Mobile operator MegaFon has launched its own bank card. On Tuesday the company presented the new product, which is issued with Round bank. The card will be linked to its holder’s mobile balance. Yan Kukhalsky, MegaFon’s New Businesses and Partnerships Director, shared more details with Kommersant FM when he spoke with radio news correspondent Vladimir Rasulov.
VR: It was said at the presentation of MegaFon’s new product that this card is unique for Russia and for the world. What is the innovation and how does it differ from other bank cards?
YK: The innovation is that this is the first time mobile balance has been linked to a bank card. This means that any MegaFon subscriber can pay for any good or services online or offline from their mobile phone account and top it up just as easily. That’s what’s unique about it. We know that there have been some pilot projects of this kind but because of difficulties with implementation they often didn’t make it to the consumer market on a countrywide scale.
VR: Who can get a card and what are the conditions?
YK: Any of MegaFon’s 76 million subscribers can come into a store and collect their card, which is already waiting for them. All they need is to come into a MegaFon store with their passport and they can get a card in 5 minutes. What’s more, for subscribers of our All Inclusive tariff plans it’s completely free. For other tariffs subscribers only need to pay for the card to be issued — there is no annual service fee for any MegaFon client.
VR: What bonuses are available for holders if they decide to get a card?
YK: Apart from the fact they will now always be able to pay from their mobile phone account because that’s what the card is linked to, subscribers can get up to 8% annual interest on account balance. There is also a loyalty program with a broad range of partners that offers up to 10% cashback. For example, if someone pays using our card in a partner cafe they can get up to 10% of their bill back on their mobile balance. It’s not some kind of bonus points, it’s real money that they can then use as they wish. Another important benefit is free transfers between MegaFon subscribers. To send money to a subscriber who has a card, irrespective of where they are — in Moscow, Khabarovsk or Paris — you just need to top up their mobile balance and the money will appear automatically on their account.
VR: Who do you see as the potential audience for this card? And do you have any forecasts in terms of demand and how often MegaFon subscribers will use this option?
YK: This product could be interesting for a huge number of different sectors, from a businessman who is concerned about entering his main card details to pay for goods and services online or in some unfamiliar bar, restaurant or shop, through to people who still don’t have a card and don’t understand the convenience of a card. It could be children who might use the card to spend their pocket money; with cash parents don’t know how their children are spending it. It could be students for whom it’s important to have an extra source of income and access to quick transfers so their parents can easily send them money when they need it. Or freelancers, for whom the card could be a convenient way to get paid for their services.
VR: And a small final question. When will this new card start working? When will it be available?
YK: Starting today this card is available in MegaFon stores in Moscow, St Petersburg, the Moscow region and the Leningrad region. We expect it to be available to all subscribers across the country starting 1 October.
Source: Kommersant FM