Vegan-targeted prepaid card launches in Europe

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London-based Vegannection has launched a prepaid card for vegans that’s accepted only at merchants that pass its standards test.

The virtual cash-back card provides users with 2 percent cash back on purchases at participating establishments that are certified vegan, and the company sends a portion of its profits to vegan charities, according to its website.

Vegannection operates as a virtual prepaid card available online, reducing global impact by eliminating the production, shipping and delivery of plastic cards, the company's website explains.

The user experience bucks the trend of eliminating friction in the payment process. Users are required to load funds to the Vegannection card in person at any participating merchant location, by providing a mobile phone number and cash, according to the website. Funds are available immediately, and users who provide their banking details may request to have unclaimed funds send to a bank account.

To pay, users give the cashier their mobile phone number and receive a code via SMS the cashier applies toward the Vegannection card’s balance. Vegannection card users may transfer funds to one another at no cost.

A big part of the marketing strategy is referrals, or “vegganections,” according to the company’s website. Users who recommend Vegannection to others and are associated via email will receive an additional 0.5 percent reward for each purchase the referred user makes, according to the website.

About two dozen U.K. merchant locations including Beiroot, Vausages and Rawsome currently accept the Vegannection card, but the company is negotiating to expand to other European countries and the U.S., the website said.

Vegannection already has cardholders in 13 different countries, according to a report in

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Prepaid cards Digital payments U.K.