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InComm, a leading prepaid product and transaction services company, has partnered with Ready Wireless to launch the Airfair Lifeline Reload card at more than 7,000 participating 7-Eleven stores. Airfair offers Lifeline-eligible telecommunication companies (ETC) simple reload options for all of their customers through one, easy-to-use universal product.
Customers can now pay in cash to reload their Lifeline phones with additional minutes, texts, or data by purchasing the Airfair card, which is activated at the point-of-sale (POS). 7-Eleven is the first national retailer to sell the product, with more retailers planned to provide the Airfair card within the next year.
Lifeline is a government-benefit program that helps low-income Americans gain access to phone services, find employment, be safe, and connect to health services.
Jerry Cutler, VP Sales, InComm, told Loyalty360 that InComm had an existing retail relationship with 7-Eleven and Ready Wireless has existing relationships with numerous Eligible Telecommunication Companies (ETCs).
“Airfair allows eligible customers to reload their Lifeline phone in increments starting at $5 by using cash at their local 7-Eleven,” Cutler said. “In addition to the convenience this offers to consumers, it also increases foot traffic in the store.”
Airfair combines multiple ETCs onto one card.
“Throughout the country there are several small ETCs with regional reach requiring customers to use specific locations in order to reload minutes,” Cutler explained. “Airfair consolidates the ETCs onto one convenient card which can be reloaded at 7-Eleven locations nationwide. For the retailer, Airfair offers one easy to manage SKU with the service providers driving traffic to the retail location.”
According to a 2011 FDIC national survey, 8.2% of U.S. households are unbanked and 20.1% of U.S. households are underbanked. Cutler said service providers have struggled to provide an easy way for the unbanked or underbanked consumer to reload their phones after they have used their Lifeline supported minutes/texts.
“Airfair serves this segment of the population,” Cutler said. “By providing this customer base with a reload network which meets their needs is essential. After all, customer engagement begins and ends with meeting the needs of the customer.”
The process is easy for consumers: They walk into a participating 7-Eleven retail location and choose from $5, $10, $20, $30, and $50 payment options. After purchasing the Airfare Lifeline Reload card at checkout, they then simply call a redemption number on the back of the card to receive their additional minutes.
Lifeline is a government benefit program serving 14 million U.S. citizens with an estimated 37 million people eligible for the benefit.
The Lifeline program is available to eligible low-income consumers in every state, territory, commonwealth, and on Tribal lands. Consumers with proper proof of eligibility may be qualified to enroll. To participate in the program, consumers must have an income that is at or below 135% of the federal Poverty Guidelines or participate in a qualifying state, federal or Tribal assistance program. What’s more, a person qualifies for Lifeline if he or she participates in one of the following assistance programs:
Supplemental Nutrition Assistance program (Food Stamps or SNAP)
Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
Federal Public House Assistance (Section 8)
Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)
Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF)
National School Lunch program's Free Lunch Program
Bureau of Indian Affairs General Assistance
Tribally-Administered Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TTANF)
Food Distribution program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR)
Head Start (if income eligibility criteria are met)
State assistance programs (if applicable)
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