MasterCard has partnered with the PSP CQR Payments Solutions to roll out rePower in Europe. This service enables MasterCard prepaid cardholders to reload their means of payment with cash at partner retail outlets. They may choose from two available options:
Purchase Ukash coupons in cash and redeem them online (as of October/November 2012 at mastercardrepower.com),
Top-up in-store with cash; the merchant inserts the card in his POS device to credit the amount.
CQR provides a full range of acquiring, processing and customer services as well as a dedicated online portal.
MasterCard provides a rePower software package designed for retail outlets.
Source: MasterCard press release
According to a study conducted this year on behalf of MasterCard, the
European prepaid market should be worth 149 billion dollars by 2017:
this forecast accounts for the card network’s interest. For now, this
highly fragmented sector mostly relies on issuers benefiting from direct
contracts with merchants or betting on dedicated reloading service
In the meantime, in the US, MasterCard partners with
Western Union to leverage its reloading network: all MasterCard repower
cardholders, regardless of their bank, can then use one off the 45,000
US Western Union agents to credit their card balance. Through this
agreement, MasterCard now disposes of a network of 100,000 reloading
locations throughout the country. In this context, the card network
insists on the part to be played by prepaid solution in fighting banking
exclusion of the most fragile populations. To this respect, the FDIC
has just released its 2011 FDIC National Survey of Unbanked and
Underbanked Households, noting that 8.2% of the American households are
unbanked (1 in 12) and 20.1% are underbanked (1 in 5).