MasterCard and Beam collaborate to launch mobile companion pre-paid card

At the Mobile World Conference today, MasterCard Worldwide announced that it will be collaborating with Beam to launch a low-cost MasterCard mobile companion prepaid card. Beam is a mobile and ecommerce wallet, and the new pre-paid card will allow over 14 million mobile wallet consumers of Beam to make transactions with physical merchants, online and also access ATMs.

Now, the Indian consumer can connect their existing mobile wallet to MasterCard acceptance and electronic payments to pay for utility bills make fund transfers, book movie or travel tickets, and withdrawing money from ATMs as well as Beam franchisees. The prepaid card will effortlessly synchronize with the customer’s existing Beam account. From July/August 2013 onward, these cards will be issued instantly by Beam franchisees across India.
“Our collaboration with MasterCard Worldwide’s pre-paid card system enables us to offer…access to ATMs and card-transactions at merchants, further extending the reach of our Mobile Wallet to a wide range of cashless solutions…” said Anand Srivastava, Chairman, Beam.

According to the latest MasterCard Mobile Payments Readiness Index, India scores 31.5 and even though India’s infrastructure component scores well with 88% mobile phone penetration, the Customer Readiness and Financial Services scores fare poorly with only 2% payment card penetration. The MasterCard report depicts gap and therefore potential for growth in the Financial Services sector in India. Several points make this collaboration noteworthy in terms of the opportunity it presents.

It is a low cost pre-paid account that is linked to a mobile-based store value account. While there will be one account, there will be two form factors i.e. phone and plastic. And it is issued instantly, linked to the mobile wallet in real time and authenticated via the mobile phone of the consumer. This service can be seen as an important step towards the coming together of mobile-commerce and banking entities in the payment space.

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Ari Sarker, Division President, South Asia, MasterCard Worldwide says, “India is one of the fastest growing mobile markets in the world. With this collaboration, cardholders will now have access to an innovative suite of value added services that has the potential to offer a whole new world of financial access and a cashless cardholder experience to undeserved and unbanked citizens”.

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