Mastercard partners with CleverCards, EML to launch direct-to-mobile card

Mastercard is partnering with issuer processor EML and technology startup CleverCards to allow any business to send digital Mastercard payment cards directly to an employee’s or customer’s mobile wallet by SMS/text, email or any messaging app such as WhatsApp.

Brisbane, Australia-based EML which currently provides issuing solutions for payouts, gifts, incentives, rewards and supplier payments, will be using its e-money license from Ireland to integrate with CleverCards’ Platform-as-a-Service solution to issue the cards. Mastercard will be providing the tokenization for the new digital cards that can be delivered directly to a mobile wallet, rendering physical cards unnecessary.

“This is money reimagined for businesses and consumers. We are delighted to have partnered with CleverCards and EML to offer businesses the option to pay anyone, anywhere, anytime instantly, while delivering the highest standards of payment safety, security and regulatory compliance,” Scott Abrahams, senior vice president of business development and fintech at Mastercard said in a press release.

In November EML expanded from its base in Australia to Europe through an acquisition of one of Europe’s largest e-money issuers, Prepaid Financial Services for a cost of £226 million (about $290 million). The Mastercard deal is the first expansion by EML using its new European acquisition. In January 2019, Prepaid Financial Services acquired Barclays' U.K. prepaid card portfolio and migrated it to its own infrastructure giving the business significant volume.

EML currently manages more than 1,500 card programs across 24 countries in North America, Europe and Australia. EML issues mobile, virtual and physical cards for programs serving large global corporate brands and claims to have processed billions of dollars in payments each year.

CleverCards which also utilizes the brand CleverGift currently operates in 28 countries across Europe and has raised over $8.5 million in capital over three funding rounds according to Crunchbase, a website that tracks investments in private companies.

Mastercard also designed a "digital first, physical optional" platform for the Apple Card, which launched in 2019.

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