Ukash is continuing its relentless global expansion with a new deal this week that sees it access the North American market for the first time. The company recently signed an agreement with Russia's Wallet One (see previous InfoPowa report).
The Internet cash voucher provider will enter the Canadian market through a partnership with VendTek Systems Inc under that company's Now Prepay brand. The deal will mean that Ukash will be immediately available from 4 000 point of sale terminals in Ontario, with plans well in hand for an expansion into a total of 15 000 outlets across Canada by the end of the year.
The company notes that the North American market potential is considerable, with over 70 million unbanked consumers. Canadians alone placed almost $12.8 billion worth of orders online in 2007, and the need for a range of alternative payment solutions to support consumers presents a substantial opportunity for Ukash and its partners.
2009 has been a remarkable year for the payment facilitator, which has extended its international footprint into Australia, South Africa and South America in addition to expansion throughout the UK and Europe.
The company appears to have successfully tapped in to a deep well of Internet users who want easy, controlled and anonymous online cash payment facilities - including those without credit or debit cards - from anywhere in the world.
Ukash CEO Mark Chirnside says: "North America is a territory with huge potential for the Ukash proposition. High rates of unbanked consumers at this time, largely due to poor credit history and immigrants unable to get bank accounts, means that there is a growing number of cash consumers who want to spend online.
"Canada is a key territory for the Ukash proposition and working with Now Prepay will give us the prominence needed to expand our availability across Canada before launching in other countries across the Americas."
Doug Buchanan, President of VendTek said,"Ukash offers an electronic cash payment source and an important solution for people who are looking for an alternative to credit cards. We have been interested in an on-line payment product for our network and Ukash has an e-commerce payment solution that is an excellent fit with our network. We are very excited to partner with them to enable money transfer services over the Now Prepay network in Canada."
Ukash vouchers allow consumers to shop, pay and play online using cash, and will be available from thousands of point of sale terminals across Canada including independent convenience stores and gas stations. Vouchers will be available in 25, 50, 75, 100, 150 denominations of Canadian dollars. Ukash is particularly popular with consumers who do not have access to credit and debit cards or those that are fearful of online fraud. Users receive a voucher containing a 19-digit code which can be used to pay at thousands of online merchants.
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