Technological Advances and Environmental Benefits of Plastic Cards

It is hard to imagine how modern society would cope without using plastic cards in everyday life. Most adults these days use a plastic card at least once a day, whether it is a membership card for the gym, payment with a credit card, a loyalty card in retails shops – the list goes on. Technological advances in plastic cards have not only meant that the uses of them have become broader, but have also brought environmental benefits as customers can now re-use their plastic cards instead of throwing them away.

O2 is a leading provider of mobile services and have taken advantage of the benefits of using plastic cards with their customers. O2 offer communications solutions to customers and corporates in the UK and Ireland. They also have integrated fixed / mobile businesses in Germany, the Czech Republic (Telefónica O2 Czech Republic) and the Isle of Man (Manx Telecom). In addition, O2 has established the Tesco Mobile and Tchibo Mobilfunk joint venture businesses in the UK and Germany respectively. O2 also owns Airwave O2, which supplies secure digital communications to the emergency services and other public safety organisations.

PCC has been a supplier of top-up cards to O2 for many years. John Ashcroft, PCC’s strategic client director, explains “The pre-paid client base has been an important part of O2’s growth in the UK mobile market. The top-up card has been a key media driving the pre-paid revenues for O2″.

Initially, board based scratch-cards were used as the key media to top-up mobile phones. The cards were individually printed with a code, which was then covered by a scratch panel. Each card was then individually wrapped, with cards either flow-wrapped in links, or wrapped in collated packs. PCC produced many millions of these cards for O2 during this period, and continue to do so for other mobile operators around the world.

As the British mobile market evolved, the use of scratch cards reached an all-time high. It was then that O2 took the decision to start using reusable plastic cards, in an effort to reduce costs and benefit the environment.

Michael Williamson of O2 explains “The board scratch cards were thrown away after each use. The evolution of technology allowed O2 to introduce plastic e top-up cards, which are kept by the customer and reused each time a phone top-up is initiated. As well as facilitating cost reduction for the business, the plastic card means that O2 has a constant brand presence in the customer’s wallet”.

Each plastic top-up card is personalised with a unique number, which in turn is linked to a mobile phone when used for the first time. Variants of the cards have been distributed with new mobile phones, through retail outlets and post offices and individually to clients throughout the UK. PCC has produced over 100 million of these cards, which have been a huge success for O2.

“The card has become a vital part of the top-up process, providing the direct link between the customer and the network” said John Ashcroft. “Product quality is key – each card directly represents O2 in the eyes of their customers. There is no compromise where quality and accuracy is concerned”.

PCC continues to be a key card partner for O2. Michael Williamson continues “PCC continues to offers the product and service levels that a household name like O2 requires. “

Thea Monk

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