Supercard Here to Save U.K. Travelers from Fees; Amex not Included
It’s a bird. It’s a plane. No, it’s Supercard, a MasterCard prepaid card and accompanying mobile app catering to U.K. consumers traveling abroad. Supercard, developed by German-based financial services and technology provider Wirecard AG and foreign currency exchange company Travelex, enables travelers to earn rewards on the cards they want—except for American Express cards—without paying the typical international transaction fees.
Consumers link their credit or debit cards via the Supercard app, which is available for iOS and Android smartphones, and use it to choose which payment card account they want to make a purchase. Purchases are converted using MasterCard’s wholesale exchange rate and Travelex doesn’t add any fees. The app tracks spending and approximate savings from using the card, among other features.
If Supercard’s concept sounds familiar, it should. Last month, London-based Curve and Wirecard announced the MasterCard-branded Curve card and mobile app, which functions much the same way as Supercard. However, Curve’s intended audience is SMEs, such as freelancers and small business owners.
With prepaid products such as these, there are two transactions—one to load the card for which Curve or Travelex would act as the merchant and one to spend the funds, which operate in the typical fashion—in both of these cases as a MasterCard transaction. Although the networks on the funding and spending cards get paid, American Express last month said it would not enable its cards to be used with Curve. Supercard doesn’t support American Express cards as a funding source either. While Curve notes that it’s continuing its discussions with American Express, Wirecard doesn’t “foresee any negative treatment from other schemes or networks,” a Wirecard spokesperson tells Paybefore.
Both Curve and Smartcard are a way to put prepaid at the center of payments, while bridging the gap to mobile wallets, which still are vying for adoption and more widespread acceptance.