Wednesday , August 5, 2020

Galileo Teams With Mastercard to Offer Instant Debit Cards Across a Wide Range of Industries

The trend toward faster payments involves several dimensions, one of which is faster card delivery to a wide array of sponsors and users who until now had little or no access to cards branded by a global network. Galileo Financial Technologies Inc. said Thursday it’s offering that capability with an instant-issuance service for Mastercard-branded debit cards.

The cards, aimed at a markets ranging from gig workers to merchants to businesses looking for better ways to manage payroll, are available as digital or plastic versions. The former can be put into users’ hands within minutes, the latter within a matter of a few days, says Clay Wilkes, chief executive of Salt Lake City, Utah-based Galileo.

Galileo Instant Issuing, as the service is known, later this month will start allowing developers to access the company’s application programming interfaces via a new portal, called Galileo Dashboard. The portal is accessible from the Galileo site.  

Wilkes: Instant issuance for a digital economy.

While banks have offered instant issuance for debit cards for years, the ability for a wide range of businesses to access this kind of technology is “a new twist,” says Sarah Grotta, director of the debit and alternative products advisory service at Mercator Advisory Group, a Marlborough, Mass.-based consulting firm. The payroll market, where not only a card but also instant account access can be available, is especially promising, she adds. “With the market for daily pay, providing a card now is great,” she says. “But providing a card and money is better.”

Issuers can also start earning interchange income sooner with faster card availability, and lost or stolen cards can be replaced sooner with a fully functioning card, Grotta points out. Wilkes says the plan calls for a revenue-share between Galileo and issuers, but won’t give details.

Galileo is targeting a wide array of businesses for the new service, but prominent among these are newer industries that didn’t exist until recently, such as gig-economy firms and so-called neobanks. The latter are firms typically operating in a narrow field of banking like lending or payments. To reach customers, they use digital tools rather than the extensive branch network of traditional financial institutions.

“Galileo has created a powerful, time-saving innovation. By working with Galileo on instant issuing, Mastercard is providing yet another way for fintechs and other emerging companies to develop and launch innovative payment solutions quickly and easily,” said Jess Turner, an executive vice president at Mastercard, in a statement.

Grotta points out that security will be crucial for the new venture, particularly as at least some of the instant-issuance will be in the form of plastic cards bearing a major global brand. Fast funding only increases the risk, she says. “You don’t want that card stock to get into the wrong hands,” she notes.

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