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