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July 28, 2007

MasterCard to launch prepaid contactless card in Italy

Postepay, the prepaid card from Italian post office Poste Italiane, has enjoyed considerable success since its launch in 2003, and now MasterCard Worldwide is aiming to enhance the proposition further by adding its contactless PayPass technology to the Postepay prepaid model. MasterCard and Poste Italiane are teaming up to launch the Postepay Evolution MasterCard prepaid card, which will also represent the entry of PayPass in the Italian market By the end of 2007, Poste Italiane will launch a trial of the new card, which will be available for purchase and use at retailers in Milan and Rome in a variety of retail categories, including cinemas, fast food and chain restaurants, supermarkets and other outlets.

By Verdict Staff

Postepay, the prepaid card from Italian post office Poste Italiane, has enjoyed considerable success since its launch in 2003, and now MasterCard Worldwide is aiming to enhance the proposition further by adding its contactless PayPass technology to the Postepay prepaid model.

MasterCard and Poste Italiane are teaming up to launch the Postepay Evolution MasterCard prepaid card, which will also represent the entry of PayPass in the Italian market. By the end of 2007, Poste Italiane will launch a trial of the new card, which will be available for purchase and use at retailers in Milan and Rome in a variety of retail categories, including cinemas, fast food and chain restaurants, supermarkets and other outlets.

Building on a solid network

The original version of the Postepay prepaid card, which was launched in association with Visa, has been a huge hit with Italian consumers, and card numbers jumped from just over 500,000 in 2003 to over 4 million by the end of 2006. Poste Italiane already has a wide distribution network of over 14,000 post offices where consumers can purchase the cards, and the addition of contactless payment functionality to the Postepay prepaid model should help to expand the use of the cards outside the retail sector to areas such as public transit and unattended payments.

Italy is one of several European markets that are expected to enjoy strong growth in the use of prepaid cards. According to research from the Boston Consulting Group, total spending on prepaid cards in Italy is expected to reach $33 billion in 2010, making Italy the fifth-largest prepaid market in the world.

Gaetano Carboni, head of key accounts for MasterCard Europe, said: “MasterCard PayPass aims to provide consumers with a new and innovative alternative to cash that simplifies purchases for consumers and retailers. Our partnership with Poste Italiane represents a significant opportunity to lead the contactless payments sector in Italy, as we have done in markets across Europe.”

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