DBF and Equens close deal on Cultuurkaart

5 March 2008

DataBase Fulfilment (DBF) and Equens have signed an agreement for the processing of Cultuurkaart (Culture Card) transactions. Cultuurkaart is a digital personal card with a magnetic stripe that will be issued to 900,000 secondary school pupils with effect from the 2008–2009 school year. The agreement is for a term of at least four years. DBF will be responsible for issuing the Cultuurkaart and performing the related database management in cooperation with the Dutch European Youth Card Association (CJP), on behalf of the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science. Equens will manage the cash flow and transaction processing and ensure that the relevant POS terminals are ready to accept payments using the Cultuurkaart. These include POS terminals installed at various cultural institutions such as museums, theatres, cinemas and specific shops.

Upon commencement of the new school year, DBF will begin the producing the Cultuurkaart, which will be issued to some 900,000 users. DBF will also be responsible for building the Cultuurkaart user website (intended for pupils and teachers), as well as a separate website for online purchases using the Cultuurkaart. The Cultuurkaart will be loaded with an annual balance of €15 as determined by Minister Plasterk. With effect from this coming school year, young Cultuurkaart holders will have a total of €13.5 million to spend using their cards.

Plastkerk (Minister for Education, Culture and Science) awarded the project to CJP and DBF following a European tendering procedure. The Cultuurkaart will replace the CKV (Cultural and Artistic Education) vouchers that have been in use since 1999 with the aim of encouraging cultural participation among young people. Equens is one of the largest payment processors in Europe and a market leader in the field of future-proof payments and solutions for card payment processing. Equens provides market parties with innovative payment services including mobile payments, e-invoicing and prepaid debit cards. All Cultuurkaart transactions will be submitted to Equens’ systems via POS terminals or online. Equens will then authorise the transactions, which will handled in the same manner as regular electronic payments with a bank or giro card. Equens will supply transaction information to DBF on a daily basis, after which CJP will settle payments with the participating organisations.

The Cultuurkaart project is in line with Equens’ and DBF's aims to increase efficiency by replacing hardcopy vouchers with a prepaid debit card. Reduced paper flows lead to reduced logistical costs and shorter throughput times for payment settlement with the participating organisations.

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