Optimus Cards Group wins Startup of the Year honor at the 2016 Payments Awards
The company was selected from hundreds of competitors as the best addition to the payments landscape, recognizing their first-of-its-kind debit card scheme for credit unions and small banks as groundbreaking.
The Payments Awards recognise cards and payments excellence and innovation – and are organised by FStech and Retail Systems. Winning entries come from those companies, individuals and organisations who have launched and/or implemented the most outstanding payments solutions, initiatives and projects during the past year.
This year’s winners were announced at the Payments Awards Gala Dinner & Ceremony in London, where the Optimus Cards senior management team took to the stage to accept their trophy. “It is so satisfying to have this mark of recognition from the payments community,” commented Optimus Cards CEO Julie Wilson. “What we do brings credit union members and others into the debit ecosystem that they have long been denied access to. ‘Payments for all’ is a mission worth pursuing, and we’re thrilled that so many leaders in our industry clearly agree!”
“We are already making a huge difference in the lives of consumers across the UK and Ireland by enabling them to have real debit cards linked directly to their credit union accounts,” added Tony Mackey, Senior Relationship Manager at Optimus Cards. “To us, this award celebrates not only Optimus Cards, but also that difference that real payments options can make on the high street every day.”
Based in Birmingham and Dublin, Optimus Cards Group has made waves in the financial services sector across the UK and Europe with their one of a kind offering. “Implementing and operating a debit card scheme has historically been out of reach for credit unions,” explains Wilson. “Their smaller size means transaction volumes beneath the minimum threshold for the many service providers required. By building the infrastructure ourselves and aggregating the transaction volumes of our customers, we have made true debit programs possible at virtually any size.”
The Optimus Cards scheme is a full-service, totally turnkey service that can be white label with customer branding at every level. With no development, in-house expertise, support overhead, or large off-books processor deposits necessary, the barriers to entry have been completely eliminated. So far, this service has been nearly revolutionary to credit unions like 6 Towns Credit Union in the UK, whose CEO, Arun Budon, said they were “absolutely thrilled with the programme.” Bringing debit payments to their customers was something they never could have done otherwise, and for many of their members, this is the first time they have enjoyed card payments without restrictions.
Budon added, “It could not have been simpler. Within a matter of weeks, we were integrated with a customized system that was perfect down to the last detail. Now we can offer fully fledged debit cards to the people who rely on us, and we couldn’t be more pleased.”
Optimus Cards is on track to launch programmes empowering thousands more cardholders across Europe by year-end. In a world where digital and mobile payments are the focus of innovation, it is easy to forget that hundreds of thousands of ordinary banking consumers do not even have the basic debit card functionality that so many of us take for granted. Optimus Cards is truly the pioneer in bringing this payment power to all consumers no matter where they bank, and all banks no matter their size.