Thames Card Technology Ltd. is providing the plastic payment card production for startup "challenger bank" Mondo in the U.K. to test a debit card paired with a mobile banking app.

Mondo offers a contactless debit card that will feature notifications, instant balance updates and financial management tools.

The first 2,000 alpha-cards are already in circulation working with the Mondo app, and the companies expect another 4,000 to be commissioned over the next two months.

Thames executives view the combination of mobile apps and a contactless card as key elements for the "new" banks to make headway in the payments landscape.

Mondo, seeking to become one of the U.K.'s first mobile-centric banks, chose Thames, a manufacturer of secure and nonsecure plastic cards, because of its ability to deliver scale and operate all stages of card production from one secure site.

“More consumers want instant access to their accounts and no longer see the need to visit bricks-and-mortar branches,” Tom Blomfield, founder and CEO of Mondo, said in a March 16 press release. Blomfield is also founder of GoCardless, a mobile direct debit provider.

Mondo has applied for a full banking license in the U.K. and has been developing its own mobile banking software.

“We wanted to offer a personal, transparent and easy-to-use banking service and Thames is helping us to achieve this," Blomfield added.

As a challenger bank, Mondo is "feeling our way in this process and Thames’ expertise and experience made them an ideal partner," Blomfield said.

The business relationship has allowed Mondo to add features such as the ability to block and unblock a payment card instantly, Blomfield added.

Thames recently installed a secure vault to its facility in Essex to store plastic cards, an investment sparked by a growing demand from customers in the prepaid and debit markets, the company said.

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