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Pre-paid cards a real cash rival?

Following on from Navjeet’s post on the enduring popularity of cash, a serious digital rival looks to be emerging, at least if you believe the forum's panel discussing innovations in payments technology. 

A venture capitalist in the audience asked what sort of exciting new technology start-up he should be looking to invest his money in. The panel all seemed agreed that pre-paid is the future.

In fact one member, Paul Makin from Consult Hyperion, said the one product on earth he most wants to see is a pre-paid card he can give to his kids.

Makin made it pretty clear he can’t stand cash and the only time he ever visits an ATM is to get the kids their pocket money - if only he could hand over a pre-paid card instead, life would be blissfully free of notes and coins.

Whilst I don't share his desperate aversion to spending 30 seconds at the cash machine, there’s no doubt a big and growing market is out there for pre-paid cards.

There seems to be an awful lot of niche target groups, including the 'youth' market, travellers and Muslims looking for shariah compliant money.

I could list hundreds of press releases we receive here at Finextra on pre-paid card launches and it's no surprise when you consider a report last year from Boston Consulting Group predicted the European market will be worth $164 billion by 2010, with the UK making up $34 billion of this.



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