Singapore-based program manager EZ-Link Pte Ltd. launched the AmEx-branded general purpose reloadable (GPR) card with a mobile app that allows Singaporeans to scan images from their national identification documents as part of the registration process. At first glance, Yalamanchili's KYC feature seems to address a fraud issue occurring in Singapore.
But Ramkumar Sekar, President of the South East Asia & India Subcontinent at Yalamanchili, said card-present and card-not-present fraud in Singapore is minimal in comparison to other countries. "In the case of card-not-present, all transactions within Singapore are verified by Visa or 3D Secure with dynamic password," he noted. "The only cases of fraud reported in Singapore are when a card is used outside of the country, for example at an ATM, point of sale or e-commerce website."
Yalamanchili's KYC feature thus addresses another concern – how to increase card usage rates. When users fulfill the KYC requirement, the card spending limit is automatically extended to 1,000 Singapore dollars. KYC registration also enables unlimited reloads for users. But perhaps the greatest benefit of the KYC feature is that it creates a user authentication layer that reassures cardholders that cards will not be used fraudulently if they are lost or stolen. Yalamanchili believes this feature will translate into greater card usage.
"It's all very well to get a product in someone's hand, but if ultimately they don't reuse it, it's not fulfilling its potential," said Chris Ellis, Head of the European Region at Yalamanchili. "So essentially it can be an instant-issue product with zero KYC. Once you've got [the card] in the customer's hand, to get that customer to reuse and expand the limits on the card, you need an easy way for a cardholder to prove his identity."
Ellis noted that the KYC feature does help EZ-Link comply with global KYC and anti-money laundering regulations, but it also makes the Imagine card a value generator for EZ-Link and its consumers, as it transitions individuals from single-use prepaid products to a reusable, and hence more valuable, financial product. "I think that's what allows them value, brings value both ways, to the cardholder and to the issuer," he said.
EZ-Link, a subsidiary of Singapore's public transportation agency, the Land Transport Authority, manages Singapore's contactless mass transit payment system. EZ-Link issues, distributes and manages its GPR card programs. The transit cards double as general spending cards. EZ-Link said it had issued over 10 million GPR cards from 2002 to 2008 in the Southeast Asian city-state of over 5 million people.
Yalamanchili has been providing its prepaid card platform to EZ-Link since April 2009 and has supported the previous launches of the MasterCard Worldwide-branded FEVO and M1 cards in Singapore. The Mumbai, India-based firm provides services to clients in Southeast Asia, Africa, the Middle East, Europe, and in North and South America.
Yalamanchili both outsources and licenses its software. Ellis said Yalamanchili's market differentiators include the flexible nature of its next-generation platform. "The platform has the ability, if you like, to retrofit accounts to a product," he said. "In other words, if you launch a product with us now and you say, here's my general purpose spending card, you may then say in six months or a year down the road you want to offer another account for these cardholders."
Ellis said that secondary account could be another currency or a loyalty account. For government benefits administration, for example, Yalamanchili's platform allows for several different types of benefits to be available on one card.
Ellis remarked, "When you start realizing the propositions that you can create with one card accessing multiple accounts and different currencies – or it can be same the currency, different purpose – that becomes an incredibly flexible, incredibly powerful proposition to be able to launch into the marketplace."
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