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Altair Experts Present the Future of Prepaid Cards at a Series of Leading Industry Events

Lee Britton, CEO of Altair presenting at the Prepaid Card Summit 2008

Lee Britton, CEO of Altair presenting at the Prepaid Card Summit 2008

Prepaid card experts at Altair Financial Services International Plc (Altair), a leading prepaid card business solutions provider, have featured as speakers in a number of leading industry conferences covering prepaid cards, global money remittance and ticketing systems for sports stadiums over the last quarter.

With a highly developed processing platform, award winning client programs and leading subject matter experts, Altair continue to achieve significant accomplishments in prepaid payments arena through market leading innovation and technology.

In his most recent presentation to delegates at the Prepaid Card Summit 2008 in October, Altair CEO, Lee Britton, covered the topic, “The Integration of Contactless and M-Payments with Global Prepaid Programmes: Will innovations in prepaid transform the payments landscape?”

The presentation included looking at existing innovations in contactless and mobile payments and ways to drive contactless payments to mainstream acceptance. “Over the next period, I think we will see a different landscape in payments,” says Britton. “For instance, I can see in the not too distant future a single piece of plastic to encompass many accounts, with many banks. One piece of plastic, one chip, which will enable you to get value from any one of your ten accounts, and the same card can be used for transport and ticketing. I think innovative technological developments around mobile phone payments will also aid consumer adoption. It is critical for the consumer to have access to their balance, and the ability to load and send funds using their mobile phone. We see this as a key driver and we see mobile phone penetration as one of the biggest aids to the M-Payments market.”

There are a number of catalysts that will have an impact in making contactless payments a mainstream product. Primary among these in the UK is the contactless stadium entry prepaid card initiative that is already underway. Britton continues, “We are already receiving a lot of interest from major football clubs in this area. We can now see a situation in the next two years, particularly in the Premier League, where clubs go contactless and cashless. The benefits are there for all parties, for the football clubs it’s about throughput; it’s also a better experience for the consumer, where checkout time is key.” Britton highlights that other major catalysts will be in transit, where the Oyster Card has already proven a market for contactless payments and ticketing to be combined on a single product, and retail, where trials have already created significant interest.

Speaking at the Money Transfer London (MTL08) conference last week, Sarah Francis, Altair Client Services Director, introduced the audience to the growing potential that prepaid cards and M-Payments (Mobile Payments) offer the money remittance sector. “Pay as you go has enabled virtually anyone to have a mobile phone,” says Francis. “But why just keep customers on a proprietary network like that? It would be better to move to a prepaid MasterCard or Visa that happens to be able to pay for airtime, but you also can use it to send money, book a flight, have your salary paid onto it and buy on the internet. The result is inclusive, enabling and empowering. The card links to a mobile phone, and with it, the customer can spend at close to 30 million retail locations and access cash at over a million ATMs. Customers can also send money by SMS (text) to a recipient anywhere in the world, in real time, without even leaving their home, as long as they both have a card.”

“It costs a telco on average 6% to get cash over the retail counter. It costs a fraction of that for cash collection onto a prepaid card. The telco saves approximately 4% in cash top-up fees directly to their bottom line. The telco also benefits from additional revenue streams from the card including interchange, interest and fees. The telco also knows more about the customer, not just the telephone numbers customers ring and when, but the recency, frequency and value, making the customer ‘sticky’ and more loyal. Everything is auditable, which is good for the regulators, the telco and banks, and fantastic for the customer too.”

At Rugby Expo 08, the world’s first conference and exhibition dedicated to rugby, Richard Wray, Altair Head of Business Integration, participated in the panel discussion “Ticket to the future: Ticketing systems for today and tomorrow”. The panel discussed how the addition of prepaid card functionality can add considerable benefits to sports clubs and stadiums. Implementing a multi-application (stadium entry, membership and ability to make chip and PIN and contactless payments inside and outside a stadium) prepaid Seasoncard not only offers clubs the benefit of taking cash out of the system, improving turnover and speeding up queue times, but also provides the facility to encourage loyalty among supporters.

Acquiring a better understanding of their supporters’ spending behaviour outside of the stadium grounds enables the club to better implement loyalty and reward schemes that truly benefit their audience. The panel also recognised the functionality as a means of converting entry control and ticketing from a cost to a revenue generating opportunity.

Cardholders also enjoy several advantages from using a contactless prepaid Seasoncard. With ‘Tap and Go’ functionality, cardholders spend less time in concession queues. The card is convenient to use, more secure than cash and has wide acceptance outside the stadium.

For more information on Altair, visit the website: http://www.altair-financial.com

Altair Financial Services International
3rd Floor, 37 Maddox Street
London, W1S 2PP
United Kingdom
Tel: +44 (0)20 7659 1140
Web: www.altair-financial.com
For further information please contact:
Altair Financial Services International Plc - Steven Phillips: 0207 659 1178

About Altair Financial Services International Plc
Altair Financial Services International Plc was incorporated in 2005 as a global provider of Prepaid Card solutions with enhanced functionality. Altair acquired established transaction processing company, Symmetrex, Inc. in March 2007. Altair is headquartered in London with banking and processing relationships in UK, USA, Asia Pacific and throughout the Latin America and Caribbean regions and facilitates issuing 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. Through its relationship with MasterCard all Altair cards issued in Europe are based on Chip & PIN technology and are EMV standards compliant. Altair is certified to work with issuers and provides transaction processing of contactless (MasterCard® PayPass™) prepaid cards in the United Kingdom. For more information, visit www.altair-financial.com

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