2013 Paybefore Awards: Breakout Company of the Year (June 2013)
The organization that stood out from the crowd in 2012 to make a positive, game-changing difference in the prepaid/emerging payments environment in a geographic region or globally.
Best in Category: Rêv Worldwide
Launched low-cost mobile card reader targeting 400 million SMEs in 12 countries, along with Brazil’s first GPR card and Mexico’s first mobile banking/prepaid program.
Heading into its fifth year, Rêv Worldwide is working toward fulfilling its mission of empowering more than 2.5 billion people globally who lack access to payment solutions. A global payments processor and branchless banking network, Rêv fills different roles in different geographies—for example, delivering mobile payments solutions in Latin America, prepaid cards in India and reload networks in Europe—to cost-effectively empower underserved populations and serve small merchants.
Headquartered in Austin, Texas, Rêv has offices in 10 cities in Asia, Australia, Europe and Latin America from which it works with diverse partners—including financial institutions, telecommunications firms, governments and the private sector—to achieve global economies of scale while adapting to local market conditions.
Among this year’s entrants in the Breakout category, Rêv stood out because of the geographic reach of three of its key programs (New Zealand, Brazil and Mexico) and the diverse vertical markets in which the company is making an impact (travel, mobile and GPR).
Additionally, Rêv entered the competitive mobile card reader market with one key difference—it’s the only reader with global reach that uses a prepaid card to help small businesses access their funds.
Rêv’s OneSmart card for Air New Zealand, which also is a 2013 Paybefore Awards winner in the Best GPR Program—International Solutions, was a major conceptual breakthrough, with the potential to take prepaid forward in a revolutionary way. The first double-sided prepaid card, OneSmart features the standard frequent flier program card with the full range of benefits, including fast check-in on one side. On the other side, it’s a multicurrency prepaid card, earning miles as you spend and double miles for international spending.
In Brazil, Rêv launched MEO, a GPR card that incorporates a proprietary mobile app and is available through convenient retail channels, such as grocery stores and pharmacies, to appeal to those with limited access to financial services. And, in Mexico, Rêv, in partnership with Banorte, introduced MiFon, which links a deposit account with the bank to a MasterCard debit card with mobile payments functionality.
Rêv was founded by Roy and Bertrand Sosa, who pioneered the use of prepaid in the U.S. as the founders of NetSpend. Roy is a co-recipient of Paybefore’s 2013 Industry Achievement Award.
Winner: American Express
American Express wasn’t content with winning the Best-in-Category distinction for Breakout Company for 2012. It followed up its landmark GPR program, which contributed to its win last year, with significant prepaid business expansion globally and another landmark launch that got everyone talking—Bluebird.
Given its many positions on the value chain—issuer, acquirer and network—American Express can capitalize on operational efficiencies to provide holistic consumer-friendly products with minimal fees and backed by award-winning customer service and the trusted American Express brand. During the past year, American Express has launched multiple new products, including Bluebird; a debit and checking alternative with partner Walmart; reloadable prepaid cards and Paybefore Award-winning global travel cards and gift cards in Brazil, India, Australia and South Africa. The company also expanded its prepaid cards through a number of new retail partnerships with Target, CVS, Walgreens, Office Depot and Barnes and Noble Campus Bookstores.
Reaching new customer segments and new geographies, American Express is focused on expanding its share of the alternative payments market, which represents $28 trillion in global spend volume. In the process, the company is setting a new standard for pricing and service in the industry.
Discover is a breakout prepaid company of the year—with the results to prove it. The company achieved seven-fold growth in prepaid for 2012, with the potential to grow the market even more by launching programs that expand the traditional boundaries of prepaid.
The Riverwoods, Ill.-based network is partnering with game-changing companies to bring relevant solutions to market and tapping into new markets never before explored by prepaid. Outside-the-box programs, such as Young Money, EmployeeEdge, iHope and Loyalty Card Plus, achieve great scale by offering consumers a financial tool that integrates into their existing behavior or affinity relationships.
Discover also is using prepaid as a fundamental gateway to enable many emerging payment initiatives, posting 60 percent growth in alternative payments in 2012. For example, a significant partnership with PayPal is poised to help the commerce enabler expand its acceptance to 2 million brick-and-mortar stores by the end of 2013.
Discover goes beyond the standard network role to deliver value-added enhancement to programs, such as an industry-first sweepstakes promotion that drives top-of-wallet behavior, financial literacy and multichannel functionality that combines prepaid with nonfinancial functionality. With a belief that prepaid products can be more than a financial product, Discover is making prepaid a convenient, relevant and integrated part of consumers’ everyday lives. Discover also won the Best-in-Category Award for Expanding the Boundaries of Prepaid.