O2 launch ‘O2 Money’ pre-paid credit cards

Interesting news on O2′s launch of their pre-paid credit cards. They are launching 2 Visa cards in mid August one called the ‘Cash Manager’ and the other ‘Load and Go”.

The o2 money site says:

“O2 is all about finding the best ways of connecting you to your world. And we know that you’d appreciate an easy way to stay on top of your cash using your mobile. So that’s why we’ve launched O2 Money cards. You load money onto your O2 Money card, then whenever you use it you’ll receive a free real time text alert.”

The ‘Cash Manager’ card is there to help you stay on top of your spending by providing a prepaid Visa card. The card has an annual limit of up to £10,000 and is free to sign up and use as long as you are an O2 customer.

The ‘Load and Go’ card is aimed at the younger generation (13+) and can be topped up with a maximum £1,800 a year. Cash can be added to the card using O2 shops, debit card online (i.e. parents) and also Paypoint and e-pay locations across the UK. Again users will receive text alerts and is available exclusively for o2 customers.

Whilst both cards can be used to top up your Pay as You go I couldnt work out why O2 were launching these cards. What do they get out of it? The cards would cost next to nothing for them I imagine and the are run by Natwest.

I saw this tweet by the official O2 stream

The wallet and the mobile phone are coming together – this will allow us to bring new services to our customers

To me this seems a strange way of bridging the gap between ‘the wallet’ and the mobile phone when it would be very easy for the MNO’s to effectively become banks themselves which they have shied away from but that’s another story in itself.

The tweet lead me to think Advertising. O2 will be able to monitor users spend as well as their mobile usage and offer targeted advertisements to users and make revenues from brands etc. Competition for Blyk? Or is this just the future of mobile? after the 118800 fiasco it seems all fingers are starting to point at reaching people directly to there mobiles.

Maybe O2 will give Natwest and Visa access to their user base. The student banking market is huge in the UK with banks putting out all efforts to sign up students knowing that they will leave university with overdrafts and credit cards thus effectively signed up to that bank for years whilst they pay it back when they start fulltime employment. This gives O2 and Natwest a good opportunity to build a detailed ‘relationship’ with these consumers and understand their lifestyles.

Personally I think the card is a great idea considering the state of ‘credit Britain’ but this shouldn’t be done by O2 let alone an MNO. Maybe O2 should think about updating there Payforit scheme which offers a lot more potential and still uses the old Premium SMS technology.

What do you think?

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  • weewaawoowaa

    I think it is a novel approach – O2 have for some time been focused on focusing on customers, rather than chasing new subscribers. It makes sense from that point of view, but it feels weird that a mobile company is branching out…makes a fool of banks though, who should be doing more things like this rather than load indebted consumers with debt

  • Moof

    The main draw I see for the Load-and-go card is to allow teenagers, who by dint of age cannot have a credit card, to purchase things online without having to have a bank account. Given the Bad Press that banks have had lately, it seems natural that alternative online transaction suppliers will appear.

  • James Trosh

    Well there's the touch and go credit card payments that Nokia are trialling that allow you to pay for stuff using your phone by 'swiping it' against a payment pad like an Oyster card. To me it looks like the start of rolling the idea of a convergence between mobile phones and money out to the customer.

  • Mickied

    maybe it's cheaper for O2 to get you to top up your mobile from a card than a retailer

  • jamienutter1

    Well im 15 and i love the idea but the only thing is when are the cards going to come out i know every where is saying mid august but the wat date someone please tell me email jamiedoy11@hotmail.co.uk

  • http://twitter.com/O2 O2 in the UK

    Hi Jamie (and everyone else!)
    The cards are now available and they're free for all O2 customers. If you want to apply for one, head to http://www.o2.co.uk/money.

  • wunnus

    The load and go card is not as it seems. Advertised as to be udesd anywhere (web included) but the real thing is “restricted” (O2 words). This means that even Paypal does not recognise it.
    I should have got the cash manager.
    But hang on …will that be as advertised?

  • http://twitter.com/O2 O2 in the UK

    Hi Jamie (and everyone else!)
    The cards are now available and they're free for all O2 customers. If you want to apply for one, head to http://www.o2.co.uk/money.

  • wunnus

    The load and go card is not as it seems. Advertised as to be udesd anywhere (web included) but the real thing is “restricted” (O2 words). This means that even Paypal does not recognise it.
    I should have got the cash manager.
    But hang on …will that be as advertised?

  • http://www.der-prepaid-vergleich.de Sele

    Prepaid Kredit cards are really a good thing. I also use some VISA Prepaid Card :-)

  • gr

    pathetic i changed my mobile number and 02/natwest cannot send the alerts when spending or loading the card to my new number?

  • stephluv

    Using a prepaid visa card is a smart alternative to credit cards. It helps you stay on top of your spending and assures you won't rack up more charges than you have the finances to handle.

  • http://www.creditloan.com/credit-cards/ credit cards

    Using a prepaid visa card is a smart alternative to credit cards. It helps you stay on top of your spending and assures you won't rack up more charges than you have the finances to handle.

  • LadyinRed

    I heard of this from a friend and this seems a great thing to happen.I guess there will be many people who will subscribe in order to receive one of this credit cards.

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