MasterCard Europe today launched a new guide, A Guide to Prepaid Cards, which provides comprehensive information and advice for consumers about prepaid cards.
The guide provides a wealth of information on prepaid payment cards to help consumers better understand what prepaid cards are and how and when they can best be used, including:
- How prepaid cards work
- A comparison to debit cards and credit cards
- Frequently asked questions
Independent research tells us that by 2010 people across Europe, including the UK, will have a grand total of no less than 360 million prepaid cards in their pockets at any one time. Furthermore, a total of 2.3 billion prepaid card transactions per annum are anticipated by 2010, representing 5% of total card transaction volumes and 3% of total card spending. Forecasts from the research are that annual growth rates of the prepaid card market will exceed 110% for the next five years, and prepaid gifting products alone (card replacement for gift vouchers) are expected to fuel a significant proportion (almost 30%) of the total spend.
Chris Reddish, Head of Prepaid for MasterCard Europe, says: "As prepaid cards become more popular and a more commonplace part of the payments environment so we have an increasingly important role to play in educating people about the payment products that we provide and how best to use them to their advantage. This guide is a valuable source of information and helps to meet the need to ensure that as many people as possible know what to look out for when choosing a prepaid payment card that suits their individual needs."
"The development of the prepaid market is only as limited as your imagination - this is an innovative and creative marketplace where prepaid cards are being customised in terms of specific features and branding to meet the diverse range of consumer needs. MasterCard has already seen some major examples of successful prepaid programmes and the growth of such programmes is expected to continue."
"In light of this growth we have designed this guide to provide a quick and easy introduction to prepaid cards. It provides the infonnformation that consumers need to make informed decisions about the type of card that is best suited to them and clearly explains the various features and benefits of prepaid cards."
Since the first prepaid cards appeared in the 1990s, MasterCard has developed a strong prepaid offering across multiple market areas, including gift cards, travel cards, corporate cards, expense cards and cards for government pay-outs. MasterCard has already successfully approved more than 250 prepaid card programmes in 14 countries across Europe.
Some of the innovative prepaid card programmes that MasterCard Europe has already launched into the market include:
- ABN Amro's solution for KLM, which solves a real business problem by providing a way to give delayed passengers expense money without having to hold large amounts of cash on hand at Schiphol Airport
- Advanced Payment Solutions' (APS) cashplus card providing a payment card for the 'unbanked'
- The Spanish bank BBVA's luncheon card, providing more than 3,000 companies and 15,000 employees with an efficient solution for voucher replacement
- Swiss Bankers easy cash card, which provides an effective travel card solution by allowing wide-spread usage inside and outside of Switzerland at point-of-sale and ATM's
- SEB Kort Norway's gift card, which allows customers to create their own, personal design with a personal photo or from a personal online gallery
- PKO Bank Polski's Municipal card as a money access prepaid card providing a cash replacement tool for the payment of social benefit.