ATLANTA -- InComm, a leading prepaid product and transaction services company, has announced a partnership with Ready Wireless to launch the Airfair Lifeline Reload card at participating 7-Eleven stores, the convenience store company has confirmed.
Airfair offers Lifeline-eligible telecommunication companies (ETC) reload options for all of its customers through one universal product.
Dallas-based 7-Eleven is the first national retailer to sell the 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).
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.
Consumers, however, typically want to purchase additional cell phone minutes beyond what they receive for free through the program. Until now, ETCs have struggled to provide an easy way for cash-based consumers to reload their phones after they have used their Lifeline-supported minutes and texts. Currently, many ETCs have no retail presence, so consumers have limited options beyond purchasing more minutes via websites – which is difficult considering many do not own debit or credit cards.
"Lifeline customers want to use their wireless Lifeline phone as their primary phone," said Fred Haumesser, cofounder and executive vice president of sales for Ready Wireless. "Beyond the initial minutes provided through the Lifeline phone, they want to purchase more minutes and texts. Considering that many are purely cash-based and ETCs have little retail presence, fulfilling this demand has been difficult. Through our partnership with InComm, we're now able to offer a universal card for all Lifeline ETCs, which gives them retail presence while making it very easy for their customers to purchase the extra air time they need. InComm's expertise and vast reach with retailers nationwide made them a perfect partner in this launch."
At a participating 7-Eleven, consumers choose from $5, $10, $20, $30 and $50 payment options. After purchasing the Airfare Lifeline Reload card at checkout, they then call a redemption number on the back of the card to receive their additional minutes.
"When we heard about the Airfair Lifeline Reload card, we immediately knew this was something we wanted to offer our customers in our stores," said Rebecca Frechette, a 7-Eleven vice president of merchandising. "Lifeline is an incredibly important benefits program. Now, through the Airfair reloadable card, our stores can make it easier for Lifeline consumers to purchase the extra cell phone minutes they need."
"Convenience stores often serve as one-stop shopping destinations for consumers," said Frank Squilla, senior vice president of sales for InComm. "It was a natural fit for us to make the Airfair program available to cash-based customers who would otherwise not have access to this product. Lifeline service providers can now pull together around this one card and make it available for purchase at thousands of retail locations around the country. ETCs can increase sales opportunities, consumers now have significantly more flexibility, and retailers have the opportunity to increase foot traffic in their stores."
Ready Wireless, Hiawatha, Iowa, is a privately held, wireless telecommunications provider that powers voice, text and data product solutions on a multi-carrier network MVNE (mobile virtual network enabler) platform. It also partners with third parties to integrate complementary services to enhance consumer experience and build incremental revenue.
Atlanta-based InComm is a leading provider of prepaid products, services and transaction technologies to retailers, brands and consumers. It supports more than 400,000 points of distribution and helps retailers build prepaid card destinations, connects brands with new markets and gives consumers a simple, secure shopping experience.
7-Eleven operates approximately 51,700 convenience stores in 16 countries. During 2012, 7-Eleven stores generated total worldwide sales close to $84.8 billion.