New virtual prepaid card looks to bring online shopping to the masses

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There was a time when you needed a credit card to shop online. Then a few pioneers engaged in some technical wizardry and brought out products that allowed you do use your debit card. But what if you have neither?

A solution that allows for people who don’t have either to shop online would be particularly useful in emerging market economies, where large numbers of people might not have credit cards.

Triloq Payment Services claims to have developed precisely such a solution in the guise of a “simple, single-use virtual prepaid card system called 1-2-Pay-Online”.

The product was developed in collaboration with MasterCard and banking giant Standard Bank, and reportedly lets people shop in any online store that currently accepts credit and debit cards.

Triloq reckons its product could fill a necessary gap in the South African online shopping market, which rose 30% in 2011, despite there only being 7.8 million active credit cards.

This growth in the online shopping market was matched by the growth in the number of internet users:

In 2009, 5.3 million South African’s were online and in 2011, the number increased to 6.8 million, a growth of 28% over two years.

“The imminent introduction of additional broadband spectrum and wider access to mobile and pc-based internet will increase the potential of online shopping tremendously, which will in turn increase the value and potential of virtual prepaid card payments. Virtual prepaid cards are the way of the future, because they eliminate online shopping barriers, are simple to set up and are convenient and easy to use,” says Veeren Naidoo, CEO of Triloq Payment Services.

The company claims that the product could “remove barriers for would-be online shoppers” and “increase online sales across the board”.

Triloq also reckons that because the card can only be used once and “each time a customer makes a purchase, a new 1-2-Pay-Online card number is used”, the risk of fraud should be minimised.

Funds that are left over from the online purchase are transferred back to the customer, who is able to create a new virtual prepaid card for additional purchases.

Naidoo reckons Triloq’s product is different to a number of the other e-wallets currently available in South Africa as they “are closed loop, which means that you can only use these e-wallets on websites where the e-wallet provider has a relationship with the merchant.”

According to Naidoo, “The next logical step is allowing users to create virtual prepaid cards from their cellphones, which we will launch shortly”.

For the beta launch, there is a limit of R200 on the value of virtual prepaid cards that may be created, and purchases may only be made on South African websites.

The virtual prepaid card can also be purchased as a gift.

Triloq is part of the World of Avatar Group, which counts the likes of emerging markets social communications giant MXit as part of its investment stable.

How it works:

Step 1: Register online at www.12payonline.co.za, where you will be given a profile number and directed along the three-step process.

Step 2: Add the Standard Bank Trust Account as a beneficiary on your banking profile using internet banking (you can be banked at any South African Bank). Use the 1-2-Pay-Online profile number as the beneficiary reference number. Simply load your 1-2-Pay-Online profile by paying funds into it.

Step 3: Once the funds are cleared by Standard Bank you will receive a confirmation email. You will then be able to create your one-time virtual prepaid card, which can be used at websites that accept credit and/or debit cards.

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