Mobile operator Orange Spain has teamed up with Mastercard to launch Spain’s first completely virtual debit card via its Orange Bank service. The Orange Bank debit card is part of Mastercard’s “Digital First” initiative and can be used at all ATMs in Spain and the Eurozone. It has no CVV code, sensitive data or any other numbers, only the cardholder’s name. It is fully compatible with Apple Pay, Google Pay or Samsung Pay.
According to Orange, customer security is enhanced by the fact all confidential information can only be seen within the Orange Bank app following authentication. All security preferences can also be managed through the app, including the ability to temporarily suspend or permanently cancel the card and to control its spending limit. The operator added that for environmental reasons, it will only issue a physical card if the customer expressly requests one.
Orange Spain is currently offering its customers a discount of €30.00 (US $33.87) if they sign up to Orange Bank, with €10.00 (US $11.29) paid into their account when they first use their linked card followed by €1.00 (US $1.13) for each of the subsequent 20 payments.
At the end of 2019, France-based Orange created a branch of its business in Spain that enabled it to offer not just mobile money services but more extensive financial services. As we have noted on many occasions, this kind of diversification is important for operators not only to be able to deepen its relationships with customers but to create diverse and innovative revenue opportunities at a time when traditional services are challenged from various directions and less profitable.
The Orange Bank debit card is a good example of a financial services product that allows the operator to offer something distinctive to its customers that combines mobile-money functionalities with security and the ability to keep track of their spending.
Unlike “virtual credit cards” that are essentially anonymous one-use cards, Orange’s virtual debit card is a personal account that allows customers to make secure payments through the operator’s app and also via Apple, Google and Samsung’s payment platforms. The lack of easily-stolen card numbers and CVV codes increases the security of the interface and therefore the comfort level of the user. The physical card, issued only on request, is likewise free of such obvious information, its identity embodied only in its chip. Customer adoption of mobile money is already driven by loyalty and comfort, and this innovation plays on that while potentially bolstering it.
This joint venture between Orange and Mastercard appears to yield a way for mobile money to move into the traditional banking-card space in a way that gets rid of or at least minimizes some of the common security risks. The card is widely usable, including at ATMs, and affords the user a good deal of flexibility. If successful, this venture could point the way to a future in which the traditional debit and credit card format is obsolete.