Consumer Payment Card News


mc_2013_logosA lot! . . . . MasterCard, the second largest payment card brand, gave cardholders a broad mix of new services, products and exclusive partnerships. Among the new and improved stuff: Simplified E-Payments; Gas Rewards; Faster Prepaid Reloads; Hotel Deals; High Flying Airline Card; Shipping Perk; Payroll Card Standards; Healthcare Insurance Cards; Small Business Cross-Border Payments; and Digital Wallets. Here is the skinny on what MasterCard was up to in 2013:

VIRGIN CARD: During 2013, the Virgin Atlantic World Elite MasterCard was introduced that offers credit card rewards cardholders with three miles for every $1 spent on Virgin Atlantic purchases and 1.5 miles for all other purchases. The new card, issued by Bank of America, enables cardholders to earn miles every day that can be redeemed for rewards such as upgrades, Virgin Atlantic flights and partner flights with, for example, Delta Air Lines and Virgin America. Specific Flying Club miles earned through the card include: Three miles per $1 spent directly on Virgin Atlantic purchases; 1.5 miles per $1 spent on all other purchases; up to 40,000 bonus miles in the first year including: 20,000 bonus miles after first purchase; up to 15,000 annual bonus miles after every anniversary; up to 5,000 bonus miles for adding additional cardholders to existing accounts; and Tier points to help ascend or maintain Flying Club Silver or Gold status.

IHG CARD: MasterCard is bringing more perks to its cardhodlers in an exclusive deal with IHG. MasterCard named MasterCard as the exclusive co-branded card for IHG’s hotel loyalty rewards consumer credit card portfolio. IHG says it will expand loyalty initiatives and bring higher quality service to new and existing Priority Club Rewards member cardholders. IHG brands, including InterContinental Hotels & Resorts, Hotel Indigo, Crowne Plaza Hotels & Resorts, Holiday Inn Hotel & Resorts, Holiday Inn Express, Staybridge Suites and Candlewood Suites® as well as the Holiday Inn Resort® and InterContinental® Alliance Resorts brands in North America.

RAPID RELOADS: MasterCard is giving its cardholders more utility with MasterCard rePower-enabled prepaid cards to enable cardholders to reload their cards via the Walmart Rapid Reload service. Cardholders can add funds directly to their prepaid account by using cash or a pre-printed payroll or government check. Cashier-added funds will be available for use by MasterCard rePower-enabled cardholders within minutes. Walmart Rapid Reload utilizes the Green Dot Network. Green Dot now allows its cardholders to load funds to their prepaid cards at more than 4,000 Walmart stores that offer Walmart’s Rapid Reload service.

FUEL REWARDS: MasterCard became the exclusive payments partner of the Fuel Rewards Network program, a rewards program that helps consumers earn valuable savings and instantly reduce the price of gasoline at the pump. When FRN Members shop and dine with participating grocery stores, retailers, restaurants, Shell stations and nearly 700 online mall merchants, they can earn cents per gallon savings redeemable on their next fill-up. To date, Members have earned a national average of $.32 per gallon in savings. Members are also able to enroll their MasterCard cards in the program and gain additional rewards.

HOTEL PROMOTION: MasterCard teamed with The Leading Hotels of the World to provide MasterCard cardholders offers at participating hotels globally. It is the largest luxury hotel collection, with more than 430 of the world’s greatest properties in over 80 countries. All MasterCard cardholders have access to exclusive Leading Hotels of the World promotions. For example, cardholders booking a five-night stay through participating Leading Hotels of the World pay for four nights and receive the fifth night free. Leading Hotels is uniquely aligned with MasterCard’s Priceless Cities program to offer memorable travel experiences. MasterCard’s Priceless Cities program offers cardholders who sign up for the program access to handpicked experiences and offers not only in their home cities, but also in cities around the world.

FREE SHIPPING: During the 2013 holiday shopping season MasterCard launched irs Free Shipping by MasterCard perk. Cardholders simply go through the Free Shipping by MasterCard site, make a purchase with a MasterCard credit or debit card, email the order confirmation showing the 2-day shipping charge and receive a statement credit for the cost of two-day shipping up to $20 per order up to a maximum of $500 per 6-month subscription. Cardholders can upgrade the free shipping to a broader set of participating merchants through the premium service for an annual fee of $69 and enjoy credits of up to $20 per 2-day shipping charge and up to $1,500 per year at over two dozen additional brand-name participating merchants

PAYROLL CARDS: MasterCard is beefed-up payroll cards for employers and employees in 2013. New MasterCard payroll card standards require employers and payroll card providers to offer cardholders greater insight on how to access their pay through educational resources and increased transparency of any fees. Additionally, the standards ensure the employee has a fee-free way to access their pay and check available balances. The new standards will help ensure that employees not only understand the choices available, but allow them to take advantage of benefits like direct deposit, online shopping and bill payment that had not been traditionally available to them. All new MasterCard payroll card programs will need to meet these standards by July 1, 2014. Existing programs will have until October 1, 2014 to make any necessary adjustments.

HEALTH CARDS: In 2013 MasterCard became the preferred payment brand for Aetna’s card services. The MasterCard partnership applies to Aetna’s: Health Care Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA); Health Savings Accounts (HSA); Health Reimbursement Arrangements (HRA); and Prepaid stored value cards for dental, vision and disability payment services, such as the recently launched Aetna ValuePass card.

CROSS-BORDER PAYMENTS: MasterCard teamed with Western Union last year to help small and medium-sized businesses to more easily conduct cross-border trade. The new direct foreign exchange capability will be provided by Western Union Business Solutions, the business payments unit of the Western Union Company, and available to all companies that use the MasterCard Business Network, The new joint offering will feature benefits including: the ability to send international payments in over 135 currencies directly from their bank account to a foreign recipient’s bank account from a computer, tablet or mobile phone; real time quotes and transparent and competitive foreign exchange pricing; and dedicated customer service available 24X7.

EASY E-COMMERCE: In 2013 MasterCard reached out to U.S. merchants and developers with Simplify Commerce, a new product that makes it easy to accept e-commerce and mobile commerce payments, regardless of payment brand, in a matter of minutes. Merchants, especially those managing smaller businesses, do not always have the resources readily available to help them set up the payments acceptance portion of their sites. Simplify Commerce is the developer-friendly solution that gives merchants the power to accept electronic payments, which can lead to additional revenue and a larger customer base.

SIMPLIFIED COMMERCE: made MasterCard’s Simplify Commerce the payments provider for’s new ‘Take-a-Payment’ service last year. serves more than 3 million small business customers ranging from restaurants and retail shops to service providers such as consultants and plumbers, and more. The company has engaged Simplify Commerce to provide the merchant account and payments gateway for their ‘Take-a-Payment’ service, which is targeted at small business owners and non-profits who want to offer consumers the ability to pay invoices, pay service fees, or make donations via the web site at any time. Simplify Commerce, released by MasterCard earlier in early 2013, makes it easy to accept e-commerce and mobile commerce payments, regardless of payment brand, in a matter of minutes.

DIGITAL WALLET: J. Crew has adopted MasterCard’s digital wallet service last year to enable shoppers to use any payment card or enabled device to unlock a simplified and speedier checkout experience whether they’re at home, in a store or on the go. MasterPass shoppers can pay for the things they want with the security they demand, through the simple click of a mouse, touch of a tablet or tap of a smartphone. The wallet securely stores shoppers preferred payment and shipping information which is readily accessible when they click on the Buy with MasterPass button and log into their account. Cardholders can sign up at or by clicking on the ‘Buy with MasterPass’ button when checking out at


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