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MasterCard® endorsed venture gives mums access to discount club, earns them money and gives financial control

21 April 2008, London – A new pay-as-you-go MasterCard® card has been created specifically to help mothers manage their finances and save hundreds of pounds off their day-to-day expenses. The BaBee Prepaid MasterCard® Card (www.babeecard.com) lets mums budget for their families, earn money with a referral scheme and save money with a broad range of discounts, all at a time when their income is reduced to maternity pay or less and household costs escalate.

Introduced by Blueberry Card Services Ltd, the BaBeeCard is a product designed specifically for mothers. It costs just £14.95 a year yet gives mums access to hundreds of discounts, from baby-related items to everyday essentials like groceries and petrol plus big ticket items like holidays. Just using the grocery and petrol vouchers alone could cover the cost of the card within a month.

It’s also one of a new generation of prepaid cards that can conveniently be managed by sending text messages from a registered mobile phone. Cardholders can obtain their balance, top up their card or lock/unlock their card for added security, from anywhere, 24 hours a day.

The BaBeeCard has the option of letting friends, family and partners add funds to the card from any location in the UK, via online bank transfer or via SMS if using the BaBee Top-Up Card. This is a basic version of the BaBeeCard with limited functionality that can be used to make purchases and transfer funds. It’s ideal for grandparents who want to help out financially, friends who want to give money instead of a gift for a new baby, or partners who want an easy way to transfer housekeeping funds to stay-at-home mums.

Unlike a credit card, the BaBeeCard doesn’t require credit checks and doesn’t offer credit so helps mums to budget as they can only spend what has been loaded onto the card. It has the convenience of being accepted everywhere displaying the MasterCard® acceptance mark, currently 25.9 million locations worldwide.

Mums can also earn money by referring friends with the BaBeeCard ‘mummy-get-mummy’ plan. For every friend signed up, a mother will receive £5 credited directly onto her card.

The BaBeeCard was the brainchild of Gemma Johnson who, during her pregnancy, felt overwhelmed with the cost of preparing for her new arrival and the financial vulnerability changing from a salaried position to maternity pay.

“I wanted to create a payment solution that would let all mums take control of their finances and maximise the discounts available in the marketplace,” explains Gemma. “Aimed at mums, mums-to-be and women with families, the BaBeeCard lets them redeem against promotions to get more for their money and enable them to live within their means without fear of overspending – all with a seriously cute piece of plastic!

“It’s a great way for friends and family to help out a new mum and is an ideal baby shower gift from a group of friends who can all contribute, giving the mum the flexibility to buy what she needs at a time when she’s likely to be most cash strapped,” she continues.

Chris Reddish, Global Product Head of Prepaid Europe, MasterCard, said: “The BaBeeCard MasterCard is another great example of how prepaid programmes can be tailored to offer different benefits for different groups of consumers. The facility to manage spend by ring-fencing budget, combined with the security and convenience of prepaid cards, offer mums valuable peace of mind.”

For every BaBeeCard sold, the company will donate £1 to BLISS, a UK registered charity dedicated to working for special care babies and their families. A survey conducted by BLISS late last year found that having a premature or sick baby can put families under crippling financial strain, with an average extra weekly spend of £189, and potential long-term implications for a family's finances.

Detailed questions and answers can be found on www.babeecard.com as well as scenarios outlining how the card can be used. The card is backed by Altair Financial Services International Plc and Newcastle Building Society. The BaBee Blog (http://thebabeeblog.blogspot.com/) provides insight into how the card is used by a mum in her daily life.

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Notes for editors
About Blueberry Card Services Ltd
Blueberry Card Services Ltd was set up by Gemma Johnson in September 2006. Gemma and her team have more than 4 years experience in the prepaid card market and 10 years in the charge card industry. The company developed the BaBeeCard and the supporting programmes and will be introducing additional benefit-led prepaid services in the future.

About Altair Financial Services International Plc (www.altair-financial.com)
Altair Financial Services International Plc was incorporated in 2005 as a global provider of Prepaid Card solutions with enhanced functionality. Altair acquired established transaction processing company, Symmetrex, Inc. in March 2007. Altair is headquartered in London with banking and processing relationships in UK, USA, Asia Pacific and throughout the Latin America and Caribbean regions and issues on behalf of MasterCard® and Visa.

Altair solutions are designed to be flexible enough to provide companies with almost any type of prepaid card functionality, including open and closed loop programs. Through its relationship with MasterCard® all Altair cards issued in Europe are based on Chip & PIN technology and are EMV standards compliant. Altair is a certified issuer and transaction processor of contactless (MasterCard® PayPass™) prepaid cards in the United Kingdom. For more information, visit www.altair-financial.com.

About Newcastle Building Society
Newcastle Building Society is the biggest building society based in the North East and one of the strongest mutual building societies in the country. With assets under administration of over £4.8bn they are certainly large enough to compete but small enough to care deeply about the needs of their members. They are committed to providing a range of innovative and attractive products.

About MasterCard Worldwide

MasterCard Worldwide advances global commerce by providing a critical economic link among financial institutions, businesses, cardholders and merchants worldwide. As a franchisor, processor and advisor, MasterCard develops and markets payment solutions, processes over 18 billion transactions each year, and provides industry-leading analysis and consulting services to financial institution customers and merchants. Through its family of brands, including MasterCard®, Maestro® and Cirrus®, MasterCard serves consumers and businesses in more than 210 countries and territories. For more information go to www.mastercard.com

About BLISS (www.bliss.org.uk)
BLISS provides a range of support services to parents and families of premature and sick babies, including the leaflet "Financial help for families", which aims to help parents regain control of their finances.

Contact:
Melissa Talago
Peekaboo Communications
Tel: 01635 248496
melissa@peekaboocoms.co.uk

This press release was distributed by ResponseSource Press Release Wire on behalf of Peekaboo Communications in the following categories: Children & Teenagers, Women's Interest & Beauty, Personal Finance, for more information visit http://pressreleasewire.responsesource.com/about.