Battle of Britain’s Holiday Spending

Firms seek to win over cost-conscious holidaymakers with money-saving solutions and incentives

Rip-off deals and poor exchange rates are kick-starting a battle for Britain’s consumers’ travel money this summer, with payment providers creating cost-saving solutions to target the wallets of cost-conscious holidaymakers.

According to the Prepaid International Forum (PIF), the not-for-profit trade body representing the prepaid financial services sector, holidaymakers are facing a huge disparity in the cost of spending money abroad this summer with a growing range of payment methods and associated deals on offer.

A study* of the best and worst value options (based on exchange rates and fees) on the market showed a 19.5% difference on Euro spending (€96 for every £500 spent) and a17.5% difference for US Dollars ($92 for every £500 spent).

If this wasn’t motivation enough to shop around, the weak pound is contributing to rocketing costs in some popular destinations.  For example, the price of holiday spending in Nice, France for British visitors has increased by 38% in the last year according to the Post Office’s Holiday Costs Barometer report for 2017 reflecting the weakening Pound to Euro.

To ensure they aren’t suffering from poor deals and the after-effects of Brexit-influenced exchange rates, PIF’s experts are recommending that consumers shop around for the best deals and check the costs incurred when spending money abroad.

Alastair Graham, PIF spokesperson, comments, “In previous years consumers have absorbed the extra costs and fees levied on spending abroad, not wanting to spoil their holiday by counting the pennies.  However, worsening exchange rates and greater disparities in price between available options, means that this summer travellers are keen to cash-in on ways to save money

“Fees on domestic debit and credit cards when used abroad are a common bug bear, as are fluctuations in exchange rates which make it hard to be sure exactly what bill you’ll face on arriving home.  Cash is always an option, but increasingly travellers are aware of the security risk this presents.

“To provide an alternative, we are seeing innovation from prepaid providers that aim to appeal to consumers fed up with traditional, expensive solutions.”

Helping Reduce Costs for Consumers

Specialist payment providers such as, FairFX, offers the security of spending on a card (and so not carrying large sums of cash abroad) but without the accompanying high fees and extra charges.

A study carried out by FairFX reveals that the average fee to use your debit card and credit card abroad is 2.8% and 3.5% respectively. Switching to prepaid solutions avoids this charge and also means that consumers aren’t at the mercy of the exchange rate on the day you use it.  Instead FairFX allows you to preload a card at a fixed exchange rate (allowing you to pick the most favourable time to exchange).  This, combined with lower commission rates, can add up to considerable savings.

According to FairFX, such services also reflect how savvy consumers are choosing to exchange money.

James Hickman, CCO of FairFX says: “When the pound was stronger, consumers didn’t pay as much attention to the impact that exchange rates can have on holiday costs. However, in the last 18 months, and particularly since the Brexit referendum, there has been a significant change in focus. With poorer exchange rates against major currencies including the euro and the US dollar, consumers are getting less for their pound than they were two summers ago. 

“Planning ahead is key; one in 10 of us leave travel money until the last minute but this means you limit any control and are forced to accept whatever rate is available on the day. In the same way as you should book your travel insurance when you book your holiday, you should start planning your travel money at the same time – if not before. By monitoring exchange rates, many customers are now buying when the rates are at their strongest and get the biggest bang for your buck. If you don’t have time, the free FairFX travel money tracker will do this for you.”

Added benefits to tempt consumers

Providers are also adding additional benefits to holiday spending services to tempt consumers.

Research carried out by Tuxedo Money Solutions and Escape Travel Card, reveals that having holiday cash stolen is still a major concern for 70% of British holidaymakers.  Despite this fact, 54% still opt to carry large sums of cash to avoid banking fees and charges.

Rob Darby of Tuxedo Money Solutions says: “To provide a solution to this problem the Escape Travel Card programme, developed by Tuxedo Money Solutions, offers holidaymakers a safe and convenient way to carry money, while also eliminating the costly card fees on purchases made abroad.

“Holidaymakers can preload the card with up to £5,000 and if the card does happen to get lost or stolen it can be locked immediately with a single SMS text message, keeping valuable travel funds safe and sound until a new card can be delivered."

Another provider, Mastercard, is even throwing in access to over 1 million, free, global Wi-Fi hotspots to sweeten the deal for holidaymakers.  People signing up to its Platinum Prepaid Travel Card are signed up to Boingo Wi-Fi helping to keep them connected while abroad.

ENDS

Notes to Editors

* Source: Which? Best Travel Money Options – Best rates found for each type of spending. Based on exchange rates gathered on the same day on four consecutive weeks in February and March 2017.

About PIF

The Prepaid International Forum (PIF) is the not-for-profit trade association representing the prepaid financial services sector. Driven by a belief that prepayment is a responsible way to pay for goods and services, and that consumers should be confident in the security of prepaid products and the money that is stored on their behalf, PIF advocates for policies and standards that enhance and protect the use of prepaid as a payment solution. The PIF membership represents every aspect of the prepaid value chain, from providers of prepaid products and services to card schemes, payment processors and a variety of other businesses aligned to the sector. For further information visit www.prepaidforum.org

 

For further information

Rick Hollister
PR Agency One
T: 0161 871 9140
E: rick@pragencyone.co.uk

Steve Leigh
PR Agency One
T: 0161 871 9140
M: 07734 805 499
E: steve@pragencyone.co.uk

James Crawford
PR Agency One
T: 0161 871 9140
M: 07793 441 686
E: james@pragencyone.co.uk

Mastercard, Western Union Designing Digital Solutions for Refugees

Source: Paybefore -  Mastercard and Western Union have teamed up to help refugees around the world access goods, services and financial services within refugee settlements. Announced on June 20—World Refugee Day—the partnership will explore ways to use a digital model to serve the more than 65 million people around the world currently displaced from their homes due to political conflict and natural disasters.

The collaboration will aim to enable refugees, their host communities and donors to send and receive funds digitally, creating more transparency and long-term empowerment of refugees, according to Mastercard and Western Union.

Over the past year, the firms studied a pair of settlement camps in northwestern Kenya to examine the needs, challenges and opportunities for refugees and their host communities. The findings led to the development of Smart Communities: Using Digital Technology to Create Sustainable Refugee Economies, a blueprint designed to serve refugees by combining digital access to remittances, banking, education, health care and other basic needs in way that is “unified and trackable.”

The model emphasizes digital solutions including the delivery of mobile money, digital vouchers and prepaid cards, noted Maureen Sigliano, head of customer relationship management, Western Union. “The goal is to drive personal empowerment, stimulate growth and promote social cohesion among the world’s refugee populations, while driving better governance and transparency,” she said.

Both Mastercard and Western Union are founding members of the Tent Partnership for Refugees, a coalition of more than 70 companies committed to addressing the global refugee crisis. In 2016, Mastercard was named Pay Awards Change Agent of the Year for its Mastercard Aid Network, an end-to-end solution that streamlines humanitarian aid distribution by using debit cards preloaded with credits for physical goods such as food and medicine. Mastercard later expanded the aid network by combining it with the network’s money transfer and prepaid capabilities to offer other forms of aid, including digital cash and vouchers.

“The private sector is uniquely positioned to bring greater innovation and ingenuity to this crisis,” said Gideon Maltz, executive director of Tent. The Mastercard-Western Union initiative “reflects the contributions that companies can make when they identify problems, collaborate with each other, and work tirelessly to find and fund scalable solutions to fix them,” added Maltz.

2017 Pay Awards Results Announced

Today, June 14, Paybefore reveals the Best-in-Category winners in 21 categories and the two recipients of its highest individual recognition, Industry Achievement, for the 2017 Pay Awards.

The results are the combination of votes from the expert judging panels and the aggregated results of online voting for Best-in-Category. This year we had more than 33,000 votes cast by Paybefore.com visitors, which supported or swayed the outcome in five categories. Industry Achievement winners were selected by three past recipients of the award.

“Pay Awards has a long history of recognizing the best companies, programs, technologies and people in the world of prepaid, retail and loyalty, and payments technology,” said Loraine DeBonis, Paybefore’s Editor-in-Chief and chair of the judging panels. “In our 11th year, we are proud to celebrate the accomplishments of all 63 of our category winners and those that rose to the top of their respective categories. Our industry leaders have shown once again that ingenuity, collaboration and innovation continue to thrive. Thanks to all who participated in this year’s competition and congratulations to our winners.”

Our Best-in-Category and Industry Achievement winners will be profiled in the upcoming Pay Magazine – Awards Issue

allpay extends PayPoint contract

UK bill issuers will continue to have access to the largest retail network as part of the suite of digital payment solutions offered by payment specialist allpay, following the group’s contract extension with PayPoint.

allpay has signed a new five-year contract with the retail network and multichannel payments provider building on its 20-year relationship, and as such, it will remain at the heart of allpay’s over-the-counter bill payments offering to more than 800 public and private sector clients.

allpay has become the network’s biggest reseller and in the last year has signed more than 40 new local authority and housing associations – providing citizens with access to nearly 30,000 outlets to pay their bills.

Cash payments now represent just under half of the £6 billion allpay collects for clients annually from more than 60 million transactions.

allpay’s managing director Tony Killeen, said that while the UK’s payment habits were changing, large cross sections of society still prefer to budget and pay bills in cash. In housing and local government, welfare reforms such as Universal Credit and the localisation of council tax benefit has required some people to pay a bill for the first time - with a large proportion in the sector preferring to budget and pay their bills in cash.

Killeen continued: “PayPoint continues to play a key part in our payments offering and with nearly 30,000 UK outlets, provides both choice and convenience to UK bill payers, with most open long hours and seven days a week. As such, the business case for local authorities and housing associations utilising the network through our solution remains a cost-effective way of reducing income collection costs.

“The launch of its new platform, PayPoint One, – which is being rolled out across the country – is a great example of the investment it is making to provide a fast in-store customer experience that meets the demands of modern day consumers.

“We are looking forward to continuing our relationship and continuing to cater for the needs of all bill payers – and our ability to provide access to the PayPoint network is a key part of that.”

Lewis Alcraft, commercial director at PayPoint said: “We’re pleased to be extending our relationship with allpay who remain a key strategic partner for us. We look forward to working with them over the course of the new contract.” 

Wirecard collaborates with London-based FinTech Soldo to launch innovative Corporate App

Wirecard issues Corporate Expense Prepaid Mastercard as part of a real time account that includes an employee app and management dashboard

Aschheim (Munich)/Newcastle. Wirecard Card Solutions (WDCS), a subsidiary of Wirecard AG, today announces its latest collaboration with Soldo, a London-based FinTech, to provide its Corporate Expense Prepaid Mastercard. This solution is part of Soldo’s multi-user spending account for businesses which can now take advantage of multiple Mastercard cards for use by employees, collaborators or company departments alongside an intuitive app and a sophisticated Admin Dashboard that allows a high degree of control. Soldo, which successfully launched its multi-user spending account for families last year, now brings the Corporate Expense prepaid Mastercard to the UK and Italian markets, targeting small to medium sized enterprises (SME), with the aim of making cash and expenditure management effortless and increasing company productivity as a result.

Soldo’s Corporate Expense programme helps businesses manage their money better by giving more control over fund distribution across the company. Cardholders get notifications about spending in real time, enabling them to handle, manage and share money more efficiently. Soldo offers a safeguarding feature for all cards, allowing users to enable or disable online transactions, cash withdrawals, and oversea transactions with the single tap of an app.

“Soldo is simplifying spending with an intelligent account that will put an end to the painful process of cash advances, make bookkeeping effortless and automate receipt tracking. It’s the first Business Spending account of its kind in the UK and Italy, giving financial autonomy to employees and departments while allowing the account holder to retain control via a management dashboard that ensures peace of mind with enhanced security. We are very proud to launch this innovative product together with Wirecard,” said Carlo Gualandri, Founder & CEO of Soldo.

Tom Jennings, Managing Director of Wirecard card Solutions said, “Soldo have streamlined the process of managing expenditure with this simple and straight forward solution for corporates.  Italy is a mature market for prepaid where the payment method is widely accepted and prepaid users represent the mass market.  Wirecard are delighted to partner with Soldo to develop a solution that helps firms in Italy and the UK take better control of their spending.” 

The Soldo Corporate Expense Mastercard, is a general spend reloadable Mastercard product. The WDCS issued prepaid card will be linked to an account, which is operated under Soldo’s own e-money licence.  The programme is being rolled out in both GBP and EUR initially.

Wirecard Card Solutions is the leading issuer of innovative digitized prepaid cards in Europe. Around the prepaid cards, the company has built an innovative ecosystem of digital services that covers an end-to-end infrastructure for state-of-the-art payment apps.  With over 300 live programmes and 3 million cards across various prepaid propositions to issue plastic and digital prepaid products including travel, GPR, gift, corporate and youth. The UK-based Company is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and operates under its Electronic Money license with permissions to issue cards throughout the SEPA region. Wirecard Card Solutions accompanies its’ clients throughout all stages of their business development and offers a vast array of products, services and experience needed to take a new a prepaid card programme to market.

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Netspend and United Airlines Launch MileagePlus GO Visa Prepaid Card in U.S.

Netspend and United Airlines Launch MileagePlus GO Visa Prepaid Card in U.S.

MileagePlus GO Visa Prepaid Card will be the first prepaid card in the U.S. offering a consumer the opportunity to directly earn miles for qualifying purchases made with a prepaid card

AUSTIN, Texas, May 23, 2017 — Prepaid card provider Netspend, a TSYS Company (NYSE: TSS), and United Airlines (NYSE: UAL) announced the launch of the MileagePlus GO Visa Prepaid Card, the first prepaid card program in the U.S. offering a consumer the opportunity to directly earn miles for qualifying purchases made with a prepaid card.

The card will be available summer 2017 and will reward cardholder spending with award miles that can be redeemed through United’s MileagePlus loyalty program, consistently voted the world’s Best Frequent Flyer Program by Global Traveler magazine.

“The market for prepaid continues to expand. Our new MileagePlus GO Visa Prepaid Card will attract frequent flyers who may not know much about prepaid cards but have an affinity to United’s MileagePlus program and are looking for new ways to earn miles,” said Netspend president Chuck Harris. “We are also eager to offer the opportunity to earn airline miles to consumers who are looking for new financial solutions to help them manage their money. Several of our prepaid cards offer a loyalty component, but no other prepaid card in the U.S. offers the ability to directly earn miles through a major airline. We’re excited to reach out to this consumer with a great partner like United Airlines.”

"With the MileagePlus GO Visa Prepaid Card, we are providing another avenue for customers to earn MileagePlus miles,” said Praveen Sharma, vice president, Loyalty, at United. “Through MileagePlus, we offer customers a variety of ways to both earn and use their miles — from flights in United’s global network to once-in-a-lifetime experiences.”

Travelers will be able to order a MileagePlus GO Visa Prepaid Card online using their active MileagePlus account number. The new card will carry the Visa logo and will be issued by Republic Bank. The card account will be FDIC-insured on a pass through basis and offers electronic anytime alerts to help cardholders monitor spending. For more information about the MileagePlus GO Visa Prepaid Card, please visit www.mileageplusgo.com.

“By partnering with United and Netspend, Visa is helping broaden access to payments for more customers,” said David Josephs, head of North American debit and prepaid solutions at Visa. “Together, we are continuing to innovate and develop new payment products that meet evolving customer needs.”

General purpose reloadable prepaid cards allow consumers to access the benefits of digital commerce, enabling them to make payments in mobile applications or online and to withdraw cash from ATMs without opening a traditional bank account or credit card account. According to Mercator Advisory Group, the prepaid market has grown from less than $1 billion in 2003 to nearly $96.8 billion in 2015. The total dollar value loaded onto these prepaid cards is expected to reach $112 billion by 2018.

About Netspend, a TSYS Company
Netspend is the prepaid provider of choice to self-banked consumers and the brands that serve them. With a mission to empower consumers with the convenience, security and freedom to be self-banked, Netspend’s products have helped over 10 million consumers spend, budget and pay bills since 1999. Consumers can reload and find Netspend Prepaid Cards at convenient locations nationwide through Netspend’s extensive network of 130,000 reload points and more than 100,000 distributing locations and employers, including check cashers, convenience stores, grocers, pharmacies, insurance providers and tax preparers. Headquartered in Austin, Texas, Netspend is a wholly owned subsidiary of TSYS (NYSE: TSS). For more information, please visit www.netspend.com.

About United
United Airlines and United Express operate more than 4,500 flights a day to more than 335 airports across five continents. In 2016, United and United Express operated more than 1.6 million flights carrying more than 143 million customers. United is proud to have the world's most comprehensive route network, including U.S. mainland hubs in Chicago, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles, New York/Newark, San Francisco and Washington, D.C. United operates 737 mainline aircraft and the airline's United Express carriers operate 483 regional aircraft. The airline is a founding member of Star Alliance, which provides service to 192 countries via 28 member airlines. For more information, visit united.com, follow @United on Twitter or connect on Facebook. The common stock of United's parent, United Continental Holdings, Inc., is traded on the NYSE under the symbol "UAL".
###

Contacts:

Adam Dawes
Netspend Communications
+1.512.682.3939
adawes@netspend.com

Cyle Mims
TSYS Media Relations
+1.706.644.3110
cylemims@tsys.com

Shawn Roberts
TSYS Investor Relations
+1.706.644.6081
shawnroberts@tsys.com

Prepaid Innovation Gets Fresh Attention

PIF Innovation Day: Fast-Growing Prepaid Market Offers Rewards, Risks

Source: Paybefore

New growth estimates for prepaid are encouraging to say the least, but providers gathering in London for the Prepaid International Forum’s annual Innovation Day said the industry must remain focused on compliance and the customer proposition to safeguard its success. An official with the PIF, a not-for-profit body representing the prepaid financial services sector, explains why.  Click here for the full article.

Prepaid International Forum announces eleventh AGM & Summit

The Prepaid International Forum (PIF), the not-for-profit trade body representing the prepaid financial services sector, has announced details of the PIF AGM and Summit 2017.

Now in its eleventh year, the event has become established as a leading destination for high-level networking, discussion and debate on the hot topics in global prepaid. It brings together leading industry organisations and key regulatory officials to discuss the future for this dynamic and evolving payment sector from a business innovation and regulatory perspective.

Attendees will hear from prepaid industry pioneers, the businesses innovating for the future and the companies executing new approaches that are transforming the way we pay.

When

Wednesday, 20 September
14:00-17:00 PIF AGM 2017 (members only)
19:00-22:30 PIF Annual Reception & Dinner

Thursday, 21 September
09:30-17:00 PIF Summit 2017

Where

Since 2009, the AGM and annual conference has been held at retreats within an hour of central London. This year we are heading to Lainston House, a 17th century William and Mary country house just two miles outside the ancient Cathedral City of Winchester and just 55 minutes by train from central London.

PIF Members can attend the event free of charge (3 places per member organisation) and non-members can register online to take advantage of the early bird rate of £197.50 +VAT up to 30 July.

For further information on speaking at or sponsoring this event please contact info@prepaidforum.org

 

Prepaid International Forum announces third Innovation Day

The future of banking and new technology take centre stage for industry forum

The Prepaid International Forum (PIF) has announced the details of its annual Innovation Day on 11th May 2017 to be held in central London.

The event which is in its third year, was created to highlight how the latest innovations in the prepaid sector are fuelling its growth as an effective and fast-growing alternative to traditional financial services products.

The one day event provides an opportunity to hear from businesses who are leveraging the agility of prepaid technology to deliver products that offer consumers greater flexibility, better security and more choice.

Centre-stage on the day will be presentations from innovators in the financial services space showcasing how the prepaid industry is presenting very credible alternatives to services currently offered by high street banks, using innovation to better serve customers, particularly in the area of meeting the needs of specific groups of consumers.

Also highlighted during the day will be the latest technological advances, such as harnessing big data tools and the use of mobile apps to make prepaid services smarter and more valuable.

Confirmed guest speakers on the day include; Carlo Gualandri, CEO, Soldo, a multi-user family spending account, Will White, Operations Director, Loot, a digital-only spending account, Laurence Krieger, COO, Tide, a current account provider for small businesses, Jacob Claflin, Founder & CEO, Cambrist, an international foreign exchange card payment service, Melanie Maier, Team Lead Project Management Value Added Services, Wirecard AG, Brandon Trollip, Director of Digital Business Development, Mastercard and David Pope, Marketing Director of HooYu, a global identity confirmation service.

Alastair Graham, PIF spokesperson, comments, “Through the use of new technology, the prepaid industry has been able to continually innovate over the last 12 months, ensuring that consumer needs are met and in line with 21st century spending behaviour. This exciting movement offers both consumers and vendors more flexibility, allowing greater choice for all involved.”

The event will run from 9.30am to 5pm on 11th May at The Ned, London and has been designed for professionals in prepaid related industries who are responsible for product development, payments strategy and product sales and marketing.

The event is free of charge for PIF members (for up to three attendees) and £395 for non-members. People who are interested can register online or contact Diane Brocklebank via email diane.brocklebank@prepaidforum.org or phone +44 (0) 7736 971986.

Sponsors of the event include Wirecard Card Solutions and HooYu

HooYu, is a global identity confirmation service that verifies the customers businesses struggle to approve with traditional processes, helping prepaid businesses stay secure. Offering a new approach to the age-old challenge of identity verification, HooYu enables prepaid businesses to reduce account opening abandonment and comply with AML regulations.

Wirecard AG is a global technology group that supports companies in accepting electronic payments from all sales channels. As a leading independent supplier, the Wirecard Group offers outsourcing and white label solutions for electronic payments. A global platform bundles international payment acceptances and methods with supplementary fraud prevention solutions. With regard to issuing own payment instruments in the form of cards or mobile payment solutions, the Wirecard Group provides companies with an end-to-end infrastructure, including the requisite licences for card and account products.

Wirecard AG is listed on the Frankfurt Securities Exchange (TecDAX, ISIN DE0007472060, WDI).

For further information about Wirecard, please visit www.wirecard.com  or follow us on twitter @wirecard

ENDS

Notes to Editors

About PIF

PIF is a global not-for-profit trade association established in 2007 to represent organisations involved in the supply of prepaid products and services. PIF acts as principal point of liaison between the industry and government agencies, regulators, consumer bodies and the media to promote the relevance and benefits of prepaid and e-money products.  PIF is dedicated to the progression of the industry and acts as a catalyst for the development of sensible industry guidelines and codes of best practice. PIF members represent issuers of prepaid and e-money products, card schemes, payment processors and suppliers of services to the industry. To learn more about PIF visit www.prepaidforum.org

For further information

Rick Hollister
PR Agency One
T: 0161 871 9140
E: rick@pragencyone.co.uk

 

Steve Leigh
PR Agency One
T: 0161 871 9140
M: 07734 805 499
E: steve@pragencyone.co.uk

 

James Crawford
PR Agency One
T: 0161 871 9140
M: 07793 441 686
E: james@pragencyone.co.uk