Sodexo has launched a gift and rewards card called Premium Pass, targeted at employees of organisations. The company already has a paper-based gift voucher solution and has a separate network 11,000 outlets where it can be accepted.

Premium Pass is an open loop card and Suvodeep Das, VP of marketing at Sodexo, explained this was done to increase the acceptance of the card and can be used at any merchant which accepts RuPay. Note the open loop cards allow cash to be withdrawn from ATM but the Premium Pass will not allow that.  (I pointed out to Das that this makes the card a semi-open loop card, but he added that this was a technicality).

Das added that IDFC Bank is the BIN sponsor (Bank Identification Number) for the card as required by current guidelines. Since the card will be used for gifting, it will be tax exempt up to Rs 5,000. Client organizations can choose for a Rupay-based one-time load card with one-year validity and a reloadable card with 3-year validity.

How the card will work

  • The card can be issued by the HR resource department and the client interface, similar to the meal card, can be ordered
  • The card can be personalized for the employee.
  • Employees have to enter the activation code which will be sent to their phones on a web portal.
  • Cards are secured via a PIN known to the employee.

Partnership with PayU for online payments

Sodexo also putting the finishing touches on a partnership with payment gateway PayU which will enable the meal card to be used on online websites.

“So when you go and order on a food portal, you’ll be able to pay for them. Some companies offer card on delivery, so they already carry the POS terminal. So you order a pizza, the delivery person swipes the Sodexo card,” Das had explained in an earlier interview but had not disclosed who they were partnering with.

Details on which outlets or websites will accept the Sodexo cards online were not given. We will update once we hear from them.

Sodexo’s other partnerships

  • In June, Sodexo tied-up with point-of-sale (POS) terminal deploying company Innoviti Payments Solutions to expand the network of outlets.
  • In May, Sodexo partnered with PoS provider Mswipe to make Sodexo’s Meal Card valid at some Mswipe merchants like grocery stores, restaurants, cafes and food delivery services. Manish Patel, CEO of Mswipe, told MediaNama that more than 30,000 merchants will be able to use Sodexo’s meal card in the first phase.
  • It also partnered with fellow meal card provider Zeta in the same month to offer solutions to manage medical, fuel, leave and travel allowances for employees.

Correction: An earlier copy had mentioned that IDFC Bank was the Bill Sponsor for the card. The correct information in the copy is reflected.