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MasterCard works with Altair Financial for UK Prepaid MasterCard PayPass Trial

Altair Financial Services , 04 SEPTEMBER 2007


LONDON: Altair Financial Services International Plc (Altair), leading prepaid card service provider and transaction processing company are participating in the introduction of the UK’s first MasterCard PayPass™ contactless payments programme, which begins in London this September.

John Bushby, General Manager, MasterCard Northern Europe, said, “Using MasterCard PayPass, cardholders will be able to simply ‘tap’ their new MasterCard PayPass card on aPayPass reader to make a purchase at all participating retailers. Cardholders can complete low value purchases under £10 quickly, securely and easily, with no need to fumble for cash and coins, enter a PIN or sign a receipt. For added security, larger purchases may require a PIN or signature.” Following the initial rollout, the new generation of MasterCard PayPass card will be powered by the latest version of MasterCard's chip technology, M/Chip 4.

The PayPass rollout in London will form part of a larger Europe-wide rollout of the innovative and market-leading Tap & Go™ technology. PayPass has enjoyed great success globally, with 16 million cards in issue for use at more than 56,000 merchants in 19 countries.

Along with other market innovations such as mobile payments systems using WAP, SMS and Java, contactless technology is another significant addition to Altair’s existing portfolio.

Altair CEO, Lee Britton comments, "We are excited to be working with MasterCard to provide this turnkey solution to the UK market. We envisage that PayPass will have a profound effect on the way low-value purchases are made in the UK, which will affect both retailers and cardholders alike. For consumers, PayPass will save time and reduce the risks of cash handling, while retailers will benefit from quicker purchases.

“Vendors and banking institutions see contactless payment solutions such as PayPass as the latest opportunity to show innovation in payments , while providing a better service to their customer. The PayPass solution is ideal for quick payment environments where speed is essential, such as fast-food restaurants, petrol stations, drug stores, supermarkets, cinemas and theatres.”

“We expect the telecom industry to significantly benefit from prepaid payments products utilising contactless and Near Field Communication devices. ABI Research recently predicted that by 2012, around 292m handsets (over 20%) of the global mobile handset market will ship with built in Near Field Communication capabilities,” Britton said.

Symmetrex, Inc., leading US transaction processor and Altair subsidiary, recently announced its certification to process MasterCard PayPass transactions in Europe. The certification ensures that all PayPass transactions are processed with all the technical requirements of the MasterCard PayPass specification. Symmetrex, Inc. can now process the full range of transaction types, including PayPass, magnetic stripe-based payments and Chip and PIN based payments.

About Altair Financial Services International Plc Altair Financial Services International Plc was incorporated in 2005 as a global provider of Prepaid Card solutions with enhanced functionality. Altair acquired established transaction processing company, Symmetrex, Inc. in March 2007. Altair is headquartered in London with banking and processing relationships in UK, USA, Asia Pacific and throughout the Latin America and Caribbean regions and issues on behalf of MasterCard® and Visa. Altair’s solutions are designed to be flexible enough to provide companies with almost any type of prepaid card functionality, including open and closed loop programs. Through its relationship with MasterCard® all Altair cards issued in Europe are based on Chip & PIN technology and are EMV standards compliant. For more information, visit

About MasterCard PayPass and Maestro PayPass

PayPass is MasterCard’s ‘contactless’ payment feature, which provides consumers with a fast and convenient alternative to cash for their everyday small purchases, such as public transport tickets, coffee, sandwiches or fast food, petrol and others. It can be added to any MasterCard credit, debit or prepaid card, or to a Maestro debit card. PayPass allows merchants to function more efficiently and serve their customers better. PayPass speeds consumers through the check-out process, reduces cash handling, improves efficiency and provides competitive differentiation.

About MasterCard Europe

MasterCard Europe is the entity responsible for managing MasterCard Worldwide’s business in Europe, for Europe. With headquarters in Waterloo, Belgium, MasterCard Europe works with 51 European countries organized administratively into three customer areas, incorporating the Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA), mature markets and the developing markets of Europe, stretching as far afield as the eastern border of Russia. Through its network of local offices, MasterCard Europe can understand and meet the diverse needs of customers in the very different types of markets throughout Europe, enabling people to do business in their own way in their own language.

Through MasterCard Worldwide, MasterCard Europe offers its European customers and consumers access to leading payment services throughout the world. MasterCard Worldwide advances global commerce by providing a critical economic link among financial institutions, businesses, cardholders and merchants worldwide. As a franchisor, processor and advisor, MasterCard develops and markets payment solutions, processes over 16 billion transactions each year, and provides industry-leading analysis and consulting services to financial institution customers and merchants. Through its family of brands, including MasterCard®, Maestro® and Cirrus®, MasterCard serves consumers and businesses in more than 210 countries and territories.

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