MasterCard plans prepaid travel card

MasterCard Worldwide
has announced the launch of a prepaid reloadable travel card with travel
industry data and financial solution provider Airlines Reporting
The MasterCard Travel Card, which is available through ARC’s network
of more than 20,000 U.S. travel agent locations, features MasterCard
PayPass(R) functionality in addition to the traditional magnetic stripe. It
is the first prepaid travel card offering in the U.S. to be equipped with
contactless technology, a sign of the continued advancement of the category
in the face of increased cardholder demand.

  “The new MasterCard Travel Card offers the utmost convenience to
travelers with a sleek, secure and widely accepted payment card that can be
used at more than 25 million locations in more than 210 countries,” said
Bill Mathis, Executive Vice President, Relationship Management, MasterCard
Worldwide. “Travelers no longer need to fumble through foreign currency or
carry bulky travelers cheques. Instead, they can simply swipe or Tap & Go
and be on their way.”

  The MasterCard Travel Card is ideally suited to both domestic and
global travelers with a wide range of benefits, including emergency
traveler assistance, lost luggage insurance, purchase assurance and zero
liability protection for unauthorized transactions in the event the card is
lost or stolen. Additionally, cardholders can obtain local currency at any
of the more than 1 million ATMs in the MasterCard(R) ATM Network.

  “The combination of MasterCard’s unsurpassed global network and ARC’s
team of affiliated travel agents and global base of airlines and railways
makes this offering a terrific solution for travelers looking for a
convenient and cost-effective way to pay anywhere in the world,” said Chuck
Fischer, Director, Business Development & Payment Systems Solutions,
Industry Products & Services, ARC. “There is an obvious synergy between
MasterCard Worldwide and ARC—a global leader in travel industry
settlement—that will enable us to deliver to consumers a more efficient
travel experience that benefits all parties involved.”

  The agreement between MasterCard and ARC is a move to meet the growing
demand for prepaid travel cards. The travel card market in North America is
estimated to grow to nearly $9 billion in gross dollar volume by 2010,
according to Independent Research commissioned by MasterCard Worldwide,
April 2007.
  The MasterCard Travel Card is being launched in connection with a
relationship with SSB Payment Systems and is available to consumers through
ARC’s 20,000 accredited U.S. travel agency locations