The online payment company Ukash has signed a deal with MasterCard to facilitate the launch of its pioneering MasterCard rePower service in Europe - part of a strategic initiative to allow consumers to load cash onto their MasterCard and Maestro prepaid cards at Point-of-Sale (POS) locations.

Ukash, which is based in the UK and is regulated by the Financial Services Authority (FSA), is partnering with MasterCard to enable rapid scale delivery of MasterCard rePower across Europe. Ukash has an existing global network of 275 000 physical issuing points and its track record within the alternative payments industry is second to none; Ukash currently processes several million transactions annually with values in excess of Euro 100 million.

To load money using MasterCard rePower, consumers simply swipe their card and in exchange for cash, their card is loaded with funds. Ukash will enable this service to be delivered across the UK initially and then across Europe via existing partners. The value of the transaction is immediately available for the consumer to spend anywhere that accepts MasterCard.

Ukash says the benefits to the consumer include:

* A real-time process, providing immediate access to funds

* More reload locations

* Trust and security of the MasterCard brand

* Safer than carrying cash

Mark Chirnside, chief executive officer Ukash, commented: “Partnering with MasterCard for the launch of Mastercard rePower is a very significant step for Ukash. It is one of several markers that Ukash is now a major player in the global prepaid industry, with our rate of growth in volume and geography both moving at significant pace.

"It also demonstrates the growing popularity of prepaid products as a viable alternative for consumers. This is symptomatic of a shift in consumer behaviour as more of the public look to find safe and secure ways to shop online while maintaining control of their spending. Increasingly, they are turning to Ukash to provide the answers.”

In addition, Ukash is working with prepaid partners to offer voucher-based reloads as a value added, complementary service to its customers, which will provide users with a greater level of choice and flexibility when loading prepaid cards.

In September 2008 Ukash received significant additional funding from South African giant Blue Label Telecoms, a corporate part-owned by Microsoft, which acted as a catalyst in the company’s international expansion. Ukash has signed major deals with international partners which has seen the company treble in size over the last 12 months, and by 2010 it will be issuing Ukash vouchers across all five continents.

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