Since 2000, Ixaris has specialised in developing global
applications based on open-loop prepaid card schemes. Its payment
applications enable consumers unwilling or unable to access credit
card services to gain easy access to electronic payments. Victoria
Conroy reports.


In the world of prepaid, industry
players recognise that reaching out to unbanked consumers who would
otherwise be denied access to banking or online shopping is a key
strategic pillar in growing their businesses.

One UK prepaid solution provider,
Ixaris, is making a name for itself by offering consumers the
option of having either physical or virtual prepaid cards, and by
offering businesses the option to co-brand Ixaris’ payment

In a relatively short space of
time, Ixaris has been recognised by Visa and MasterCard as an
independent sales organisation (ISO). Ixaris is also certified by
the Financial Services Authority (FSA) as a small e-money issuer,
and its financial service partners include RBS, Barclays, Transact
Network and Bank of Valletta, giving it the clout to compete with
some of the more established names in prepaid.

Under the EntroPay brand, Ixaris
currently manages financial transactions exceeding $15m per month
and, with more than 100 clients, Ixaris offers a rage of co-branded
payment applications that enable enterprises within the health
care, travel and affiliate marketing industry, and financial
institutions to capitalise on the growing market for prepaid
payment solutions through the global payment networks Visa,
MasterCard and SWIFT.

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By GlobalData


Quote from Alex Mifsud, Ixaris CEOProduct propositions

The company’s payment platform enables businesses and
entrepreneurs to create and run their own payment applications,
which the company claims reduces cost, complexity and time needed
to bring them to market. Ixaris’ technology powers a range of
co-branded prepaid payment applications that manage the global
transfer of funds through the Visa, MasterCard and SWIFT

The core of Ixaris’ proposition is
the EntroPay prepaid payment service, which can be used wherever
Visa is accepted, and which provides both consumers and businesses
with self-service access to its range of global payment
applications. EntroPay users can make purchases and withdraw cash
through virtual and plastic Visa and MasterCard-branded products,
and also send and receive money worldwide using their own bank

EntroPay is also being positioned
as a micropayment option for consumers, and can be used for
micropayment options as small as $0.01. For merchants, where card
payments of £5 ($7.9) or less tend not to be economical, the
benefits of EntroPay enable them to utilise a cost-effective method
of accepting micropayments, particularly for merchants in the
pay-per-use, download and paid-for digital content spaces.

EntroPay is based on a previous
incarnation, SmartPay, which is a stored-value account electronic
payment engine. SmartPay provides several ways of transferring
funds into prepaid accounts, including via online and physical
payment card, direct debit and bank transfers. SmartPay also
provides a range of spend options, including online Visa payment,
direct payment to merchant, P2P payment, and e-vouchers.

SmartPay is offered as either a
co-branded solution or a custom solution. Under the co-branded
option, Ixaris will customise elements of EntroPay but the
resulting solution must adhere to the basic EntroPay business
rules. Ixaris operates the back-end for the resulting solution, and
can also operate the user interface (eg website) and customer
service if requested.

The custom option is a bespoke or
white-label proposition. Ixaris develops the bespoke solution
around the SmartPay e-payment engine and also operates the back-end
for the delivered solution. Alternatively, Ixaris can offer a
software licence for the SmartPay engine to allow customers to
operate the solution themselves. With the custom option, Ixaris
enables EntroPay to be integrated with POS terminals, loyalty card
schemes, and in partnership with umbrella shopping sites.


Ambitious growth

Ixaris recently made a number of senior-level appointments in
preparation for the next phase of its development.

John Chaplin was recently appointed
as president, having already been an existing non-executive
director of the company. With more than 20 years’ experience at the
forefront of the payment card industry, Chaplin has previously
worked in senior positions at global payment processor First Data
and Visa, where he was executive vice-president in charge of its
processing business in Europe.

Chaplin has been brought on board
with the aim of further expanding the organisation and its
partnerships in the payment industry.

Ixaris uses multiple routes to
market for its electronic payment and transaction-based financial
services,” Chaplin said.

“I will lead the company’s
strategic alliances to ensure we capitalise on the surge in demand
for innovative solutions that enable organisations to derive
greater revenue online.”

The company has also made two new
senior management hires to take advantage of the buoyant prepaid
market and add to the team’s electronic payments expertise. As a
signal of its commitment to innovation, Ixaris has created a new
product director role for Patrick Abela and Kenneth Bonnici joins
the company as operations director.

Ixaris CEO Alex Mifsud said: “In
the last three years, Ixaris’ turnover through our virtual prepaid
solution has grown more than 500%. By diversifying our payment
products and with an imminent announcement about our long-term
strategy, Ixaris has forecast even bigger results for the end of
2010, as well as almost doubling its staff.

“With a strong senior management team in place, Ixaris is poised
to grow its partnerships with financial institutions and
corporations that want to gain a valuable revenue stream through
new online channels and prepaid products.”