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.

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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.

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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:

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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:

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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:

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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

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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!

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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.

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Opportunities for Closed Loop Gift Card Growth

By David Stone, CEO of CashStar

Closed-loop gift card programs are a key offering for most organizations, and with new innovations available to retailers, these programs present growing opportunities. While the in-store closed loop industry grew by only 1.8 percent declined to about $60 billion in 2009, new channels and opportunities are emerging which will ensure that retailers can continue to capitalize off these products.

At CashStar, we believe that gifting is profoundly personal. In this regard, only closed-loop retailer gift cards can provide consumers with a truly personal and meaningful gift (versus an open loop card they can use to, say, pay the utility bill). With the advent of digital cards, retailers have the opportunity to make these cards easier to personalize, offering consumers multiple design options and the ability to write personal messages right on the cards themselves. Digital cards also lend themselves exceptionally well to integration with online promotions and social media – helping to both drive sales of these cards and engage with consumers like never before across multiple channels. For example, during the holidays, many retailers featured ‘Give One, Get One’ offers online (allowing consumers to get free online gift cards with a minimum purchase). CashStar’s patent pending offer management system made it easy to execute these offers and promotions on the fly. Many retailers promoted these cards on their websites and using their Facebook and Twitter pages.

Closed-loop gift cards are also a retailer’s most profitable SKU and digital gift cards can undoubtedly help drive additional revenue growth with virtually no inventory and overhead costs. Digital cards can be the most profitable sale for retailers. They have much higher face values, no inventory costs and are purchased by and given to more affluent customers, who tend to spend more in store as well.

We believe that the digital channel is truly the next frontier for gifting and those retailers who can harness the new tools available to them, whether online or mobile, will emerge with a clear advantage in the market.

At the Prepaid Expo this Tuesday, February 23rd, at 8:45 am, I’ll be moderating a session titled “State of the Market: Closed Loop Programs.” We will explore some of the latest issues impacting the closed-loop prepaid market, with a special focus on the experiences of the country’s biggest merchants. Joining me will be a panel of distinguished retail presenters including Nathan Ehrlich, Senior Manager, Gift Operations, The Home Depot Incentives, Inc.; David Tryder, Director, Interactive and Relationship Marketing, Dunkin Donuts; Tom Boucher, Senior Manager, Gift Cards, Best Buy; and Michael Hursta, VP, Prepaid Category Manager at First Data Corporation.

These panelists will provide insight on what developments they have seen in their gift card programs over the past year and what some of their most innovative tactics have been. They will also share their thoughts on emerging digital channels like mobile and social media.

It will undoubtedly be an interesting and provocative discussion, and I hope to see you there.

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Prepaid Expo USA 2010 Kickoff!

We kicked off the first conference day with a golf outing sponsored by Carlson Marketing. What started off as a cloudy morning quickly turned into a sunny day for our attendees to socialize and network. Take a look at some of the snapshots taken from the golf course. Enjoy!

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InsurCard Visa® Prepaid Card Issued by The Bancorp Bank Named Winner in Fourth Annual Paybefore Awards

WILMINGTON, DE. (February 22, 2010) – The Bancorp Bank Payment Solutions Group,
a division of The Bancorp Bank (“Bancorp”), a wholly owned subsidiary of The Bancorp,
Inc. (Nasdaq: TBBK), is pleased to announce that Paybefore has chosen the InsurCard
Visa Prepaid Card, which is issued by The Bancorp Bank in collaboration with
InsurCard, as a Paybefore Awards winner in the Best Business/Corporate-Funded
Program: B2B.

Paybefore Awards, now in its fourth year, is the most prestigious recognition of
excellence in the prepaid industry. The awards are presented annually by Prepaid
Media, whose Paybefore publications are the leading source of industry information for
the global prepaid community.

“We are honored to receive the Paybefore Award for the innovation of the InsurCard
Visa Prepaid Card,” said John Barbella, Senior Vice President, The Bancorp Bank. "We
believe that prepaid cards will revolutionize the way the insurance industry makes
payments as insurers seek ways to control payments and drive cost savings while
providing enhanced customer care. We are very excited about the InsurCard program
and we are anticipating rapid growth in this space."

InsurCard was selected by a panel of five industry experts who served as judges for this
year’s competition. A record number of entries from around the world were received.

“Paybefore applauds the leaders in our industry who are applying the flexibility and
appeal of prepaid to innovate on behalf of consumers, governments and businesses,”
said Marilyn Bochicchio, Paybefore CEO and chair of the judging panel. InsurCard has
distinguished itself in a tough field of competition,” she continued. “We are proud to
recognize its contributions to advancing the use of prepaid products.”

Issuing checks has become cumbersome in the world of electronic payments. The
InsurCard offers great benefits for an injured worker or a displaced homeowner because
they can begin using the funds immediately anywhere that Visa debit cards are

InsurCard, which has already been approved for use in workers compensation claims in
38 states, will vie for best-in-category distinction, which will be announced during the
Paybefore Awards ceremony on Feb. 22 at the Prepaid Expo USA

InsurCard Visa Prepaid Card is issued by The Bancorp Bank pursuant to a license from
Visa U.S.A. Inc. The Bancorp Bank; Member FDIC.

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

About InsurCard
InsurCard is a wholly owned subsidiary of Service Network Design, LLC (SND), a
management consulting firm with corporate financial clients in both the insurance and
prepaid card industries. InsurCard Prepaid Cards evolved from SND’s experience in
these industries where the need for new claim payment solutions was recognized. The
InsurCard Prepaid Card was specifically designed to meet the stringent requirements of
both the insurance and prepaid card industries. For more information about InsurCard,
please visit or call 1-800-708-9887.

About Paybefore
Paybefore is the leading information provider to prepaid and stored value industry
professionals, offering the latest news, commentary and analysis. Paybefore’s family of
industry publications include:™, a searchable online information portal;
Paybefore News™, daily news briefs delivered electronically; Paybefore News
International™, a weekly compilation of prepaid news and events from outside the
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The Bancorp Bank
Andres Viroslav

J. Robert Mendte

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Genpact: Opening the Door to Opportunity

How can you say no to the fastest-growing market segment in the U.S.? The prepaid credit card industry presents a timely and high-potential opportunity for businesses looking to grow with this market. But many providers, faced with low customer loyalty, demanding regulations, high service costs, and cutthroat competition, have to wonder: How can we say yes?

By driving down the cost of service delivery while improving customer relations, Genpact helps our clients say yes to opportunity—and this is a big one. The pre-paid credit card industry is projected to grow at over 20% per year for the next 5 years, with some provider programs growing at over 40% per year.In other words, opportunity is knocking.There are, however, some key challenges to opening that door, namely how to reduce the cost of servicing customers to allow for greater revenue generation. Genpact offers in-depth operations expertise and an infrastructure that can scale quickly, along with a best-in-class customer service operation that not only takes the administrative load off your team and frees your resources for other business operations, but enhances retention and higher revenue per card holder through
superior customer care and education.

The Key to Profitability
Vendors in this market have plenty of competition. Customers are fickle and retention is key, but simply growing the customer base without increasing service efficiencies does not improve the profit margin. The only way to maximize on the growth potential in the prepaid card industry is to drive down the total cost of operations while driving up customer loyalty.

Learn more: Download the Genpact Brochure Here

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Welcome to the Prepaid Expo USA 2010 Conference!

We are here live from the Prepaid Expo USA 2010 Conference in Vegas, making final preparations for the opening of this year's conference. As readers of this blog we offer you an opportunity to share in some of the great presentations and information from the conference. This year to help you stay informed and in the loop of everything that is happening here at Prepaid as it is taking place, we have several tools in place like live blog posts, twitter updates, photos from Flickr, daily emails, and discussions in our LinkedIn group that we will continue to post throughout the event. Don't forget, if you're attending the conference and twittering, use #ppexpo in your tweets to share in the conversation.

We plan to be live-blogging throughout the conference, so be sure and subscribe to our RSS feed to continuously receive updates direct from the conference. The conference is scheduled to begin tomorrow afternoon, but we've captured some footage of the setup here in Vegas. Here's a look:

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Thursday, February 18, 2010

Archived Web Seminar: The Evolution of Global Prepaid Through Innovation

For those of you who missed the chance to view the live web seminar yesterday here's your chance to view it at your own leisure. Enjoy the hour long seminar!

Watch the archive

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Live from Prepaid Expo USA Next Week!

Just a reminder that we will be live-blogging from Prepaid Expo USA next week and twittering so make sure to follow us and tweet along if you are attending. Make sure to add the hashtag #ppexpo. Hope to see you there!

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Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Using Digital Gift Cards as a Last Minute Sales Tool

By David Stone, CEO of CashStar

This past holiday season retailers in all verticals turned to gift cards to drive sales, and the results of those sales are no more evident than in the months of January and February when customers return to redeem their cards. In particular, many retailers took the plunge into digital gifting this past holiday season and leveraged these new channels to engage with their consumers and to drive incremental sales

CashStar recently aggregated the data from tens of thousands of customers purchasing millions of dollars worth of gift cards on our digital gifting and incentives platform this holiday season. The data showed that online gift cards proved to be a profitable last minute sales tool for retailers. In fact, Christmas Eve was the highest selling day of the year, with 39 percent being purchased after 6pm Eastern.

Online gift card sales increased more than twelve-fold (1129 percent) between Black Friday (November 27) and Christmas Eve. Sales increased 682 percent between the first week of December and Christmas Eve.

Other interesting results from the 2009 holiday season included:

  • Of those consumers who purchased online gift cards on Cyber Monday, 15 percent chose to send the card at a later date and overall nearly one in five purchasers (18 percent) opted to send online gift cards at a later date
  • This past year more than 97 percent of all CashStar-powered gift cards carried a personalized message right on the card, as consumers utilized CashStar’s best in breed personalization tool set.
  • On average, more than one in eight consumers uploaded their own photo or image as their gift card design for an increased level of personalization.
  • For the week of Christmas, the average face value of CashStar gift cards was 69 percent higher than the industry average for specialty retail gift cards and 151 percent higher for general gift cards (compared to sales info provided by First Data). This trend represents a demographic of affluent, Internet-savvy female buyers in the 31-50+ age range, who are more likely to purchase digital gift cards
The power of the digital channel lies in the flexibility and immediacy with which it can engage consumers. At CashStar, we also tested new marketing and social media efforts that, combined with our clients’ own promotional efforts and the highly personalized features of our platform, created major sales spikes and helped attract new customers.

These results are a critical point for retailers to consider as they move into planning their gift card programs for the next key sales dates such as Mom, Dads, Grads and the summer wedding season. Digital gifting can be the pivotal driving force in generating new more profitable sales and a powerful new way for retailers to engage with their consumers.

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Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Reminder: Free Web Seminar - The Evolution of Global Prepaid Through Innovation

Date/Time: Wed, Feb 17, 2010 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM EST
Mention priority code U2229W1BLOG

SCL & Visa will be presenting their collective experience in the world of prepaid, focussing on the theme of innovation.

As well as the technical innovation that both organisations can demonstrate their leadership in, the presenters will also chart the evolution of prepaid programmes in terms of product innovation, covering all prepaid categories from Giftcards to Multi-function event & transit cards.

The webinar will also highlight innovation in evangelising prepaid into new markets and examine some of the adaptations that are needed to specialise or localise programmes to cater for the differing perceptions, attitudes and market conditions in previously un- or under-served territories.

Similarly, it will focus on the migration of prepaid from the world of retail into different areas such as government, healthcare, insurance, entertainment and transport.

The theme of innovation will be illustrated throughout with real-world examples from both organisations.

What you will learn from attending:

Understand the role innovation has played in the growth and development of the prepaid market
Hear real life case studies of how innovation has been used
See the latest developments in prepaid and hear what's coming next

Featured Speakers:
Pat Roe, Sales Director, SCL
Greg Sheppard, Senior Manager Prepaid Centre of Excellence, Visa Europe
Brian Triplett, Global Head of Prepaid, Visa

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Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Atlantic Zeiser to Present Drop On Demand Printing Technology at Prepaid Expo 2010

We're pleased to announce that Atlantic Zeiser, a German payment card personalization provider, will present its new drop on demand printing technology at the PrePaid Expo in Las Vegas later this month.

Prepaid Expo Event
February 22-24, 2010
Las Vegas

Brochure Download
Register Today

According to Atlantic Zeiser, its new two-sided drop on demand CARDLINE VERSA solution enables increased prepaid card volumes and lower card costs, eliminating the need for expensive and time consuming embossing or thermal applications.

Learn more: Atlantic Zeiser to present new card printing tech

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Tuesday, February 2, 2010

RBC/Visa Offer Prepaid Cards for Vancouver 2010 Olympic, Paralympic Winter Games reports that RBC Royal Bank said athletes, coaches and team officials attending the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games will be able to purchase beverages with a simple wave of the hand by using its special contactless Visa Prepaid Card The contactless Visa card, shaped like a Coca-Cola contour bottle, uses Visa payWave technology and is not linked to a credit card account.

RBC Royal Bank claimed that the preloaded cards will provide athletes with access to Coca-Cola brand beverages at vending machines in official venues for the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, including the Olympic and Paralympic villages in Whistler and Vancouver.

Are any other banks offering prepaid plans for the Olympic games?

Learn more: RBC to offer contactless Visa prepaid card at Vancouver 2010 Olympic, Paralympic Winter Games

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