Ukash’s drive to expand in Latin America has
been hit by a bungled soft-launch of its prepaid internet voucher
product in Brazil.

eBizznet, its issuing partner in the country,
has been forced to stop issuing Ukash vouchers after technical
difficulties meant it could not provide vouchers of the
correct value. The company, based in London, posted a
notification on its website advising that its services are no
longer valid in Brazil until further notice.

After partnering with local Brazilian banks
and companies to soft-launch the availability of Ukash vouchers in
the country in April,  Patrick Guevens,
managing director of eBizznet, told EPI that its Brazilian
partners’ technology was not up to the standards expected.

“We had a previous agreement with a particular
company and soft-launched the service in Brazil via bank payments,”
said Guevens.

“Unfortunately, due to bank notification
delays and a lack of technology integration options of our
Brazilian partner, we had to stop this service. As we have ceased
activity, we wouldn’t like to name our partner. We have learnt from
this experience and are now looking at new issuing options in
Brazil.”

Specifically, Guevens said that its Brazilian
partner lacked an automated system which impacted on communication
between consumers and eBizznet. Paul Coxhill, marketing director
for Ukash advised EPI that as it was a low-key launch to
test the market in Brazil, Ukash doesn’t foresee any risk to the
brand following the halt of eBizznet’s services in Brazil.

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“eBizznet has told us that the launch in
Brazil was successful and that the demand for Ukash vouchers was
high,” said Coxhill. “A few problems need to be ironed out in order
for its services to run more efficiently and we expect it to push
forward with new partners in the near future.”

Gueven said eBizznet is currently looking for
another Brazilian partner to drive Ukash issuance on a larger scale
in Brazil but couldn’t give any indication of when the availability
of Ukash vouchers was likely to recommence. Coxhill reconfirmed the
news would not affect Ukash’s recent launch in Colombia, where it
is also working with eBizznet.

It signed a deal with Titan, a money and
transfer exchange company, through eBizznet enabling consumers in
Columbia to purchase Ukash vouchers in Titan offices in
denominations of EUR5 – EUR500. Once a 19-digit code has been
obtained from Ukash the consumer is free to shop, pay and play
online using the vouchers.

“As the e-commerce market in Latin America is
growing, Ukash has been expanding its business, aiming to provide
the huge potential consumer base there with a more streamlined and
easy to use alternative payment method,” said Coxhill.

“We expect to roll out our cash payment system
in more points of sale across the country and make Ukash available
across more countries in Latin America in the coming weeks and
months.”

Titan and eBizznet are looking to further
expand the Ukash issuing network in Colombia through the
recruitment of independent top-up agencies. Ukash is available at
more than 420,000 physical issuing points and spans 32
countries.