Introducing Antonia Stroeh: MasterCard’s New Head of Prepaid Product Development for Europe (Sept. 17, 2014)
During Day Two of MasterCard Europe’s prepaid conference, Paybefore met with Antonia Stroeh, the payment network’s new head of prepaid product development for Europe. She took on the role, which is based in London, just over a month ago, following two years working in the Purchase, N.Y., headquarters as part of the global prepaid product management team. “Now, I’m in the region and closer to our customers, and I’ll be drilling down in the markets,” she explains.
Stroeh emphasizes the theme heard throughout the conference—that additional prepaid penetration in Europe will be the result of understanding customer needs, developing products that address those needs and clearly communicating the benefits in words that are meaningful to targeted customers.
Her advice is based on a qualitative and quantitative ethnographic consumer research study announced yesterday at the conference. The research highlighted that consumers across six European countries had clear needs and desires for the types of budgeting discipline, security and financial management readily available through prepaid products. In extensive taped interviews, which are part of the research, prepaid cardholders clearly explain how they use their cards to address their personal financial needs, and they indicate high levels of satisfaction with their choice. Yet, another segment of consumers are unaware that prepaid products could address their issues.
That latter segment is the one Stroeh is going after. And, she is unabashedly enthusiastic about the prospects in Europe.
“There are so many positives here,” she says. “We have a market that is growing overall at 13 percent annually—and expected to reach €50 billion in the not too distant future—and meeting needs in many markets.”
While acknowledging that prepaid positioning needs to be “market specific,” including features, functionality and form factors, Stroeh emphasizes that knowledge doesn’t have to be recreated in every market. She points to MasterCard’s role in thought leadership and disseminating good ideas across markets. “It’s our job to help our issuers understand their customers even better, including understanding that customers trust their banks, open mail from their banks and want more information on bank products that can help them.”
And, it’s not just consumers Stroeh has in the crosshairs. Governments and corporates are very much on her mind as conduits to put prepaid—and its benefits—in the hands of consumers. “Governments and corporates stand to save by using prepaid products—and they can add accountability and transparency to their disbursement programs as well,” she adds. “Prepaid is attractive, available to anyone and simple to deliver.”
Another (relatively) new face at MasterCard is Andrew Buckley, who’s responsible for core products in Europe, including prepaid, commercial and debit. We’ll share our conversation with Buckley in tomorrow’s Pay News.