APS signs pre-paid card deal with R Raphael & Sons

Source: Advanced Payment Solutions

Specialist prepaid card firm Advanced Payment Solutions (APS) has signed a deal with bank R. Raphael & Sons plc (Raphaels) to issue prepaid cards on behalf of the bank.

The new bank sponsor relationship with Raphaels will enable APS to produce fully branded Visa and MasterCard prepaid cards and other prepaid products within each brand portfolio, such as Visa Electron and Maestro cards. It will be the first prepay card company in the United Kingdom with the ability to do so.

A five year agreement with the right to renew has been signed between APS and R. Raphael & Sons plc.

Both APS and Raphaels have existing prepaid cards in the market. APS launched the first general purpose prepaid card in the UK, the cashplus prepaid MasterCard, in September 2005. The cashplus card is issued by Broadcastle Bank Ltd, which it will continue to work with. Raphaels has had its own prepaid Maestro card since March 2005, called Cash2Go, which is a reloadable travel card.

APS Chief Executive Rich Wagner said the addition of another bank partner was largely driven by APS' growth targets and the increasing interest in white label prepaid cards from major brands from outside the banking sector.

"The new bank sponsorship is an excellent move for our business and an inevitable evolution of our offering. It diversifies our risk portfolio and extends our product offering for both white label partners and consumers. We can now provide a choice of either Visa, MasterCard or both cards.

The agreement offers enormous potential for both APS and Raphaels. Clearly we both believe in the future of the prepaid card market in the UK. Although it is a straightforward bank sponsorship with R. Raphael & Sons plc, in the long term it is possible we may work more closely with Raphaels and its sister company International Currency Exchange to achieve greater efficiencies and enhance the value of our prepaid card programmes.

APS has an enormous amount of technical skill and experience in the creation and back office servicing of payment card programmes and we have invested heavily in our card infrastructure. Raphaels has scheme memberships and regulatory expertise and ICE has an international consumer facing retail network in the travel market. Over time a closer working relationship may prove to be worth exploring," said Mr Wagner.

Mike Smith, Group Director of Marketing and Strategy at Raphaels parent, Lenlyn Holdings, added that the collaboration will offer non financial services brands a high end and quick to market path for developing prepaid card programmes through cards issued by R. Raphael & Sons plc.

"Prepaid cards are forecast to eclipse credit cards within ten years. By establishing Raphaels as a high end, boutique card issuer in this market at the outset we will establish a great foundation for future growth.

Through strategic partnerships with technically able partners of APS’ calibre, we will be able to create a dynamic, broad and quick to market offering for major brands looking to develop white label prepaid programmes. This is certainly a positive development for Raphaels," said Mike.

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