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July 29, 2011

Pay masters

A gala dinner in Frankfurt last month saw the most innovative and highest-achieving businesses in the global payments industry recognised for their success. Here, Cards International outlines the qualities each of the winning companies bring to the market place.

By Verdict Staff

A gala dinner in Frankfurt last month saw the most innovative and highest-achieving businesses in the global payments industry recognised for their success. Here, Cards International outlines the qualities each of the winning companies bring to the market place.

 

This year’s Cards International Awards was a world tour of payments innovation. From ground-breaking Jamaican debit schemes to wide-ranging Italian loyalty programmes and exciting new virtual currencies, there are some impressive stories behind this year’s winners.

Collage showing photographs at the Cards International Awards 2011

BEST NEW PREPAID PRODUCT

Regalocard

Regalocard has successfully developed a remittance product based on gift cards. The system allows senders to purchase a prepaid gift card in the US for use at a specific retailer in Central America.

The card is tracked and activated by the name and the mobile number of the recipient through which he/she received the redemption PIN number needed to redeem the funds.

Aktif Bank’s Aktif38 City Card

Serving the city of Kayseri in Turkey, Aktif38 is considered the most versatile prepaid city card in Europe.

The contactless card handles micropayments quickly and efficiently and can be used for shopping, on public transport, at vending machines, bill payment, parking, and even for opening and closing doors.

 

BEST COMMERCIAL CREDIT CARD ISSUER OF THE YEAR

Citi corporate incentive prepaid

After Poland, the Czech Republic and the Middle East, Citi is making a major push with prepaid corporate incentives in Australia.

The programme has proven to be very effective and commercially attractive to Citi and in line with the continued push into corporate and government prepaid programmes.

 

BEST NEW DEBIT CARD OF THE YEAR

Capital and Credit Merchant Bank of Jamaica

Judges commended the bank for fighting the odds. CCMB is the only one of the three commercial banks in Jamaica to have launched its own debit card while the rest of the country relies on the Multilink network for domestic debit transactions.

 

MERGER OR ACQUISITION OF THE YEAR

MasterCard acquisition of Travelex prepaid

While many acquisitions have very clear strategic benefits for the buyer, the judges felt that this deal gave Travelex funds to invest in growth regions as well as providing MasterCard with a strategic boost.

 

BEST NEW CO-BRANDED, AFFINITY OR LOYALTY CARD

Poste Italiane/Banco Posta

This loyalty scheme has some 20,000 merchants on-board, offering a wide range of goods and services from petrol, to electronics, through to health care. The judges said the programme is a straightforward and distinct proposition.

 

FIRST NATIONAL BANK OF OMAHA

First National Bank of Omaha has built a significant portfolio of co-branded relationships by exploiting the untapped market between large national retailers and the local brands.

FBNO has not only exploited a commercial opportunity but done so through innovation with a customised reward programmes.

 

EDITOR’S AWARD FOR CONSUMER FOCUS

eWise

The eWise payo mobile app enables consumers to initiate payments for goods, services and bills online or face-to-face, without having to provide personal financial information to any third parties.

Apps like these could have a similar transformative effect as ATMs had in the 1970s and 80s.

 

EDITOR’S AWARD FOR BUSINESS FOCUS

Poste Italiane/Banco Posta

The Sconti Banco Posta loyalty scheme is hugely ambitious and wide-ranging.

The bank’s strategic approach to engaging merchants is worthy of high praise and the results are already showing, with a number of retailers seeing significant results from the scheme.

 

MOST PROMISING NEW ENTRANT

Facebook Credits

Facebook has been looking to the payments business as a way of diversifying its revenue stream, introducing its own virtual currency, Facebook Credits, in a bid to tap the fast growing social gaming market.

It has been a matter of months from the initial launch to the establishment of a payment unit and potentially of a new web currency.

 

MERCHANT ACQUIRER OF THE YEAR

Elavon

The judges commended Elavon for its joint venture with Credicard becoming the fourth merchant acquirer in Brazil, extending the reach of its multi-currency dynamic currency conversion platform into a high GDP growth country.

 

BEST NEW CREDIT CARD

Banco Popular for its MasterCard Platinum XTRA Card

In 2010, Banco Popular North America (BPNA) launched its MasterCard Platinum XTRA credit card programme. This product included a comprehensive, enhanced rewards scheme, which imposes no restrictions on purchases.

Designed for those consumers who use credit products in a ‘responsible’ manner, BPNA claims the Platinum XTRA card allows clients to earn awards in a quicker fashion.

 

BEST INNOVATION OR CROSS-INDUSTRY INNOVATION

American Express/SAP NetWeaver

American Express extended the use of loyalty points to buy limited edition virtual goods as well as physical and virtual game cards from Zynga, the world largest social game community.

 

BEST CARD PROCESSOR

First Data

FirstData received the award for the development and extension of its TransArmor payment processing solution, which represents a significant step forward for payment processing security as it removed payment card data from the merchant environment as part of the processing of a transaction.

This not only reduces risk but also significantly lowers the complexity for the merchant to achieve PCI/DSS compliance.

SIA Group

SIA has been following an extraordinarily successful business strategy that has seen them reverse their fortunes and rejoin the world’s leading processors.

The business’s recent reorganisation was designed to focus more clearly around their clients, with three business units – FI, Central Institutions, and corporate and public – focused around meeting the specific needs of each group.

SIA is looking to expand, particularly in central and eastern Europe, by growing the operations of its Hungarian subsidiary GBC.

Collage of photographs at the Cards International Awards 2011

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