Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Prepaid Profile: Alex Hunter

Alex Hunter is the keynote speaker at next week's The Gift Card, Gift Voucher and Reloadable Card Summit in London.

For those of you not familiar with Alex Hunter, we present his Prepaid Profile:

Alex Hunter is the former Global Head of Online Marketing at the VIRGIN GROUP, and Brand Consultant and Digital Marketing Guru.

He "served as an adviser to the Prince of Wales’ Rainforest Trust specifically around the use of social media and was featured in the best-selling book The Whuffie Factor. He is a SeedCamp mentor, who splits his time between the UK and Northern California and regularly blogs at TripHunter, which combines tech with global travel."

You follow him on Twitter @cubedweller and check out more of his work below:
Brand Reputation Management 
The DOs and DO NOTs of Brand

Alex Hunter will be sharing his ideas on social engagement, digital marketing and the leveraging user-driven content vis a vis Prepaid inititatives and powering brands during his discussion on Harnessing the Power of the Social Web to Take on the World: Customer Loyalty in the Digital Age on March 30th at The Gift Card, Gift Voucher and Reloadable Card Summit.

We hope to you there and look forward to your feedback.

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Thursday, March 17, 2011

Countdown to the Gift Card, Gift Voucher and Reloadable Card Summit

There are only 2 weeks left until the first annual Gift Card, Gift Voucher and Reloadable Card Summit, brought to you by Prepaid Expo and The UK Gift Card & Voucher Association.

This one of a kind event will give you insight into the future of gift card technology, distribution, loyalty and more.

The Gift Card, Gift Voucher and Reloadable Card Summit features speakers and attendees from the biggest players in the industry from around the globe including:

The UK Gift Card & Voucher Association, Tesco, Ceridian Stored Value Solutions, Wal-Mart, Western Union, MasterCard Europe, Blackhawk Network, ePay, CPI Card Group, Global Prepaid Exchange, Retail Gift Card Association, Financial Services Authority, Visa Europe, O2 Media, Ernst & Young, Prepaid International Forum, JC Penney, HM Treasury, First Data, MoneyGram International, Bonago Incentive Marketing Group, Galeria Kaufhof, CashStar and more…

Special rates are available for UKGCVA Members.

* You can also register for Global Prepaid Exchange’s half day workshop on 29 March entitled Limited Networks: A Bonus For European Retailers from 2EMD.

Click here to view the agenda and sign up today, we'll see you there!

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Wednesday, March 16, 2011

News from the Frontlines: Prepaid Cards in Times of Crisis

AT&T Inc. is distributing 10,000 prepaid cards to U.S. military supporting efforts in Japan.

Visa Expands Personal Payment to the World: Read more at Mybanktracker and Techcrunch.

Ohio State gives $25,000 for Flood Relief

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Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Live from Prepaid Expo 2011: New Photos on Flickr

Have you joined our PrepaidExpo group on Flickr? View the new photos as we add them and add your own!

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Live from Prepaid Expo USA 2011: Keynote Speaker, Robert Safian (Editor of Fast Company)

Day 2 of Prepaid Expo USA kicked off with Robert Safian's , Editor and Managing Director, FAST COMPANY, Keynote "Thriving in a Competitive Market: Innovating to Survive in a Fast Changing Economy."

He explained change and the role it plays in business:

Don’t pay attention to what competitors are doing.

They do fantastic work but when you pay too much attention to them, you get distracted.

He has talked to a lot of businesses about the next great depression but no one he spoke to was doing worse than ever. He found instead that media was losing its focus.

So what should companies do to in order to be a fast company:
1. Who are your future customers & who are your future employees?
2. What will be your future tools & services? i.e.,Facebook…
3. Are you pursuing a growth mindset? Are you testing? Pursuing new things?

No one thinks of their company as innovative, not even CEOs.

Fixed mindset vs. Growth mindset

Charles Darwin: “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change.”

He then sat down for a "Live Interview, Behind the Scenes of a Fast Company: Q&A with Steve Streit, CEO, Green Dot:"

Green Dot considers itself a mission driven company – to provide low cost FDIC insured prepaid cards to the underbanked community.

There was no retail category when Green Dot began. Steve Streit, a former radio jockey, initially started a net company called Kids browsed but didn’t make purchases because they had no access to credit card, which gave him the idea for a prepaid card. He and his partner went from business to business, pitching their idea.

Starting Green Dot he noted was incredibly hard and painful, lot of personal sacrifice, not sexy, and incredibly hard.

"Desperation is a great motivation."

But in the end, they launched a great service that continues to strive toward innovation. They want to be innovators. They are not a prepaid company, but rather want to make people’s lives better, easier. Their moral compass is directed toward their responsibility to their customers. That's what works for them.

How are you working to become an innovator in the prepaid industry and how are you putting your company to work for your customer?

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Monday, March 7, 2011

Live from Prepaid Expo USA 2011: Government Update - Panel Discussion

The Commonwealth of Virginia has started using prepaid cards to help get money into the hands of the people of who needed them. One reason was cost savings, savings of up to .60 cents an item, a typical direct expense on payment mechanisms.

Challenges faced:
Looking for solutions to move from paper:
Went to payroll started a pilot program there
Presented the business case to start the programs, lots of benefits from a benefits standpoint but the challenges involved getting the resources needed.

What are the benefits for cardholders?
Single parent households can buy school supplies or clothes via the internet. Senior citizens with mobility issues can order groceries or prescription medicines via the web. Might other be dependent on others for such things.
Homeless could purchase a hotel room for the night.
Unemployed might buy a suit.
Child support - separate accounts.

Prepaid cards improve people’s lives.

There has been an acceptance increase because of the unfortunate state of the economy, more people in need now than before.

Elements of best practices for cardholders and agency?
Insurance, protection, safety and convenience, ease of disputing purchases, pay bills, web purchases, balances, help manage money, lower fees. There is a deed for education and engagement. Clear, simple directions for consumers.

What challenges does an organization face selling prepaid card programs to the public sector?
Market competition is fierce, lots of very skilled players
Synchronicity between state, treasury and agency.

Durbin Bill Impact:
Macro level – law of the land even if you are uncomfortable with it.
Is the exemption meaningful?

Innovations for the future?
Single use card for tax returns, financial savings programs - beneficial for public sector

New agencies – collaboration of agencies

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Live from Prepaid Expo 2011: General Colin Powell

We're in Orlando, blogging directly from Prepaid Expo 2011 and Gen. Colin Powell is on stage delivering his keynote address: Leadership: Taking Charge:

“One day, you’re secretary of staff and one day, you ain’t.” He's just another regular guy now but here is what he's learned about the world, leadership, and business along the way.

He enjoys speaking because he stays in touch with reality the nation is facing by connecting with people outside of DC.

"There is still a confidence in our country. We will come through because of a deep faith in our country, because of who we are."

"Comprise, consensus and keep the country moving forward like our founding fathers did."

He is a VC now. Where is technology taking us he wonders? He does it to keep up with a world that is increasingly digital. In order to keep up with his grandchildren.

“Papi, gotta get you a twitter and a facebook page” [His 16-year old grandson tells him.]

His organic facebook page garnered 30k fans on its own before he was aware it existed.

“Never believe you can’t make it!”

“Don’t miss what it is behind you, always look through the front windshield of life.”

All the barriers that use to keep people separated are now gone.

Every nation touches us, we touch every nation, that is what makes the united states great.

We cannot change who we are. We cannot let terrorists change us.

How do you inspire followers? How do you get people to do what you want them to do?
They need goals and vision.
Something they can believe.
Purpose is even better.

But how can we offer them something purposeful to believe in?

Higher purpose for prepaid? How will you better the lives of those who use your prepaid services?

And: How are you going to take care of your staff?

Believe in another human being: give them what they need to accomplish the job they need to get done.

Selflessness, moral courage, ethics, integrity are what makes great leaders. Troops will follow whole-heartedly.

Commend your staff: tell them they are doing a great job.

You know you are doing a good job, when your team follows you no matter what because they trust you.

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Friday, March 4, 2011

“Progress in Prepaid” Series Asks: To Swipe, Or Not To Swipe?

A look at mobile migration, fraud, closed- and open-loop convergence, and the technological crossroads impeding progress

By Marc Dresner, IIR USA

You’ve arrived just in time for an in-flight podcast. Fasten your seatbelts!

With less than a weekend standing between us and Prepaid Expo 2011, I would like to offer some fodder for the numerous networking conversations you’re about to have.

My guarantee to you:
Not only will episode four – a two-part podcast interview for IIR’s “Progress in Prepaid” series – lend a spark to many a smart, caffeinated exchange, BUT as an added bonus, you air travelers can forgo that inane in-flight movie and stimulate your brains, instead!

Episode four of “Progress in Prepaid” features a two-part interview with Jonathan Treiber, CEO of RevTrax.


• The line between association-branded prepaid and closed-loop cards is blurring, with open-loop products increasingly resembling closed-loop

• Non-swipe technologies are actually less expensive than conventional terminals and boast broader usage options for merchants, but who’s going to pay for this overhaul? Associations and banks can’t foot the bill indefinitely. When will merchants ante up? The answer rests with adoption, but is it the chicken or the egg?

• Join the cloud crowd: Alleviating security concerns en route to the plastic-free future may require some form of dynamic number generator via mobile Internet or a bar code format

• Analysts agree: consumer adoption trends for mobile-based payments are going to grow by several multiples by the end of THIS year

• Ironically, association-branded card contracts and merchant agreements may be a key barrier preventing merchants from accepting non-plastic payments and must be revised in step with the pace of technology – and ahead of adoption

• Out with the old fraud, in the new (and not so new): we’ll review strategies for mitigating various emerging risks

I trust I've given you enough to chew on, so I'll say thank you, and I look forward to seeing you next week at the world’s largest gathering for network-branded prepaid and stored-value decision professionals. It’s going to be a BIG year!

To listen to Part One of our podcast click here or to download the transcript, please click here.

To listen to Part Two of our podcast click here or to download the transcript, please click here.

Editor’s note: Want to learn more or meet Jonathan Treiber? He will be presenting on “The Realities of Fraud in Prepaid: New Technologies that Mitigate Financial Liability” on Tuesday afternoon, March 8th.

Visit for details.

About the Author/Interviewer

Marc Dresner is IIR USA’s communication lead specializing in audience engagement 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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Thursday, March 3, 2011

Drivers Wanted: Test Drive An Expert at Prepaid Expo USA

They’re not sports cars, but they are high-performance – and they’re at your disposal!

The prepaid industry is undergoing dramatic change: regulatory, technological and socio-economic.

For those in need of guidance, we’ve developed a quick, painless solution!

Prepaid Expo 2011 is featuring a novel, free advisory service designed to provide answers to your burning questions – the kinds of questions to which you would normally seek answers by networking.

No selling. No obligation. Just expert advice from real pros!

We’ve hand-selected ten prepaid industry experts, each of whom is an authority in a specific area: marketing and promotion, regulatory compliance, performance management, partnering, processing, talent recruitment and much more!

They’ve agreed to let you pick their brains, one-on-one, in a special by-appointment-only forum on Tuesday March 8 from 3-4 PM in the Prepaid Expo exhibition hall.

Consultations last 15 minutes, and space is limited.

You have questions. “Test Drive An Expert” can help get you the answers you need!


Register today, before it’s too late!

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