MasterCard Worldwide and France-based Accor Services  have established a company that will focus on prepaid cards and payments in Europe, spokespeople from both firms tell CardLine Global. MasterCard will own 33% of the company, PrePay Solutions. Accor will own the rest. The venture will sell prepaid card services to corporations, public agencies, retailers and financial institutions, with MasterCard concentrating on offering prepaid cards to banks. Accor already operates PrePay Technologies, a subsidiary based in the United Kingdom that has helped issue 20 million prepaid cards and has electronic-money licenses in 17 European countries. Accor acquired the UK firm in 2007. "Prepaid is the fastest-growing sector in the payments industry," Javier Perez, president of MasterCard, said in a statement Tuesday. MasterCard and Accor estimate the value of the European prepaid market to be at least 130 billion euros (US$168.1 billion).

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