across the UK and Ireland.

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