MasterCard Continues APMEA Prepaid Push with Japan Pact (May 8, 2014)
With the Asia-Pacific, Middle East and Africa (APMEA) region among MasterCard’s strongest prepaid growth markets, the payment network is launching a new prepaid card program in Japan that has the potential to reach 34 million customers. MasterCard is partnering with Japanese mobile operator KDDI to launch the au WALLET card, which will be offered to customers of KDDI’s au mobile network, beginning May 21. The card is reloadable at au shops or online and features a rewards program that lets users earn points for purchases, which can be redeemed when paying their mobile bills or for other discounts.
The deal with KDDI is in line with MasterCard’s strategy of striking local and regional partnerships to expand its global prepaid footprint. The payment network previously has taken that tack in Nigeria, where it joined with the country’s government to issue 13 million National Identity Cards equipped with a prepaid function. In India, MasterCard issued a mobile companion prepaid card with Beam Money and was part of a joint effort with the Central Bank of India and the State Government of Chhattisgarh to launch a student prepaid card for scholarship funds distribution. Those and other initiatives in APMEA markets have helped boost MasterCard’s prepaid business to the tune of 40 percent growth in the region, according a recent report from the network.
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