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Altair Announces Industry Accolades

Altair Financial Services International Plc

Altair Financial Services International Plc

As the network branded prepaid and stored value card industry continues to develop on a global scale, so too have the number of awards recognising achievement in this new payments sector. Altair Financial Services International Plc (Altair), a leader in global prepaid card programs and transaction processing, have again been honoured with award wins and nominations for market leading prepaid programs and advanced technology.

Last week, MBNA Europe won the MasterCard 2007/8 Prepaid Award for Best Innovation and Technology for the Manchester City FC MasterCard® Prepaid Seasoncard with PayPass™, a ground-breaking reloadable contactless card, processed by Altair. The Prepaid Awards, which were established by MasterCard last year to recognise excellence and innovation in the prepaid card segment of the European payments industry, were presented at MasterCard Europe’s second annual Prepaid Conference in Cannes.

According to Altair CEO, Lee Britton, “The Manchester City FC Prepaid Seasoncard with PayPass program involved implementation of sophisticated processing on a multi-function contactless card within a very short period of time. This is possibly the most advanced card on the market today, featuring contactless payments technology, EMV and contactless access control – all on a single piece of plastic. This allows cardholders to gain access to the stadium utilising the existing smart card technology on match days and to purchase items inside and outside the ground.” This is the first pilot program in Europe to issue season ticket holders with a reloadable prepaid MasterCard card with Tap & Go™ technology.

Altair helped deliver the first stadium contactless prepaid card in Europe with MBNA, the solution integrator and issuing bank, Fortress GB who provide stadium access and membership and Gemalto who provide card personalisation.

The Manchester City FC Prepaid Seasoncard with PayPass has also been shortlisted for the Payment Solution Award at the 2008 European Retail Solutions Awards to be held on 25 June 2008 in London. The Awards are supported by Retail Week and are focused on recognising retailers and suppliers for excellence and innovation in retail IT, solutions and technology. This is one of the most important dates in the retail technology calendar as over 700 key industry figures gather to celebrate the winners.

The BRIT Awards 2008 limited edition MasterCard Prepaid PayPass card won the 2008 Élan Awards for Card Manufacturing Excellence, which was awarded to Altair card manufacturing partner, ID Data, in Florida this April. The awards recognise the latest advancements in card manufacturing excellence and are the pinnacle of design innovation and technical achievement in the plastic card industry.

The Manchester City FC Prepaid Seasoncard with PayPass has also been shortlisted as a finalist in the category of Best New Prepaid Card Launch at the 2008 Cards International Global Awards, to be held in Brussels on 19 June 2008. Altair wholly owned transaction processing arm, Symmetrex, Inc. was has also been honoured as finalist in the category of Best Card Processor of the Year. Symmetrex is the only certified prepaid MasterCard PayPass issuing processor in the UK and was the first to issue a MasterCard PayPass contactless payments program in London last year.

“Symmetrex and Altair offer an integrated end-to-end service, from card program design and development to transaction processing. The company continually strives to develop innovative and new ways to improve the ease of interface with client requirements and the transaction processing system thus facilitating quicker delivery of unique prepaid card programs,” says Britton.

Altair industry experts are also contributing to the growth of the prepaid industry by sharing their knowledge at forthcoming events. Altair business development director, Damian Mifsud, will participate in a round table discussion at the Prepaid08 Conference in London this June. The round table discussion will explore “Why banks need to grasp the prepaid opportunity now, or risk disintermediation”. In July, Altair CEO Lee Britton will present on the topic “Prepaid cards: transforming the card industry” at the IEA and Marketforce's inaugural The Future of Cards and Payments conference.

With market leading innovation and technology, a highly developed processing platform, award winning client programs and leading subject matter experts, Altair are determined to dominate the prepaid space.

Altair Financial Services International Plc
3rd Floor, 37 Maddox Street
London, W1S 2PP
United Kingdom
Tel: +44 (0)20 7659 1140
Fax: +44 (0)207 900 2511
Web: http://www.altair-financial.com/

Notes to Editors:

For further information, please contact:
Steven Phillips, Altair Financial Services International Plc
+44(0) 20 7659 1178 or email steven.phillips@altair-financial.com

About Altair Financial Services International Plc:
Altair Financial Services International Plc (Altair) is a global transaction processing company, issuing and acquiring processor, internet payment gateway, mobile payments and stored value processor. Altair was incorporated in 2005 as a global provider of bespoke white labelled Prepaid Card programs with enhanced functionality. Altair acquired established transaction processing company, Symmetrex, Inc. in November 2006. Altair is headquartered in London with banking and processing relationships in UK, USA, Middle East and Africa, Asia Pacific and throughout the Latin America and Caribbean regions and issues on behalf of MasterCard® and Visa.

Altair solutions are designed to be flexible enough to provide companies with almost any type of prepaid card functionality, including open and closed loop programs, and created for corporate, retail/consumer and government use. Through its relationship with MasterCard®, all Altair cards issued in Europe are based on Chip & PIN technology and are EMV standards compliant. Altair is a certified issuer and transaction processor of contactless (MasterCard® PayPass™) prepaid cards in the United Kingdom. For more information, visit www.altair-financial.com or call +44(0) 20 7659 1140.

About MasterCard Europe:
MasterCard Europe is the entity responsible for managing MasterCard Worldwide’s business in Europe, for Europe. With headquarters in Waterloo, Belgium, MasterCard Europe works with 51 European countries organized administratively into three customer areas, incorporating the Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA), mature markets and the developing markets of Europe, stretching as far afield as the eastern border of Russia. Through its network of local offices, MasterCard Europe can understand and meet the diverse needs of customers in the very different types of markets throughout Europe, enabling people to do business in their own way in their own language.

Through MasterCard Worldwide, MasterCard Europe offers its European customers and consumers access to leading payment services throughout the world. MasterCard Worldwide advances global commerce by providing a critical economic link among financial institutions, businesses, cardholders and merchants worldwide. As a franchisor, processor and advisor, MasterCard develops and markets payment solutions, processes over 18 billion transactions each year, and provides industry-leading analysis and consulting services to financial institution customers and merchants. Through its family of brands, including MasterCard®, Maestro® and Cirrus®, MasterCard serves consumers and businesses in more than 210 countries and territories. For more information, go to http://www.mastercard.com.

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