Friday, October 30, 2009

Consumerist: The Hidden Cost Of PrePaid Debit Cards Revealed

The Consumerist writes today about the hidden cost of prepaid debit cards and the impact that these fees are having on the U.S. economy. Editor Ben Popken writes, with credit cards harder to come by and more annoying to use, the prepaid debit card market is projected to explode from $8.7 billion loaded on the cards to $119 billion in 2012, but a good chunk of that is going to be eaten up by hidden fees and gotchas. Popken gives a brief run-down on some normal costs.

$1.75 for each ATM withdrawal
$1 for each ATM balance inquiry
$.50 for each purchase
$4 monthly maintenance charge

As a prepaid card professional, what do you think of this analysis? We'd like to hear your thoughts.

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Thursday, October 29, 2009

Craig Fuller of TransCard Recognized as a Top Rising Star of Prepaid

This article in Enhanced Online News reports that CEO of TransCard Craig Fuller has been named as one of the Top Five Rising Stars of Prepaid by Paybefore Magazine. Paybefore's website allowed people to vote from mid-July to August, the five recipients of the award will be profiled in a fall 2009 issue of Paybefore magazine.

Craig Fuller, CEO of TransCard mentioned in response that:

“What is most important to me as a CEO in the prepaid industry is to never stop innovating and pushing the envelope. This is a rapidly expanding field and only companies that invest in the newest, most cutting-edge technology will make it. At TransCard, I am proud to be a part of a team that continually generates groundbreaking ideas and solutions. We will make any organization’s vision a reality.”

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Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Prepaid Card Use Rises

The Salt Lake Tribune reports that Prepaid card usage is up among Americans. Consumers typically buy them from a retailer, load them with money -- sometimes from directly deposited paychecks -- and use them at checkout counters or to pay bills online. And the cards are advertised with a phrase rarely used by financial institutions since the beginning of the credit crisis: no credit check necessary.

In 2008 consumers loaded $8.7 billion, up from about $4 billion the year before, on prepaid cards that carry Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Discover logos and can be used anywhere, according to Mercator Advisory Group, a research firm that focuses on the payments industry.

Consumer advocates warn that the cards can carry an assortment of fees. Nevertheless, prepaid cards have become popular among those who cannot get traditional bank accounts, many of them immigrants who rely heavily on more expensive check-cashing institutions.

For more information, please visit the original article here.

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Monday, October 26, 2009

Heartland Payment Systems and Hypercom Expands Payment Processing with Enriched Security

This recent article in reuters highlights Heartland Payment Systems and Hypercom Corporation's newest integration to offer high security payment systems to retailers nationwide and implement Heartland's E3 solution.

Heartland Chairman Bob Carr mentioned that security in payment transaction is very important to merchants, and that is exactly what the E3 solution offers, and with the help of Hypercom the solution will become more widely available to retailers. The software, Heartland Connect Gateway, will enable Hypercom POS systems to integrate the E3 solution, further protecting card data.

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Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Prepaid Expo USA 2010 Agenda Ready for Download, President Bill Clinton to Keynote

IIR is excited to announce two Prepaid Expo USA 2010 keynote speakers.

President Bill Clinton, Founder of the William J. Clinton Foundation & 42nd President of the United States will address the Prepaid Expo USA 2010, taking place February 22-24, 2010, in Las Vegas. President Clinton’s keynote address “Embracing Our Common Humanity” will take place on Monday, February 22nd at 2:30 pm.

Arkadi Kuhlmann, CEO of ING Direct, will also address the audience at the EXPO. His keynote will focus on driving success through innovation. Kuhlmann believes that in trying to re-energize an industry and transform a company, it's about creating a story. As the prepaid industry undergoes regulatory scrutiny, it continues to grow and transform. Through his experience at ING Direct, Kuhlmann will draw key parallels between the transformation of the prepaid industry and his experiences in the banking industry.

For more information on the Prepaid Expo USA 2010 keynotes, agenda, and full speaker line-up, visit the event website.

Prepaid Expo USA 2010:

Prepaid Expo USA 2010 Brochure:

Prepaid Expo USA 2010 Registration:

We look forward to seeing you in Vegas!

Prepaid Expo USA

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Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Holiday Prepaid Cards Can Offer Relief from Money Exchange Fees reports today that research by, who supply foreign exchange currency cards, shows that travellers who buy their foreign currency at airports could pay significantly more than if they had planned ahead and ordered their cash online. Stephen Heath, Chief Executive of, said:“By preparing in advance and buying your currency online instead of using costly debit or credit cards for foreign spending, travellers will be able to get the most bang for their buck this half term.”

We see that these prepaid cards are big within the European market. Will money exchange prepaid cards take off in North America?

Holiday money is 14 percent cheaper when bought online

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Tuesday, October 13, 2009

FiCentive Partners with Redbank to Offer Prepaid Debit Cards

According to this article in bizjournals FiCentive has formed a partnership with a Mexican package and mail delivery company called Redpack to issue a line of prepaid debit cards that consumers can use to send money to friends and family living in Mexico.

FiCentive is taking this chance to gain a percentage of the unbanked market in Mexico. Sonia Bracamontes, sales and marketing director for Redpack mentions:

“This card program is designed to be of great value to the underserved market of the unbanked and underbanked Mexican community in the United States. We believe the Redpack brand is well-known and is trusted within this community and will therefore add significant credibility to the program.”

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Friday, October 9, 2009

Prepaid cards under fire for fees

In a recent research report done by the New York Times, they criticize the prepaid banking industry for continually charging their customers with fees on money they've earned. This documentary takes a special look at how hard it is to find out exactly what the fees are when one is considering a prepaid card. How can the prepaid banking industry more effectively communicate with potential customers about the way the prepaid banking card works?

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Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Prepaid cards doubted for number of fees

In an article at the New York Times recently, Andrew Martin looks at the current effects prepaid cards are having on the banking industry. The industry has really expanded over the past decade, and is a way for those who can't bank in the United States, which may be up to 80 million Americans. The article points out that once many customer easily obtain these cards, they are faced with many fees that may have been written in the small print. The fees begin at activation, and continue often through every deposit and withdraw, to every customer service call and monthly feeds from the card.

Congress has yet to examine the rules and regulations with these cards, and many consumer advocate groups are calling out against the numerous fees that often go unnoticed by the consumers until they add up to great amounts of the original deposit. Many companies are beginning to pay their consumers with prepaid cards if they don't have direct deposit, which also brings up some questions as to whether this is fair for consumers. With the introduction of WalMart's MoneyCard, which follows through on low fees for the consumer, fees are falling throughout the industry.

Prepaid cards may be the only choice for some of the users, as they have no real way to open a bank account and receive their income other than to preload it on this card. It can also be used as an option for money management. But now that consumers are calling for protection from the industry, how do you think this will evolve and change the industry? I think WalMart's new card, which does reduce the number of fees, will have an effect on the industry, but it is only a matter of time before Congress looks at the cards and begins to regulate them.

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Thursday, October 1, 2009

Prepaid cards increase as credit scores rise

Armen Hareyan has an interesting article about how the use of prepaid cards is going up as many of America's credit scores are going up. Prepaid cards offer their users a safe way to use credit cards, can teach teens about managing money responsibly, and don't affect credit scores and reports.

After the current recession is over, do you think prepaid cards will continue their rise in popularity? Now that Americans have had a reality check in credit, when the economy returns to a state that allows for more spending, will we see an increase in Americans who turn to prepaid cards as an increased avenue of spending?

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