NovoPayment, one of Latin America’s
leading prepaid issuers and service providers, is staying busy in a
bustling cards market, launching a pair of new corporate prepaid
cards in Peru and receiving a Principal Member licence by
MasterCard Worldwide for the issuance of MasterCard prepaid cards
in the region. This makes it MasterCard’s first non-traditional
institution in Latin America to receive the designation.

The announcement marks another milestone for
NovoPayment, which was also first to issue Maestro and
MasterCard-branded prepaid open-loop cards to replace paper food
and meal vouchers in Mexico, Venezuela and Peru. The MasterCard
license will allow NovoPayment to issue MasterCard payment cards
directly.

“We believe that this is a big milestone for
us, because we can issue MasterCard-branded cards without always
needing a bank sponsor,” said Anabel Perez, co-founder and CEO of
NovoPayment. “We will still work very closely with a range of banks
to accelerate growth in the industry. In some Latin American
countries, we’ll be able to work collaboratively with partners and
be in charge of the whole process.”

Founded in 2004, NovoPayment has built the
largest branded prepaid portfolio of any non-bank in Latin America,
with multi-country programmes in the areas of electronic benefits,
such as meal and food vouchers, and general-purpose reloadable
cards for growing unbanked and underserved markets, as well as
various prepaid programmes targeted to mobile and pay TV operators,
utilities, banks and retailers.

With a presence in Miami in the US, Caracas in
Venezuela, and Lima in Peru, NovoPayment’s portfolio includes more
than 960,000 branded active cards (MasterCard, Maestro, Visa, Visa
Electron), representing more than 30 million transactions and
approximately $600 million annually. Among its accomplishments are
the first prepaid general-purpose card in Latin America not to
require a bank account and the first mobile P2P (peer-to-peer)
funds transfer platform using SMS (short message service).

The launch of the two corporate prepaid cards
in Peru via its subsidiary Servitebca Peru, a joint venture between
the company and Interbank Group, is part of a growing portfolio
designed to help private and public organisations apply best
practices to the management of key expenditures.

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“We have a strong Peruvian management team in
place, and we are very enthusiastic about the future of the
programme there,” Perez said. “We are very committed to Peru. It
has enormous potential and a stable, growing economy.”

Founded in 1994, Interbank Group is one of
Peru’s largest and fastest-growing corporations, with a network of
207 branches, 1,401 ATMs and 1,025 Interbank Directo POS terminals
nationwide. Interbank services more than 1.2 million customers.

The new card programmes are Plata Gasolina, a
prepaid fuel card accepted at service stations throughout the
country, and Plata Compras, a widely accepted prepaid corporate
card able to meet diverse purchasing and payment needs. Plata
Gasolina was designed for organisations with large fuel
expenditures. The card is not limited to any single chain and can
be used to pay for fuel at the pump and other auto-related products
and services at any of the 800 gas stations throughout the country
that accept MasterCard.

Plata Compras is a reloadable prepaid
corporate card that allows organisations to electronically disburse
funds associated with bonuses, sales incentives, prizes to
employees and third parties such as distributors, per diem expenses
and petty cash. Cardholders can make purchases at any of the more
than 40,000 merchants that accept MasterCard in Peru.

Servitebca Peru and its sister company, Tebca
Peru are NovoPayment subsidiaries created in partnership with
Interbank Group to spearhead the development of prepaid solutions
and transform traditional payment and disbursement models.

General-purpose reloadable prepaid cards could
account for $160 billion of utility and mobile phone bill payments
alone in Latin America by 2015, according to NovoPayment
projections. NovoPayment predicts that by 2015, Brazil will offer
the greatest potential for bills paid with prepaid cards, with 110
million cards used to pay $69 million in mobile phone and utility
bills. Mexico would come next, with 60 million cards used to pay
for $50 million in mobile phone and utility bills.

“We are just testing the waters now, and there
is so much room for growth,” said Perez. “We are perfecting our
technology and issuance procedures, and we are set to launch in
Colombia in the first quarter of 2010. We’re still a growing and
developing company.”

Charles Davis