How they describe themselves: Tempo is the leader in decoupled debit, which is a new type of MasterCard debit card that can be provided by any organization and connects to a consumer’s existing bank account. The principal consumer benefit is higher rewards relative to traditional bank-issued debit cards. Cards are marketed in conjunction with partner organizations on a partner-branded (and MasterCard-branded) basis. In effect, Tempo is trying to build a 21st century, debit focused version, of MBNA.
What they think makes them better: While debit card usage has grown explosively over the past decade, the market has seen little innovation. Debit cards are effectively a feature of a bank account, and are never marketed as an independent product. Tempo’s new product enables consumers to apply online for decoupled debit cards. For the first time, it is now possible for a consumer to get a debit card from an organization other than their bank, without having to change their bank account.