Bloomberg News

MasterCard Teams With Western Union on Prepaid Cards, Transfers

November 29, 2011

Nov. 29 (Bloomberg) -- MasterCard Inc., the second-biggest payments network, will team up with Western Union Co. to offer prepaid debit cards and money transfers worldwide amid a continuing consumer shift from cash and checks to plastic.

The partnership makes Purchase, New York-based MasterCard the preferred global brand for prepaid cards sold by Western Union, the world’s biggest money-transfer business, the companies said today in a statement. It will let customers of Englewood, Colorado-based Western Union move funds directly to or from a MasterCard-branded credit, debit or prepaid card.

MasterCard Chief Executive Officer Ajay Banga, 52, and Western Union CEO Hikmet Ersek, 51, are marketing the products to 2.5 billion adults worldwide deemed underserved by mainstream financial services, according to the statement. The two firms already have collaborated to offer 1.2 million prepaid cards in the U.S., the CEOs said today during an interview in New York.

“The prepaid-card opportunity around the world is still underdeveloped,” Banga said. “That’s what I’m trying to do, get cards in the wallet instead of cash.”

MasterCard processed $2.05 trillion of credit- and debit- card purchases last year, compared with $3.27 trillion for larger rival Visa Inc., based in San Francisco, according to company data.

--Editors: Peter Eichenbaum, Dan Reichl

To contact the reporters on this story: Donal Griffin in New York at;

To contact the editor responsible for this story: David Scheer at

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