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!

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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!

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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

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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,

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