Online payments gateway provider Payelp Global will provide its merchants with a payment option that will help customers without credit cards, or those in markets that don't accept credit cards, shop online with a virtual prepaid card.

The Woodland Hills, Calif.-based company will partner with Moscow-based Qiwi, an electronic and mobile money provider mostly in Eastern European countries, to provide the Qiwi Virtual Visa prepaid card worldwide, the companies announced last week.

The Qiwi card includes a CVV2 code for card-not-present purchases, giving consumers in cash-dominated markets or those who do not want to provide credit card information online an option for shopping online, the companies stated in a press release.

Consumers can fund the cards from a bank account online or through a mobile phone. They can use cash or another payment card to fund the account at one of Qiwi's 110,000 self-service payment kiosks in 16 countries. In the U.S., it has payment kiosks in California, Florida, Arizona and Texas, Payelp says in a press release.

Payelp merchants seeking the ability to sell products in markets where credit cards are not prevalent can offer the Qiwi Virtual Visa cards to customers and route the transactions through Payelp's gateway.

Payelp considers Qiwi, formed in 2004, the market leader for instant payments in Russia and the former Soviet Republic countries, and a company growing quickly with its expansion to 22 countries worldwide with the Qiwi digital wallet.

Payelp works with thousands of merchants worldwide and in the U.S. who want to provide customers with an effective way to pay for goods and services online if they live in countries or markets where credit cards are not the normal method of payment, Payelp CEO Albert Donahue said in a press release.

"The whole issue of prepaid cards is to tap into the unbanked or those people who want to preserve anonymity … but there is a growing market for secure ways to use prepaid cards online," says Maria Arminio, president of Avenue B Consulting Inc., a Redondo Beach, Calif.-based payments management consulting firm.

The fact that the Qiwi virtual card includes a CVV2 code helps from a security aspect, while also aiding in authentication of the cardholder, which is difficult to do in a prepaid environment, Arminio says.

"Many in the industry believe that EMV [chip-based smart card] has moved fraud from the physical point-of-sale world to the online world," Arminio says. "Visa wouldn't put its name on something it didn't feel was secure, so from that standpoint, this could be a helpful product."

Payelp Global did not respond to requests for comment by deadline.

A month ago, Payelp announced it was partnering with SafetyPay to allow merchants to accept crossborder transactions in customers' local currency.

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