O2 Expands into Personal Finance with Launch of O2 Money

O2 has partnered with NatWest to make its debut in the personal finance market with the launch of O2 Money, a new business within O2 that will seek to advance the increasing synergies between mobile and money. The first products from O2 Money, supported by NatWest, are two cash cards, designed to give people greater control of their money.

The O2 Money cash cards are two completely Fee Free pre-paid Visa cards, which will help people better manage their spending money by never going overdrawn and with real-time balance updates sent to their mobile phone. They combine a clear, simple and transparent approach to banking with all the benefits of mobile ‘ always with you and immediate. The cards are ideally suited to help O2 customers in the current economic climate and will be available by the end of August

‘The strength of our brand and relationship with our customers gives us the ideal opportunity to take O2 into a completely new market,’ said Ronan Dunne, O2’s UK Chief Executive. ‘By bringing a fresh, transparent and customer-focused approach to pre-paid cards, we plan to drive this market and take a significant share. In partnership with NatWest, O2 Money is delivering new ways of helping our customers better connect with their money.”

Helen Page, Managing Director of Marketing and Innovation at NatWest, said: ‘In the current climate, NatWest is more committed than ever to developing innovative solutions to help customers connect with their finances. Aside from general mobile banking services such as text alerts, NatWest was the first bank to offer customers the opportunity to activate their debit card from their mobile phone, as well as providing a text alert service to keep them updated during every stage of their mortgage application. We believe these groundbreaking O2 Money cards will really raise the bar, in terms of the added value customers will get from the interaction with their mobile phone.’

The two pre-pay cards are powered through a partnership with NatWest and are called Cash Manager and Load & Go. They will allow people to ring-fence their disposable income and never spend more than has been loaded onto the card. They can be used almost anywhere that accepts Visa within the UK and abroad, as well as online, and will only be available to O2 customers.

Ronan Dunne continued, ‘O2 has a strong and successful track record of innovation and O2 Money will represent a launchpad into a wide range of mobile banking services. We believe that we are at the start of a journey towards the coming together of phone and wallet and we intend, through O2 Money, to be at the forefront of this trend. This launch represents an important step towards O2 becoming a leading service provider with mobile at its core.’

Helen Page continued. ‘More people than ever are using their mobile phones as a means of managing their money and NatWest is always looking at new ways of incorporating the mobile phone into our services, to ensure our customers can interact with us as easily as possible. These cash cards, delivered in partnership with O2, are the first step on the road towards a more advanced mobile banking service, and the closer alignment between mobile phones and payment technology.’

Key features of the two cards include:

Cash Manager

‘ The Cash Manager card is ideal for anyone who needs to balance essential outgoings such as rent, mortgage and bills with their disposable spending money
‘ Money can be loaded onto Cash Manager through regular or single online transfers
‘ This lets the customer ring-fence their disposable income and ensure that cash to cover essentials is left untouched
‘ The Cash Manager card can then be used in a similar way to any normal debit card, with the additional benefit of real time balance updates to your mobile after every transaction
‘ It is not possible to spend more than has been pre-loaded onto the Cash Manager card
‘ Cash Manager is completely free of all fees and charges when used within the UK*. As it is not possible to spend more than has been loaded onto the card, there is no interest charged
‘ It is available free and exclusively to O2 Pay Monthly and active Pay & Go customers

Load & Go

‘ This card is a cash management tool that provides young people (aged 13 and over) with the benefits of a Visa card, but within a safe framework. It gives them the freedom to spend online and on the high street, and to withdraw their money from an ATM
‘ Parents can load money onto their child’s card over the Internet
‘ Like Cash Manager, it is not possible to spend more than has been pre-loaded onto the Load & Go card
‘ A letter will be sent to the parent or guardian of anyone under the age of 16, to inform them of the application for Load & Go
‘ Load & Go cannot be used in certain retail outlets and websites, such as online gambling sites
‘ Real time text balance updates are provided to your mobile every time the card is used
‘ The Load & Go card can have money loaded onto it without any charges at over 20,000 locations across the country including all O2 stores, as well as PayPoint and e-pay outlets. This can then be spent in a similar way to a debit card via the Visa network
‘ It offers a much safer alternative to carrying cash around as it uses Chip and Pin security and can be blocked/replaced if stolen or lost, ensuring the money is safe and secure
‘ Load & Go is completely free of all fees and charges when used within the UK*. As it is not possible to spend more than has been loaded onto the card, there is no interest charged
‘ It is available to all O2 pay monthly and active Pay & Go customers aged 13 and over

The O2 Money cards will be available to apply for from mid-August on O2’s website. For more information, please visit http://o2money.o2.co.uk