Friday, December 24, 2010

Happy Holidays from Prepaid Expo!

We're taking some time off from our coverage of the world of prepaid cards to celebrate the season with our loved ones. We want to sincerely thank you for your readership, your comments and your participation. We look forward to returning to the world of prepaid cards in 2011!

Here are our top Prepaid Expo posts from 2010:
The 2010 Paybefore Awards Ceremony
Opportunities for Closed Loop Gift Card Growth
The Citi Thank You Network Releases Prepaid Card Rewards

We wish you Happy Holidays!

Share this article with your social network, just click below to share now!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Ramping Up for Paybefore Awards

By Marilyn Bochicchio, Paybefore CEO

The run up to Paybefore Awards is the most exciting time on the Paybefore calendar, because it’s when we receive nominations from organizations all over the world telling us about the amazing prepaid programs they’ve launched to solve real-world payments problems and create new products and services that are valuable for consumers, businesses and governments.

This year, once again, our office was inundated with nominations. In fact, we received the most entries ever. The most popular categories—and, therefore, the most competitive—are Best B2C or B2E Prepaid Program, Best Consumer Value, Most Innovative and Best Non-U.S. Prepaid Program. The judges, who have just received their boxes of compiled nominations, will have their work cut out for them selecting the winners in these categories especially.

The judges are a very important part of the Paybefore Awards process and we ask them to dedicate significant time to evaluating nominations. This year we actually have two groups of judges. One group will consider the “category” awards. The other group—comprised of past Paybefore Awards Industry Achievement winners—will select the next Industry Achievement winner or winners. I think it’s especially exciting that past winners will have the full responsibility of selecting the next person (or persons) to receive this coveted title.

What are the surprises in this year’s nominations? Once again (so maybe it shouldn’t be a surprise) is the number of countries represented in the Paybefore Awards nominations: India, Turkey, Canada, Germany, Venezuela, Poland—to name a few. And, also, this year I’m sensing a particularly high level of energy and inventiveness in the nominations. I’m quite excited about digging into my own two boxes (yes, two large boxes) of documents and getting a better appreciation of the thought and care that has gone into the nominated programs.

Paybefore will announce 51 Paybefore Awards winners (three each in 17 categories) in Paybefore Update in January. But, you’ll have to join us at the Paybefore Awards ceremony and celebration on March 7 at Prepaid Expo USA in Orlando if you want to be among the first to know the programs selected Best in Category and the winners of the prestigious Industry Achievement award.

I hope you’ll join us there to celebrate your own successes in prepaid as well as those of your colleagues!

Share this article with your social network, just click below to share now!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

“Progress in Prepaid” Podcast Series Debuts - Gift Card Promos Grade a “B” for Holidays

By Marc Dresner, IIR USA

With Black Friday and Cyber Monday behind us, and the holiday season in full swing, gift card merchants should be running on all cylinders to get their cards into stockings and under the tree, but Santa’s sleigh may be lighter on plastic than it could be.

According to Rich Killian, founder and president of Orlando-based RK Incentives – a provider of closed-loop gift card sales consulting to several major national retailers – the industry’s overall promotional efforts thus far rate a solid “B” this holiday season.

In an interview for the first installment of IIR’s podcast series – “Progress in Prepaid” – Killian said merchants are doing a respectable job of promoting and marketing gift cards this season, but there is room for improvement.

Killian also discussed the gift card industry’s trajectory in the mobile revolution. It appears we may be farther along than many folks realize.

Listen to the podcast

View the transcript

Holiday Projections & Prepaid Opportunities

During the holidays, merchants frequently move the same volume of cards in three weeks as they do during the other 49 weeks of the year combined, but Killian in our interview suggested they could step up their game.

The difference between an “A” and a “B” may be bigger than it seems.

According to the National Retail Federation (NRF), Americans’ total spending on gift cards this holiday season may reach $24.8 billion.

In addition, the NRF reports gift cards remain at the top of consumers’ holiday wish lists for the fourth consecutive year.

A previous post on IIR’s Prepaid Expo blog noted that the opportunity this year is heightened all the more because consumers are turning to gift cards to avoid overspending or racking up additional credit card debt.

Yet Killian says major merchants – both B-to-C and B-to-B – don’t pay enough attention to gift cards during these critical three to four weeks.

By focusing on the season to an even greater degree than most retailers already do, gift cards may indeed give merchants a holiday reason to cheer!

Rich Killian is the founder and president of RK Incentives, a consulting group based in Orlando, Florida that is focused on improving corporate (B2B) and consumer (B2C) gift card sales programs. Clients include only major National Restaurant, Retail, or Hotel Branded Companies that are interested in improving their gift card business by millions of dollars.

Rich will be just one of many experts featured at IIR’s 2011 Prepaid Expo – the world’s largest meeting for prepaid industry professionals in both closed- and open-loop markets – March 6-9 in Orlando, FL. Register today!

And please be sure to tune in for more interviews with prepaid experts and stakeholders in upcoming episodes of IIR’s “Progress in Prepaid” podcast series!

Marc Dresner is an IIR USA communication lead with a background in trade journalism and marketing. He is the former executive editor of Research Business Report, a confidential newsletter for the marketing research and consumer insights industry. He may be reached at

Share this article with your social network, just click below to share now!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Prepaid Expo USA: Register by Dec 3rd and save up to $600!

This year we have more Prepaid Professionals joining us then ever before – including more retailers than any other Prepaid conference-- attended in 2010, and we are on pace to beat all previous attendance records when Prepaid Expo returns to Orlando. That means more of your business partners, clients , prospects and colleagues are looking to get a leg up on the hot Prepaid industry.

If you haven't yet already make sure to check out our agenda featuring sessions designed to help you achieve profitability and more customers, as well as all new Program Benefits including: Social Media Workshop that gives you a tutorial on integrating Facebook, Twitter and eGifting into your Prepaid program; a Closed-Loop Gift Card Mixer to help our gift card program managers meet each other; Test Drive an Expert private strategy meetings with leading consultants across the industry; and an exciting new Industry Night destination!

Register today and reserve your place amongst the leaders in Prepaid.

Prepaid Expo USA Homepage

View the Brochure

Register by Dec 3rd and save up to $600! Mention priority code XU2448BLOG1

p.s. There are only 3 booths left in the Expo Hall. Raise your company profile by calling our Exhibition and Sponsorship team today!

Andrew Borowiec, +1-646-895-7468,

Jay Williams +1-646-616-7627,

Share this article with your social network, just click below to share now!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Consumers Turn to Prepaid for a Debt-Free Holiday Season

Judging by the lines outside of Walmart and Target this Black Friday it seems as if consumers are en route to spending the same if not more money than they did last holiday season. What's interesting is that consumers are moving away from creating more debt by staying away from credit cards. If you don't believe me you can take a look at these two different reports that proves this theory.

This article in MarketWatch discusses how a recent online survey conducted in November by Harris Interactive for Green Dot finds that most holiday shoppers are shunning away from using credit cards as their primary payment source. The biggest payment sources this holiday season are prepaid cards, debit cards, checks, and cash. It's evident that consumers want more financial control and are making strides in creating a debt-free holiday.

A separate study conducted by the Consumer Federation of America detailed in this article on CreditNet shows most consumers showed an uncertainty in paying off credit card debt, and this is the reason for the sudden switch. So however you position it consumers will be turning to prepaid cards to avoid hefty finance charges, atm fees, and late payment fees.

Do you plan on using prepaid for that flat screen purchase this holiday season?

Share this article with your social network, just click below to share now!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Study Says Prepaid is Primed For International Expansion

By Marc Dresner, IIR USA

If there’s any truth to the old business adage, “You’re either growing or you’re dying, “ then the prepaid industry is living LARGE overseas!

I recently received some topline stats from Mercator Advisory Group’s inaugural Global Prepaid Card Market Potential Ranking (2010), and the numbers make a compelling case for crossing the pond.

While the U.S. prepaid market – with roughly $330B in loads since 2009 – will likely remain the undisputed 600lb gorilla for years to come, Mercator’s results indicate the rest of the world is primed for prepaid.

The study pegged the aggregate prepaid market opportunity for the top 30 non-U.S. markets at a – cough – respectable $762.2B over time.

(Note: the italics indicate a caveat. Mercator emphasized that the figure above and those that follow are based on a series of relative assumptions and not projectible to a specific year, so please do not go galloping into, say, Eastern Europe without a coat and due diligence.)

BRIC markets have captured the attention and imagination of just about every industry eyeing international expansion – and they show tremendous promise for prepaid – but there is a reason they’re still referred to as “emerging” markets. Mercator’s study suggests that, at least short-term, the best investment opportunities lie in Western Europe.

The top five most promising markets for prepaid expansion are:

1. Germany ($111.0B)
2. Italy (100.7B)
3. France ($74.5B)
4. U.K. ($74.4B)
5. Spain ($45.3B)

It’s a political cliché, but this much is true of Europe: government is BIG, as in capital “B” billions big for prepaid. And this trend is not isolated to Europe. Across all 30 markets Mercator examined, government appears to be the best prospect for prepaid.

Global prepaid opportunity estimates by segment:

1. Government ($425.3B)
2. Store Gift ($164.5B)
3. Open Gift/GPR ($59.6B)
4. Payroll ($51.8B)
5. Incentive Cards ($42.4B)
6. Campus Cards ($18.6B)

Of course, the extent to which each of these segments proves fruitful for expansion differs by country and is subject to a plethora of complex market, cultural and regulatory factors.

International expansion is an intimidating and complicated undertaking, but the numbers paint a promising picture for prepaid.

So…to help U.S. players navigate this new frontier, IIR USA’s Prepaid Expo will close Wednesday March 9th with a series of presentations specially focused on international expansion.

If this particular study is of interest, you’ll be pleased to know that Mercator’s director of international advisory services, Terry Xie, will be among those speakers. Xie plans to review the study findings and implications in detail and offer strategic recommendations for prepaid companies looking to cross borders.

Two final notes:

First, I’m sure some of you took issue with my comment about the relative nascence of BRICs for prepaid. I’m just the messenger. India, for example, ranked 13th out of 30 markets studied.

A panel also slated for Wednesday March 9th at the Prepaid Expo will focus exclusively on India, and will provide deeper insight into the country’s growth potential as well as barriers to entry.

Second, if you are not already aware, IIR USA has joined forces with the UK’s Gift Card and Voucher Association to bring you The Gift Card, Gift Voucher, and Reloadable Card Event on March 30 in London. If Mercator is correct, you won’t want to miss the most comprehensive prepaid event on the continent!

Marc Dresner is an IIR USA communication lead with a background in trade journalism and marketing. He is the former executive editor of Research Business Report, a confidential newsletter for the marketing research and consumer insights industry. He may be reached at

Share this article with your social network, just click below to share now!

Monday, November 15, 2010 Giftcards Go Social

Not only can you post generic "happy birthday" on your friends' facebook walls, but now allows consumers to post personalized gift cards on their friends and family members' walls. I know what you're thinking...will anyone be able to to use the gift cards since it's posted publicly on a wall for everyone to see? This post on internet retailer helps to clarify this question.

The answer is no. Even though anyone can see the gift card on the wall, only the recipient has acccess to the amount and claim code. What's interesting is that this is's 2nd move to link with facebook. Earlier this year amazon allowed it's users to sign in to it's website with their facebook profile in order to receive personazlied recommendations on books, movies, and accessories.

So what's next in social for the dynamic two?

Share this article with your social network, just click below to share now!

Friday, November 5, 2010

GreenDot Corp.: Behind the Numbers

Here's a great article about why GreenDot exceeded Wall St's expectations this quarter.

Essentially the recipe was:

An Increase in the Number of Reloadable Cards Issued, an Increase in the Number of Cash Transfers, an Increase in the Number of Active Cards, topped off with an Increase in the Gross Dollar Volume Loaded.

Did I mention Steve Streit, CEO of GreenDot will be interviewed on stage by Fast Company Editor Bob Safian at Prepaid Expo?

Since increasing profitability and volume is at the heart of every session we put together for Prepaid Expo, insights will be shared on how companies like GreenDot do it.

Share this article with your social network, just click below to share now!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Last chance to be in Prepaid Expo brochure: Exhibit today!

Excuse the sales pitch, but we are busy locking in the Prepaid Expo 2011 conference brochure. If you were thinking of raising your profile at the event by hosting a booth in the Expo Hall, now is the time to do it to ensure maximum marketing exposure.

Conference season is upon us! Just looking at an exhibit booth brings up Prepaid Expo memories

For information about exhibiting, contact my colleague Jay Williams :

Jay Williams P: +1 646 616 7627 – F: +1 212 661 3018 -

This is your last chance to have your company name in the brochure, which lands on thousands of desks across the Prepaid Landscape.

Also, there are still slots available to profile your company leaders in our new "Test Drive and Expert" segment, and to give a dynamic 10 minute presentation about your company's latest and greatest achievements in the Innovation Showcase. We look to our Exhibitors to fill in these roles, so call Jay today!

Share this article with your social network, just click below to share now!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Call for Nominations : Paybefore Awards at Prepaid Expo

Prepaid Expo is home of the Annual Paybefore Awards, calling attention to the industry's best and brightest Prepaid professionals and programs.

Nominations are open now... click here to visit Paybefore for details! We'll see you in Orlando in March to honor the winners.

Share this article with your social network, just click below to share now!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Prepaid Surveys... everyone has an opinion

There is no shortage of research touting the strength of Prepaid... and just today, two different reports on prepaid were released.

Prepaid Expo will host no less than two sessions that reveal new US-consumer based research AND a global look at Prepaid opportunities (check as the session information is released).

Who has the most credibility? Who has the best methodology? Let's just hope that the industry lives up to its promises of the headlines of this study, by MasterCard and Boston Consulting Group:

U.S. Branded Prepaid Opportunity Will More Than Triple by 2017, Surpassing $440 Billion
MasterCard-commissioned study shows U.S. market will remain the largest branded prepaid segment in the world, holding 53 percent of overall market share

Share this article with your social network, just click below to share now!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Clear2Pay and Edenred Launch Prepaid Lunch Voucher Program in Belgium Market

According to this article in ecommerce-journal Clear2Pay and Edenred have partnered to release the first ever card-based luncheon voucher in Belgium. The card will replace paper based vouchers and can be used for food purchases at retail stores and restaurants. Edenred has been working on this project with large retail customers in order to ensure that this ran smoothly. In addition to that, the card reduces a lot of administrative support and produces faster payments.

What's in store next for the European prepaid market?

Share this article with your social network, just click below to share now!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Mobile : single most important game changer in prepaid over next 5 years?

Throughout the Prepaid Expo research, mobile payments have consistently been referenced as a hot area for growth for the market. At last week's fantastic Global Prepaid Exchange Retreat in Toronto, mobile continued to be referenced throughout presentations and touted for being the best opportunity for one to one relationship building.

While looking through my notes, I quoted a speaker as having said, "Mobile is the single most important game changer over the next five years."

However, given that so many businesses are struggling to determine what a mobile strategy would look like and what the components would be, can that really be true? The big questions of "what are the in-house requirements" and "what are the POS requirements" in addition to the million details in between (not to mention "what does this do for the bottom line") present major hurdles.

Have an idea of how to discuss this idea at Prepaid Expo?

Share this article with your social network, just click below to share now!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Where is the Money Going in Prepaid

From a Bank Systems and Technology article entitled "Is An IPO in Prepaid Cards a Green Light for Growth?"

A wide range of interested parties are contemplating the growth prospects for future growth in the prepaid card market. The unusual Green Dot (GDOT) IPO that is currently going to market is providing some existing shareholders with the opportunity to monetize a portion of their holdings. Green Dot will not receive any proceeds from the estimated $130 million IPO. Its shares will be available for purchase by new investors and the remaining shareholders will have a market for selling shares in the future, including the prospect of a market priced sale of Green Dot. Some key questions are worth exploring. What is driving the “prepaid card” market? What is the upside? Are prepaid cards destined to become an “every day” high usage card for the mass market?

Aren't those the questions of the day! Pretty much every interview during our research for the 2011 Prepaid Expo program comes back down to those ponderings. Of course the other big ones are "How do I keep these customers I worked so hard to get?" and "What regulation is going to knock our socks off next?"

If you have ideas on who you'd like to hear answer such questions, give us a shout!

Share this article with your social network, just click below to share now!

Friday, July 2, 2010

QR at the Prepaid Expo?

While planning for the 2011 Prepaid Expo, we're looking at ways to keep the event operations innovative and customer friendly. It was suggested that we have some sort of electronic, instantly update-able agenda onsite... like a QR code on a poster.

Among the many things we're looking into for the 2011 event is whether or not enough people have QR readers on their phones-- or would be willing to download a free QR reader-- to have such a code posted around the event. Attendees would scan/ take a picture of the code and automatically be directed to program updates, on the fly. Pretty cool and convenient.

The Prepaid Expo crowd is pretty tech savvy... but is this a little too ahead of the game?* Let us know your thoughts!

*Of course QR is as old hat as the microwave in Japan. It's time to get with the program!

Share this article with your social network, just click below to share now!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Osborn speaks out on Prepaid

Nebraska Treasurer Shane Osborn is persisting in his effort to get rid of a federal financial reform amendment that he says threatens to end the state's ability to save money by distributing benefits on prepaid bank cards. (Full story here)

With Prepaid Expo 2011 being held in March, it should be interesting timing to see regulatory fallout by that time. We're looking to secure voices from government to give us the inside scoop of what it's like to debate prepaid in Washington at the Expo. Who would you like to hear from?

Share this article with your social network, just click below to share now!

Friday, June 4, 2010

iPhone and iPad Users Send and Receive Money with Prepaid MasterCard

This post on PCWorld highlights how MasterCard's new MoneySend application will allow iPad and iPhone users to send and receive money using the phone or tablet. For the time-being, the application will only work in the US and payments can range from paying a babysitter to paying back loans.

In order for MoneySend to work it has to be linked to a compatible prepaid account and users will also need a mobile phone number. There are a lot of opportunities in the mobile money space and it seems like companies are finally starting to understand this concept. Looking forward to seeing what else is in store for mobile users!

Share this article with your social network, just click below to share now!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Summation of Challenges for adhering to CARD act

US Banker takes a good cross-industry look at the fallout of the CARD act on gift cards


But implementing the required changes will be a challenge, and many worry the short time frame for doing so could hurt sales just as the busy holiday season starts to get underway.

"The industry was hoping they could keep the old plastic on the shelf until January because of the holiday season coming up," says Judith Rinearson, a partner at law firm Bryan Cave, who represents the Network Branded Prepaid Card Association and Retail Gift Card Association. Instead, "everyone is scrambling," she says.

Prepaid players such as American Express and Green Dot Corp. prepped for the regulations by dropping fees, adding disclosures or making changes to the expiration dates on their gift cards. Still, many in the industry are worried about upfront costs that issuers are likely to pass on to consumers—which ultimately could dampen sales.


They also anticipate a possible shortage of prepaid cards for sale to consumers, because issuers are going to have to replace cards sitting on retailers' shelves that won't pass the Fed's muster after August.

John Barbella, senior vice president of the payment solutions group at the $2 billion-asset Bancorp Bank in Wilmington, Del., says the main challenge for prepaid issuers like his company is coordinating with all touch points in the gift-card loop—distributors, card associations and retailers—to account for the whereabouts of the stock that needs to be replaced.


Rinearson says manufacturers are having trouble including all the necessary disclosures of terms and conditions on the cards. "The rewards cards have to have the words 'promotional rewards card' on the front—it can't be a sticker," she says. And if a card expires in less than seven years, then there also has to be a disclosure on the card's face explaining that the "card expires, but the funds do not," says Rinearson.

Prepaid Expo
falls in early March next year, so it should be a good time to take a look at the first wave of fallout of the August implementation.

Share this article with your social network, just click below to share now!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Prepaid Expo Europe 2010: a truly international and interactive event

The dust has settled on Prepaid Expo Europe, and we want to thank all of the Sponsors, Speakers and attendees from over 19 countries that helped make our first Europe-based event a great success.

Our much lauded conference Chairs Matthew Lanford of MasterCard and Brian Dunne of Action Solutions guided our 3 days of sessions with passion and enthusiasm, which created interactive sessions addressing the pressing issues facing myriad European prepaid issues

Keynote Speaker Hamish Taylor kicked off the event by sharing his experiences at the helm of Eurostar, Sainsbury Bank, British Airways, to name a couple His imaginative, innovative ways of solving business problems by plucking ideas from outside the industry to solve business problems by identifying customer benefits. These themes of innovation and listening to the customer carried throughout the event, with our speakers referencing how these very ideas should be applied to the prepaid industry.

Among the session highlights: Anthony Olsen of Paypal Europe, Thaer Sabri of Electronic Money Association and Siobhan Moore of Salans took us through the regulatory minefield of doing prepaid business throughout Europe, answering dozens of questions from the crowd. Iwan Mathys talked about the details of his wildly growing prepaid business at Swiss Post with his distribution guru Christian Lindner from Retailo. Tony Craddock of Global Prepaid Exchange hosted a conversation about contrarian views on loyalty and incentives with Mark de Quervain of Vue Entertainment, Niki Akhurst of Smartbox and Kevin Turnbull from Spafinder. Steve Shutts talked through how he and the Norton Group solved Animal's prepaid programme requirements. And the case studies and panel discussions

In addition to the impromptu networking taking part throughout the Conrad Brussels, attendees, speakers and sponsors all gathered for Prepaid Expo's receptions, the highlight of which was MasterCard's Diamond Cocktail Reception. All attendees received a glass of champagne with a stone in the bottom… but only one lucky delegate from Brazil walked away with a real .75 carat diamond valued at 2,700 Euro!

(Right: Attendees gather around the Prepaid Expo jeweler to see if their stone is the real deal! Below: Matthew Lanford of MasterCard presents diamond to winner)

In all, it was a great launch of the Prepaid Expo event into Europe. Have ideas and suggestions about next year's event? Email me!

ATTENDEES: Look for your e-survey in your inbox. Fill out the evaluation for chance to win a free pass to a future Prepaid Expo (surveys must be completed by May 26)

Share this article with your social network, just click below to share now!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Prepaid cards versus rebate cards

In a recent article at Fox Business, they look at the difference between prepaid cards and rebate cards given out to replace rebate checks. Rebate cards are not currently protected by the Credit CARD Act of 2009. Many consumers confuse rebate and gift cards, as they do look similar. But they aren't because a rebate represents free money to a consumer, rather than money that has been placed on a card by a consumer to make purchases. The best way for consumers to avoid fees and expiration on rebate cards is for them to use them.

What do you think? Should rebate cards and prepaid cards be held to the same standards? Or is there a clear distinction between the two? While the money loaded onto a rebate card isn't the consumers, do they still have a right to always have access to that money?

Share this article with your social network, just click below to share now!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Pakistani government to implement prepaid cards for electricity payments

Citizens of Pakistan will soon be paying for their electricity via prepaid card. A recent article discusses the implementation of payment for the utility through prepaid cards. By citizens paying for power through prepaid cards, the government won't be losing money due to electricity theft and individuals not paying their bills. It will save the government money in respect that they will no longer have to find individuals who are stealing electricity. Read the full article here.

Share this article with your social network, just click below to share now!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Which prepaid cards win with consumers?

In a recent article at The Storefront, they reveal the top 10 most frequently purchased prepaid cards by consumers. A survey conducted by Global Prepaid Exchanges shows that these are the most popular among consumers:

1. Bath & Body Works
2. Red Lobster
3. iTunes
4. Amazon
5. Nordstrom
6. T.G.I. Friday's
7. Lowe's
8. Walgreens
9. Olive Garden
10. Home Depot/Outback Steakhouse (a tie)

Read the full article here. Does the ranking surprise you? Are there any cards that were left off the list?

Share this article with your social network, just click below to share now!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

What about the remaining balance on prepaid cards?

An article in the Silicon Valley Mercury News looks at what happens to the remaining balance on prepaid cards. According to the article, laws state that if a balance left on a card is less than $10, then the card holder can request cash. Do you think this is more beneficial to the card holder or the company? If a card holder knows that they can receive cash on remaining balances, will this encourage them to make more re-purchases on those prepaid cards?

Read the full article here.

Share this article with your social network, just click below to share now!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Do you think gift cards will triple by '14?

Hollie Goldman, Conference producer for Prepaid Expo, recently highlighted some key findings from the Javelin report on our Prepaid Professionals LinkedIn group. Here it is below.

The Javelin report discusses key trends and users of prepaid cards and the market forces influencing change in the prepaid space. Javelin forecasts that prepaid usage will more than double by 2014, while gift cards will more than triple — with the latter expected to attain $6 billion five years into the future.

Do you think this will cause gift card usage to change dramatically over the course of the next 5 years?

The article can be found here:

Share this article with your social network, just click below to share now!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Prepaid market falls then rebounds in 2009

The prepaid industry fell in 2009, but began to rebound by the end of the year. US consumer usage fell from 61% from 66% earlier in the year.

According to Mary Monahan, managing partner and research director of Javelin, "Lower costs and enhanced functionality are luring consumers back and boosting the volume and dollar value of cards they purchase."

Read the full article here.

Share this article with your social network, just click below to share now!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Starbucks Prepaid Cards go Mobile

According to Mashable, there are now 1,000 Starbucks stores across the nation located in Target that can sync up with the Starbucks Mobile Card App. The iPhone app can be used to both make purchases and add money to the card.

What does this mean for the prepaid industry? Do you see more companies coming out with apps that will allow one to manage prepaid cards on their SmartPhones? While it's only available at 1,000 Starbucks across the nation, I think many companies will take note and strive to make their prepaid cards available for use in more than one form.

Share this article with your social network, just click below to share now!

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Healthcare Reform, How will it affect the Prepaid industry for those involved with healthcare credit cards and debit cards?

This topic discussion recently came up on our Prepaid Professionals LinkedIn Group and it's one that should be on the mind of prepaid issuers in the healthcare industry. Where do we go from here?

Share this article with your social network, just click below to share now!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Zygna to start providing virtual prepaid cards

According to Virtual Worlds News, Zynga is teaming up with InComm and will be providing virtual prepaid cards for their suite of online games. Prepaid cards are already available at retail locations including 7-11, Best Buy, Target and others. Zynga produces virtual games including Farmville, Mafia Wars and YoVille. Read the full article here.

Share this article with your social network, just click below to share now!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Lessons from a Master Thief... only at Prepaid Expo Europe

New Keynote Speaker Announcement for Prepaid Expo Europe

Hamish Taylor: A “Master Thief” Provides Insights into How to Ensure Long-Term Growth in the Prepaid Industry
Former CEO of Sainsbury Bank and Eurostar shares how to apply innovative strategies to reap the benefits of a burgeoning sector

Prepaid programs in Europe are at risk of not achieving their true potential. Executives anxious to jump on the Prepaid and gift card bandwagon might not be doing the proper due diligence to ensure that what they’re offering is what their customers actually want. Hamish Taylor has sat at the helm of Sainsbury Bank and Eurostar and led branding at British Airways... and his biggest successes with these legendary brands came as a result of applying revolutionary strategies from outside the given industry. His record of innovation by transferring ideas between sectors has garnered him the dubious title of “master thief”—but it is these very tactics from established industries that need to be applied to the relatively new Prepaid space in order to ensure success.

Prepaid Expo Europe is honoured to have Hamish share his amazing and entertaining anecdotes about turning businesses around by going “beyond the data” and listening to the customer. Hamish will offer specific actions that you can apply to your prepaid program to ensure that your strategy is a growth strategy, ensuring long-term market dominance.

View the Prepaid Expo Europe Homepage

View the most up-to-date Prepaid Expo Europe agenda

Register Before 16 April for € 200 off the standard rate, use code XX2003BLOG1

Share this article with your social network, just click below to share now!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

MasterCard and Visa expected to see major profit increases

With the use of prepaid cards growing 22% a year over the next three years, Visa and MasterCard are both expected to grow their profitability. Much of this is accredited to the wide use of the cards. It is believed that by 2012, $526 billion will be loaded on to prepaid cards. Read the full article here.

Share this article with your social network, just click below to share now!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Paragon Dynamix launches credit score enhancement for prepaid cards

As we reported yesterday, a few prepaid card companies are working to help users enhance their credit rating. Paragon Dynamix is one of those companies. In a press release, the company says that the new platform, allows any prepaid debit card with a bill pay feature to be able to report payments to the three major credit bureaus: TransUnion, Experian and Equifax.

“Through a special relationship, we have taken a very complicated (and previously unattainable) process and made it into a simple, once-a-month task for prepaid debit card program managers”, said Paragon’s President Phillip Huston.

The fully functional data-reporting platform is a turnkey solution for prepaid debit program operators. “In designing the product, we knew it had to be easy to implement, be automated to report monthly, and that it had to actually impact an individual’s three-bureau credit score...up or down,” said Huston.

Learn more by downloading the press release: Paragon Dynamix launches credit score enhancement for prepaid cards

Share this article with your social network, just click below to share now!

Monday, March 22, 2010

It’s Coming: a True Credit Builder for Prepaid Debit Cards

GetDebit reports that several prepaid debit card issuers and processors have committed to a new feature that will take recurring monthly payments made on their billpay platform, and report them to the three major bureaus, Equifax, TransUnion and Experian.

The recurring monthly payments (anything with a regular monthly billing cycle, such as rent, car insurance, cell phone bill, utility payments, etc.) are reported as trade lines on each of the three bureaus.

Learn more: It’s Coming: a True Credit Builder for Prepaid Debit Cards

Share this article with your social network, just click below to share now!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Conference Roundup: IIR USA’s Prepaid Expo

by Julie Kurd
Director on CMB's Financial Services, Healthcare, and Insurance Practice

1,700 of us converged in Vegas at IIR's Prepaid Conference in February to talk about this new frontier business, "pre-paid"(think about it as your money (you know, debit) available to you anytime, anywhere).

We used to think of prepaid simply as a prepaid debit card but now the prepaid world is converging with the mobile applications world and a magical thing is the near future you may not need your wallet anymore, because your phone is holding everything, including your money. Some of the smartest frontiersmen and women from the Fortune 500 spoke, presented, mingled and shared thoughts about the world of tomorrow.

When one thinks of the staggering estimate of 70,000,000 people who are ‘unbanked' or ‘under banked,' that is, living paycheck to paycheck, overdrawing their bank accounts to steep fees (if they still have an account), sometimes using pawn shops, payday loans and other financial instruments that come with steep fees, the prepaid world is asking: Why couldn't life be better for these people? Why couldn't the money just arrive on a card in their wallet on payday? Or better yet, why couldn't the money just zip over to their mobile phone?

And if they're transferring money to loved ones in foreign countries, why couldn't you send it via your phone and get a reply message back when the recipient actually receives the money (and what amount they actually received)? Why couldn't governments save millions of dollars by using pre-paid to reduce administrative burdens of check administration?

Many of the leaders in the prepaid industry attended and spoke at the conference. Some of the highlights:

  • Brian Triplett, VISA talked about the broad opportunity to have better public/private relationships and partnerships. He got us all thinking about how we can better partner with government entities in a way to drive better value to the constituent base. He interviewed former President Bill Clinton as well. Together, they explored the central concept of infrastructure and ‘the old way of doing business' being a key constraint as well as how prepaid can transform the administrative burden for the healthcare industry, government payments (unemployment, social security, Medicare, jury duty, employees etc.).
  • Alpesh Choksi, AmEx President Prepaid spoke about how he expects prepaid to transform the lives of people all over the world. He says that the economic crisis has helped with articulating financial security, safety and control which is exactly what prepaid provides. People are now connected to their money in new, non-traditional networks. New devices are being born every day and two-way devices such as phones now allow people to service differently... direct to consumer tailored marketing campaigns based on location etc. are really not at all far-fetched or constrained by budgets or tools anymore.
  • Laura Kelly, SVP of Global Prepaid and Healthcare for MasterCard talked about prepaid as being ‘smarter, bigger, better.' These are not small splashes...Her "Smarter" stood for the innovation as evidenced by the Easy Link prepaid card in Singapore which is both a transit card AND a shopping card. Her "Bigger" is a walloping large payroll program launched by WalMart that saved 258,000 pounds of paper and gas for associates to drive to the store for their paycheck. Finally, her "Better" stood for better for the consumer. She used the example of social security prepaid cards that are now being used by nearly 900,000 people in this country to provide a more secure way of getting money directly to the people who need it without fear of checks disappearing from mailboxes.
  • Farhan Ahmad, GM of Emerging Business at Discover talked about the need to get new innovative products to market in less than 6 months. No small feat for a large company. He and his team are considering mobile payments as an emerging solution that can fundamentally affect the infrastructure for the USA with "better, safer, more convenient access to people's money where/when they need it."
Original Post from CMB Blog:

Share this article with your social network, just click below to share now!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Prepaid Expo team mourns passing of Sir Brian Pitman

The Prepaid Expo Europe team was saddened to learn of the sudden passing of Sir Brian Pitman. We were truly honoured to add Sir Brian, legendary banker and inspiring businessman, to our upcoming program.

Our condolences and our prayers go out to his family and friends.

Share this article with your social network, just click below to share now!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Prepaid Expo USA 2010 Wrap-Up

If you haven't yet checked out our live footage we've captured from the Prepaid Expo USA 2010 event in Las Vegas make sure to see it on the Prepaid Expo website. You'll find a Flickr slideshow as well as some YouTube clips we've uploaded. Don't forget to upload some pictures if you attended the conference!

Also, here's a look back at the Live blog posts from the event.

Clinton Praises Prepaid at Expo

Panel Discussion: Card ’09/Regulation E

First Data to resell DimpleDough solution

Panel Discussion: Managing the Media Landscape

State of the Market: Prepaid Around the World

Developing an International EBT Business: Winning Strategies for Multi-Country Prepaid Benefits

The Value of Data Analysis & Segmentation for Prepaid Healthcare Portfolio

Keynote Address: Robert L. Johnson, Chairman, The RLJ Companies

Government Prepaid Programs Case Study: Direct Express Debit MasterCard

State of the Market: Unbanked & Underserved

Market Focus Session - Implementing Prepaid Payroll in the Transportation Industry: Yellow Cab Co-Op

Panel Discussion: State of the Market Open Loop Programs

The Bancorp Bank Teams Up with UniRush to Issue the Prepaid Visa® RushCard

The 2010 Paybefore Awards Ceremony

Panel Discussion: A Vision of Prepaid Presentation

Green Dot Opening Opening and Keynote Address - How ING Direct Succeeded By Being A Rebel With a Cause: Driving Success Through Innovation

Opportunities for Closed Loop Gift Card Growth

Prepaid Expo USA 2010 Kickoff!

Welcome to the Prepaid Expo USA 2010 Conference!

Share this article with your social network, just click below to share now!

Monday, March 1, 2010

The world’s largest conference company announces the launch of the Performance Marketing Expo to be held this September in Miami Beach

IIR (The Institute for International Research), the company responsible for industry leading brands such as FUSE, Front end of Innovation, The Market Research Event, GAIM, and PREPAID Card Expo, is launching a brand-new affiliate marketing/performance marketing event.

The Performance Marketing Expo, will take place September 27th-29th in South Beach at the Miami Beach Convention Center. Consistent with other IIR conferences, The Performance Marketing Expo features best-in-class educational sessions, industry insider top level speakers, super-affiliates with proven earning power, the premier online merchants and retailers, affiliate networks, and hundreds of affiliates eager to network and grow their business (and their earning potential).

What makes this event stand out from all the rest? It will include facilitated business networking and quality content brought to life by the best storytellers, representing merchants, affiliates and networks.

Stephanie Nelson, Coupon Mom
Todd Martini, Alex's Coupons
eCoupons * MarketAmerica * TrialPay * Parent Media
The program is currently being finalized. For More Information about getting involved, please email or visit our contact page if you have specific questions.

Join The Performance Marketing LinkedIn Group

Share this article with your social network, just click below to share now!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Clinton Praises Prepaid at Expo

Former U.S. President Bill Clinton held up prepaid as an example of the technology available that can help solve some of the nation’s thorniest problems during his keynote address at Prepaid Expo USA in Las Vegas yesterday. “The world is too unequal, too unstable and too unsustainable. The great test for the United States is whether we can find profitable ways to answer the ‘how’ question. Can we find solutions that reduce inequality, instability and unsustainability?” Clinton offered up prepaid as a way to address some of the profound problems facing the country today, calling the industry “key” to helping mitigate those problems. Clinton suggested six ways prepaid could help. He said prepaid could “bridge the gap between the cash economy and the mainstream.” He noted the rise of prepaid in government programs, especially the Direct Express program for receiving Social Security benefits on a prepaid card, calling them a “safer, cheaper and more convenient way to do your business,” that cuts down on overhead for government. Clinton called out other prepaid programs that give teens tools to enhance their financial literacy, make remittances available to immigrants sending money home and, with the devastation in Haiti weighing heavily on his thoughts, a convenient way to provide disaster victims aid. “The Red Cross was able to save $7 million, even before Hurricane Katrina, by replacing the paper process with prepaid cards.” Clinton spoke to 1,700 attendees at the industry’s largest conference just 10 days after having two stents implanted to restore blood flow to a clogged artery.

Used with permission from Paybefore.

Share this article with your social network, just click below to share now!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Panel Discussion: Card ’09/Regulation E

Ky-Tran-Tong, Counsel, Division of Consumer & Community Affairs, Federal Reserve Board
Jon Ricci, General Counsel, Green Dot Corporation
Brad Fauss, Senior Vice President & General Counsel, Springbok Services
Deborah S. Thoren-Peden, Partner, Pilsbury
John Hagy, Chief Compliance Officer, Meta Payment Systems

Talbott began the regulation session by introducing the panelists and then giving a quick recap of the CARD ACT and how it calls for more consumer protection on credit cards and prepaid products.

What is Reg E and the impacts on gift cards?
Ky-Tran-Tong, Federal Reserve Board

Reg E makes it unlawful to sell or issue a gift card that is subject to an expiration date as well as establishing basic rights and principles for consumers. Certain protecting under Reg E might not make sense for gift cards.

What is the scope of this act? What products are included and excluded?
Jon Ricci, Green Dot Corporation

Cards that are defined in the act:
1. store gift cards
2. gift certificates
3. general use prepaid cards

The card act also extends beyond just plastic cards like virtual accounts, instruments that have barcodes, and contactless chips.

What is specifically meant by service fee in the act?
Brad Fauss, Springbok Services

The only fee that is excluded is the initial purchase fee. Brad thinks that Congress did not intend to include ATM fees, balance inquiry fees, and customer service fees in the ACT and it should be excluded as well.

When can the cards expire and what happens to the remaining funds?
Deborah S. Thoren-Peden, Pilsbury

The minimum time for expiration dates is 5 years from the date of purchase for general reloadable prepaid cards. Some states have certain laws that might not even allow prepaid cards to expire it all so it can vary at a state level.

What are some issues with the clear and conspicuous requirement for disclosure?
Ky-Tran-Tong, Federal Reserve Board

It is easy to understand and it is located where consumers can see it clearly. It does not necessarily have to be on the front of the card. Stickers are not recommended because stickers can be taken out. The amount of the fee and the has to be posted as well. It is also required to have expiration dates on the packaging.

Share this article with your social network, just click below to share now!

First Data to resell DimpleDough solution

First Data, a global leader in electronic commerce and payment processing services, is now making the DimpleDough card management and marketing platform available to its gift card customers worldwide.

DimpleDough's card management platform is the world's most advanced, and gives merchants broad capabilities, including: 1. the ability for customers to upload pictures and immediately customize prepaid cards in an easy-to-use web interface, and 2. sophisticated sales and storefront configuration features for business to business and business to consumer sales of custom or digital prepaid cards.

With the combined capabilities of First Data and DimpleDough, merchants will be able to integrate their payment and card management platforms and reduce the time and cost of implementing new programs. Merchants will be able to implement creative card programs more quickly and with greater overall control.

For more information, please contact:
Paul Allen

Press Release courtesy of:

Share this article with your social network, just click below to share now!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Panel Discussion: Managing the Media Landscape

Jennifer Tramontana, Principal, The Fletcher Group, LLC
Brad Russell, Director of Communications, NetSpend
Teri Llach, Chief Marketing Officer, Blackhawk
Stefan Happ, General Manager, Prepaid Cards North America, American Express

Jennifer Tramontana, the moderator for the panel discussion began the morning’s session by discussing how the media landscape today is changing into a more social environment. Press releases should incorporate many multimedia aspects like embedded videos, links, and pictures to engage the audience. Social networks are also becoming increasingly important in order to listen to the customer.

Brad Russell from NetSpend mentioned that traditional media is not going away so social media should augment your media outreach and not totally replace it. Companies can not afford to ignore social media any longer because this platform is on the rise and is not going away anytime soon. Not only should companies dedicate resources, but their time is equally as important because consumers want honesty and truth.

Teri Llach at Blackhawk also mentioned that traditional media continues to be a important tool of reaching the customer but twitter, facebook, and myspace are used to supplement it. Posters, ads, and commercials are one-way conversations and the new age requires two-way conversations that social media entails. Consumers want to have a dialogue with companies and so online, social, and mobile media allows companies to really listen to consumer conversations.

Stefan Happ from American Express began his speech discussing what drives a successful viral campaign. “Buzz marketing” does not drive business results because but word of mouth is the most powerful messaging. Positive messaging and conversations from consumers helped drive the American Express brand before the company started to spend anything on traditional media.

Here's a short clip from the presentation:

Share this article with your social network, just click below to share now!

State of the Market: Prepaid Around the World

Tony Craddock, CEO, Global Prepaid Exchange
Gaetano Giannnetto, CEO, Epipoli Spa
Helen Child, Chief Executive, G-T-P Group LTD
Andrew Johnson, Director General, UKGCVA
Robert Courtneidge, Global Head, Cards & Payments, Salans
Yuval Tal, CEO, Payoneer

Here are some questions asked to the panelists during the discussion.

What have you learned most about doing business overseas?

Yuval Tal, Payoneer
You can’t trust the local post office because of logistical problems. You can’t deal with anything in English in China, you need to have everything localized. One surprise is that people around the world are very appreciative when getting paid with prepaid cards. It gives them freedom to shop online securely.
Andrew Johnson, UKGCVA
If you’re looking to do business overseas especially in gifting is that every country wants to do different things. You have to change and tailor your model on the country that you are issuing cards to.
Robert Courtneidge, Salans
Don’t just assume you can move into any country, always understand local laws and regulations that may interfere with how you run your business.
Helen Child, G-T-P Group LTD
Do not try and go for a one-size fits all in international processing. For example if you’re coming from the US to the UK there is a huge difference even though we might speak the same language. Listen to the people on the grassroots level because they are your consumers.
Gaetano Giannnetto, Epipoli Spa
Every consumer is different by group by consumer level no matter their income, passion, drive, and choices.

Is there any trend to the insurance of gift cards with open-loop?

Andrew Johnson, UKGCVA
From the UK perspective open loop is still struggling. Gift cards are still seen as a last minute gift in the UK and so there is still a long way to go for open loop to be successful.

When launching a B2C product, where in the process do you insert marketing dollars for the adoption of the product?
Helen Child, G-T-P Group LTD
Invest in focus groups before launch to listen in to customer conversations. You need to be practical in how you deliver your marketing strategy. Changing buying behavior doesn’t happen overnight.

Share this article with your social network, just click below to share now!

Developing an International EBT Business: Winning Strategies for Multi-Country Prepaid Benefits

Anabel Perez, Co-Founder & CEO, NovoPayment, Inc.
Jose Antonio Majluf, General Manager, Tebca Peru

The card program which was launched as a joint venture by NovoPayment and InterBank Group in Peru helps to reduce costs for employers and merchants, and provides end-users with a much better way to purchase products. Tebca Peru has an interesting relationship with NovoPayment and InterBank Group. NovoPayment provides the knowledge of how to run prepaid products and provides the platform for running the products. InterBank looks at the card issuing and fulfillment and NovoPayment does the programming and customer service of the product.

Companies when issuing paper vouchers had to go through the manual process of distribution thousands of vouchers to employ. Employers were then able to go to the website and issue cards whenever they want instead of having these cash-like items with no security. The website also allows consumers to check their balances and activity 24/7, A lot of time was spent in education since a lot of the consumers and the market have never used electronics cards before. The initial goal was to issue 200,000 cards and through the partnership they were able to do so within 2 years.

Collaboration is vital in producing great results in international markets.

Share this article with your social network, just click below to share now!

The Value of Data Analysis & Segmentation for Prepaid Healthcare Portfolio

Jody Dietel, Compliance Officer, WageWorks

WageWorks collaborated alongside Visa in order to complete data analysis. We have just begun to hit the surface with data analysis within the prepaid healthcare portfolio. WageWorks identified 8 business metrics that distinguish the performance of employers, and then used the metrics to establish the following segments:

- Number of FSA Accounts
- Year Over Participant Growth of FSA Accounts
- Account Persistency Rate
- Election Amounts
- Elections Amount Usage
- Visa Transaction Activity
- Visa Spend Activity
- Paper Claims Activity

There are different needs for different clients and so for each segment WageWorks established a communication strategy which involved primary and secondary communication. Many people can be in a segment where they don’t use technology and are not familiar with it so it’s the company responsibility to let them know how to use it and where they are able to use the cards.

Share this article with your social network, just click below to share now!

Keynote Address: Robert L. Johnson, Chairman, The RLJ Companies

The conference director for the Prepaid Expo event Jennifer Sobrino introduced today’s keynote speaker Robert L. Johnson to the stage as he was welcomed by warm applause from conference attendees. Robert began his keynote by giving a short synapses of the Expo so far and how the general consensus was of transparency and of full disclosure. Robert gave a short joke that tied this concept in that had attendees laughing.

Robert went on to discuss that the financial industry is going through a tough time and so we need to deliver products that are transparent, cost-efficient, and that respond to consumers’ needs.

Here are Robert’s 3 Keys to success
1. Understand what the consumer really wants and needs
2. Partner with organizations that share your vision
3. Build awareness among all stakeholder

People still need access to reasonable financial products even more so now when times are tough. About 60% of Americans do not have bank accounts or do not use them and so they rely on check cashing, money transfers, and payday loans. These alternatives generally cost the consumer a lot of money in fees. What is not spent in fees by consumers are often kept as cash which is not very secure, it can be lost and/or stolen.

Urban Trust Bank offers several solutions that help consumers better manage their money. The Urban Trust Bank Success Prepaid Card currently targets the underbanked in the urban community. It gives consumers the peace of mind that there money is secure. Robert’s main theme during the presentation can be summarized by saying that there are solutions and opportunities for better money management in the urban community that does not include fees. Companies should be dedicated to really listening to consumers’ needs to provide better solutions for financial services.

Here's a short clip from the presentation:

Share this article with your social network, just click below to share now!

Government Prepaid Programs Case Study: Direct Express Debit MasterCard

Nora Arpin, Director of Government Electronic Solutions, Comerica
Walt Henderson, Financial Management Service, U.S. Department of Treasury
Brian Greehan, Business Leader, Prepaid Products, MasterCard Worldwide

Walt from FMS began by mentioning that issuing checks is highly expensive and so this program is extremely beneficial in cost-cutting. Nora mentions thereafter that there are 2 requirements in creating a system like this and it is to focus on the benefit recipient and their satisfaction, and the 2nd is a robust collaboration and teamwork with a government agency. All great programs with challenges and one challenge is that government programs tend to be unique. Most recipients are unbanked and so they are unfamiliar with these tools. Consumers need confidence in order to use the cards and so there must be messaging that states the Direct Express Debit MasterCard is a valuable and compelling tool. Nora brings up this quote from ex-president Bill Clinton’s presentation yesterday, “Prepaid is an important tool to move people from cash to financial inclusion” and the want to do that is to collaborate with government agencies.

Share this article with your social network, just click below to share now!

State of the Market: Unbanked & Underserved

Steve Streit, President & CEO, Green Dot Corporation
Clay Wilkes, CEO, Galileo Processing
Neil Dugan, Vice President, Global Prepaid Product, MasterCard
Jeremy Kulper, Managing Director, The Bancorp Payment Solutions Group
Scott Scovel, General manager, Financial Services, Univision
Hyung Choi, Head of Consumer Prepaid Products, Visa

Here what the panelists had to say about the following question.
What trends do you see in the future?

Clay Wilkes, CEO, Galileo Processing
There has been significant growth in the unbanked & underserved and we should expect to see that continue to growth. Regulations and compliance will have to be updated within the next 5 years in order to keep up with this trend. As far as opportunity there is already innovation in applications, general managing, and payment processing today. Adoption rates should increase as consumers see the value proposition associated with prepaid products.

Scott Scovel, Univision
Here are three changes that Scott foresees in the prepaid industry for the future.
1. Program sponsors are going to primarily focus on education. We will be investing tens of millions of dollars to educate our consumers about the product.
2. There will be more knowledgeable consumers out there, and because of this more prepaid cards will be sold. Once you understand cards it’s easier than carrying a wad of cash and getting hit with overdraft fees.
3. Distributors will be more willing to carry cards.

Hyung Choi, Visa
More consumers will have adopted prepaid debit accounts as their primary transaction account. There is an opportunity for prepaid debit accounts to play a much broader role than the unbanked & underserved industry. The average consumer is using the debit card more than twenty times a month, and so prepaid will also become just as widely used.

What is the future of prepaid savings and can it work?
Savings is a great ideal and makes a lot of sense but the first priority should always be debt reduction. Prepaid tools prevent the overspending of credit cards and overdrafting of bank accounts.

Share this article with your social network, just click below to share now!

Market Focus Session - Implementing Prepaid Payroll in the Transportation Industry: Yellow Cab Co-Op

McCormack, Vice President, First National Merchant Solutions
Nathan Dwiri, President, Yellow Cab Cooperative

Scott started by highlighting how regulations within the taxi cab industry differs from state by state and so that might affect payroll processes. For example, taxi cabs in Vegas are independent contractors and so companies might be able to get away with more than other states might allow.

First National Merchant Solutions noticed a huge problem with the taxi cab payroll processing. They saw a huge line of about 150 people waiting for checks to be disbursed to them. Many cab drivers were leaving their shifts about 45 minutes beforehand in case they had something to do after collecting their paychecks. After this case study it was obvious that payroll had to be pushed to a prepaid card to ease things. First National focused on streamlining this process for Yellow Cab.

First National was able to eliminate roughly 90% of the cash that they had on hand at the offices to pay cab drivers. Cab drivers also had peace of mind with security offered through prepaid cards instead of having cash on hand. Education should be trickled down to cab drivers as well since they are being transitioned from cash to prepaid cards, and this might be a new alternative for them. They are in the process of implementing similar programs across different states.

Share this article with your social network, just click below to share now!

Panel Discussion: State of the Market Open Loop Programs

Jeff Johnson, Senior Vice President, First Data
Mark Troughton, President, Cards & Network, Green Dot Corporation
Todd Brockman, President, Galileo Processing
Jon Round, Senior Vice President & General Manager, Prepaid i2c
Greg Waltz, Vice President & General Manager, Payment Products, Moneygram
Martin Ferneczi, CEO, Americas Region, Oberthur Technologies
Patrick Brown, Executive Vice President, Emerging Markets, NetSpend

Jeff Johnson began the presentation by mentioning that the state of the market closed-loop gift cards declining. Gift cards are the best burn option for consumers and so a lot of innovation in the supply chain is expected. The biggest growth and innovation in prepaid is expected in digital channels which include social media outreach and publication. Here are a couple of questions asked to the panel and their answers below.

What changes or developments have you seen in your gift card programs over the past year?
The biggest development is in the loyalty space by using the Dunkin’ card and giving consumers rewards and incentives by giving them points. There is a lot of money to be made by franchisees. In the beginning a lot of consumers were afraid of bankrupticies but BestBuy focused on changing their messaging to “buy with confidence.” Outside of the industry there’s still g a lot going on with consumer confidence when there is over 10% unemployment.

What was the most innovative program utilized?
The number one technology was the augmented reality technology. Consumers went online to and held the card in front of the web cam and the box and product would shake. The goal was to bring the customer a more interactive experience to the brand and shopping. It was used to create a bond with the consumer brand the home depot brand. Best Buy launched a national recycling product and developed a process where the cards are recycled into smaller pieces of plastics that come back as gift cards and the other half go into recycling centers.

Where are the opportunities for growth?
The number one focus for BestBuy as a strategy is to go for comScore growth followed by 3rd party extension. International is also a huge focus because ¾ of the marketplace is outside of the U.S. Mobile and loyalty solutions also creates an interesting concept that not many have ventured into yet.

Share this article with your social network, just click below to share now!

The Bancorp Bank Teams Up with UniRush to Issue the Prepaid Visa® RushCard

Wilmington, DE – February 23, 2010 – The Bancorp Bank Payment Solutions Group, a division of The Bancorp Bank (“Bancorp”), a wholly owned subsidiary of The Bancorp, Inc. (Nasdaq: TBBK), today announced that it has partnered with UniRush to issue the RushCard. The Prepaid Visa RushCard has provided access to financial services for the estimated 48 million Americans who do not maintain traditional banking relationships.

“RushCard is a driving force in the general purpose reloadable prepaid space and is at the forefront of prepaid innovation. We are excited to announce our relationship with RushCard and believe that the strength and commitment of The Bancorp will greatly enhance the RushCard offering,” stated Ryan Harris, Senior Vice President – The Bancorp Payment Solutions Group.

“The Prepaid Visa RushCard has enjoyed great success since its inception. We have enabled our cardholders to access the financial system conveniently and much less expensively than other alternatives. By aligning with The Bancorp, we have chosen a viable partner that can take The RushCard program to a new level,” says Ram Palaniappan, RushCard's General Manager. For further information regarding The Bancorp Bank’s payment solutions please contact Lindsey Frank at 952-449-6014.

This card is issued by The Bancorp Bank pursuant to a license from Visa U.S.A. Inc. and may be used wherever Visa debit cards are accepted. The Bancorp Bank; Member FDIC.

About UniRush Financial Services
Headquartered in Cincinnati, UniRush LLC was created to offer the over 48 million Americans without access to a traditional banking relationship an array of basic financial services via the Prepaid Visa RushCard. Benefits of the program include direct deposit, the ability to withdraw funds at over 850,000 ATMs globally, the ability to use the card wherever Visa debit cards are accepted and 24/7 customer service. For more information about UniRush and RushCard visit

About The Bancorp Payment Solutions Group
The Bancorp Payment Solutions Group, a division of The Bancorp Bank, a wholly owned subsidiary of The Bancorp, Inc. (Nasdaq: TBBK), offers secure, creative and innovative payment solutions to the prepaid card industry. As a leading issuer of prepaid cards, The Bancorp Payment Solutions Group develops cutting-edge prepaid card programs that meet the rapidly changing needs of the prepaid industry. Through long-standing relationships with the card networks, leading program managers and processors, The Bancorp Payment Solutions Group designs compliant, innovative and flexible prepaid card programs which deliver outstanding results. For more information about The Bancorp Payment Solutions Group please visit

The Bancorp Bank, Investor Relations
Andres Viroslav

Jessica Smith
The Axis Agency

Share this article with your social network, just click below to share now!

Monday, February 22, 2010

The 2010 Paybefore Awards Ceremony

Here are the best in category winners for the 2010 Paybefore Awards:

Best Consumer-Funded Program
Facecard MasterCard Teen Card
-edo Interactive
-Meta Payment Systems

Best General Purpose Reloadable Program
Green Dot GPR
-Green Dot Corporation

Best Network Branded Gift Program
New American Express Gift Card
-American Express

Best Closed-Loop or RAN Gift Program
Downtown Gift Card Program
-Downtown Boise Association

Best Prepaid Marketing Program
Bonus Alimentacion/Provis Alimentacion
-NovoPayment, Inc.
-Transferencia Electronica de Beneficios, C.A.

Best Corporate/Business-Funded Program: B2E
Payoneer Prepaid MasterCard
-Meta Payment Payment Systems

Best Corporate/Business-Funded Program: B2B
Visa InsurCard Program
-The Bancorp Payment Solutions Group

Best Corporate/Business-Funded Program: B2C
Just Energy Prepaid TruCa$h MasterCard
-DCR Strategies, Inc.

Best Corporate/Business-Funded Program: Transit
TransitChek Card
-TransitCenter, Inc.
-The Bancorp Payment Solutions Group

Best Government-Funded Program
-U.S. Bank

Best Third-Party Retail Program

Best Web Sales Channel
-Blackhawk Network

Best Card Design
Crystal Mosaic Cards
-Perfect Plastic Printing

Best Non-U.S.-Based Program
Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games
-Citizens Bank of Canada
-Vancity Credit Union

Most Innovative Program
NetSpend Personal Financial Manager
-NetSpend Corporation

Best Virtual Card Program
Starbucks Card Mobile

2010 Individual Awards
Talbott Rochue
Senior Vice President, Blackhawk Network

Gary L. Palmer
Co-Founder, WildCard Systems Prepaid Advocate and Entrepreneur

Share this article with your social network, just click below to share now!

Panel Discussion: A Vision of Prepaid Presentation

Following Ex-President Bill Clinton's keynote speech Marilyn Bochicchio, CEO of Paybefore, moderated a panel discussion with 4 industry giants which included the following panelists:

Brian Triplett, Global Head of Prepaid Products, Visa Inc.
Laura Kelly, Senior Vice President, Global Prepaid & Healthcare Solutions, Mastercard Worldwide
Alpesh Chokshi, President, Global Prepaid, American Express
Farhan Amad, General manager, Prepaid & Director of Emerging Payments, Discover

Take a look below at what the panelits had to say about prepaid and where we are today. Enjoy!

Share this article with your social network, just click below to share now!

Green Dot Opening Opening and Keynote Address - How ING Direct Succeeded By Being A Rebel With a Cause: Driving Success Through Innovation

Prepaid Expo officially kicked off with the Green Dot Opening ceremony! The Las Vegas Marching Arts band played a couple of tunes in honor of our armed forces. Take a look below at a 2 min clip of the band:

Immediately following the band Marilyn Bochicchio, CEO of Paybefore and Jill Ozovek, managing director of the finance division of IIR, welcomed all attendees with some opening remarks. Marilyn was able to motivate the crowd by mentioning that we in the industry need to “embrace the challenges of the future and celebrate our success and drive this industry forward.” Jill Ozovek then introduced the expo’s first keynote speaker Arkadi Kuhlmann, President & CEO of ING Direct. Here are some key highlights from his presentation.

Arkadi mentioned that financial services have had a lot of problems having to do with rebuilding trust. Inventions in the last 30 years for financial services have been about bits and pieces, but companies need to act like retailers and think differently. Financial services have lost touch with long term focus. At ING employees and consumers get the same rate, there are no special “employee discounts” and so this helps build credibility for the company. Companies need to go against common practices in order to innovate in these times.

There is lot of innovation yet to be done in terms of prepaid cards. Companies should focus on innovating the product, the process, and finally the customer. Communication and connection with the customer is constantly changing and so the prepaid industry needs to follow that trend. There is room for improvement in card systems, incentive programs, and trade-offs for the unbanked.

What is the being said about the customer when the prepaid card is purchased? The answer to this question says a lot about innovative opportunities.

Share this article with your social network, just click below to share now!