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Advantage launches first 'Air Cash' initiative with E-phone

By Phil Boeyen, ShareChat Business News Editor

Tuesday 19th September 2000

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Tech company Advantage and telco services company E-phone are linking up to allow pre-pay phone users to recharge their cards using point of sale terminals, and even more services are on the way.

Advantage CEO, Greg Cross, says the new partnership with E-phone will radically transform the New Zealand pre-pay and recharge market.

"Currently pre-paid cards are like stamps - they're physical products that have to be ordered, stored and paid for by merchants in advance. Because of their small size and high value they risk being stolen from the counter top. They cannot be recharged, and producing the unique chip found in each card is a significant cost to telecommunications companies."

"Now using the internet-enabled ICE 5000 terminals, customers can recharge their phone account directly at shop counters. It's easier, cheaper, faster and safer."

Mr Cross says customers can key in the amount of value they wish to buy a new phone card or add credit to their existing card or account for immediate use. They pay either in cash or by debiting their bank account through eftpos.

Customers can also get a terminal receipt as a written record of their transaction.

"Retailers who stock prepaid cards will win from this innovation," says Greg Cross. "With pre-pay through ICE 5000, retailers have a low risk, low cost mechanism for gaining considerable margin."

The system appears to be just a forerunner of a whole new way of buying services, called "Air Cash".

Advantage says initially available services will be telephony only, it is anticipated that other services such as bill payments and international cash transfers will be available in the near future.



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