Fis, one of the world's largest providers of banking and payments technology, today announced a new low-cost, prepaid electronic financial account solution that enables consumers to make electronic deposits and payments as an alternative to a traditional demand deposit account (DDA) or general-purpose reloadable (GPR) prepaid card.
FIS' prepaid electronic financial account offering is funded in advance by deposits and value-loading transactions and provides simplified financial services to a variety of consumer segments, including the unbanked and underbanked - collectively defined as the underserved. Because it is not tied to a checking account, this FDIC-insurable account can be offered by both financial institutions and non-financial organizations, such as leading retailers. Unlike a traditional DDA account or GPR prepaid card, the electronic account exclusively supports all forms of electronic payments and eliminates costly paper documents such as monthly statements and account opening documentation.
The prepaid electronic financial account can be accessed via the most common self-service channels including online, point-of-sale (POS), ATM, interactive voice response (IVR), call center and mobile. Account holders can conduct payments using widely accepted payment networks (including NYCE Payments Network, Visa and MasterCard), initiate payments to billers and electronically transfer funds between accounts. Because of its simple and flexible fee structure, the account is cost-effective to own, operate and distribute, making it an ideal financial services product for the underserved segment. The electronic financial account represents leading-edge banking and payments technologies including a comprehensive payment transaction and customer information repository, enabling entirely new levels of customer service.
"Both underserved and traditional banking consumers are demanding the combination of easy, electronic access to banking services and comprehensive electronic payments capabilities - with a straightforward set of fees and costs - to effectively manage their money," said Frank D'Angelo, executive vice president, FIS Payment Solutions Group. "Electronic financial accounts represent a compelling new opportunity for both financial institutions and other consumer-facing organizations to respond to market drivers such as regulation and effectively serve those consumer needs."
With the high overhead and recent regulations impacting the revenues associated with traditional checking accounts, many financial institutions are re-evaluating risk and reward models and looking for lower cost, alternative offerings for marginal and high-risk customer segments. In addition, non-financial organizations are looking to target these consumer segments by developing alternative financial service offerings without building banking platforms or managing unfamiliar regulatory requirements.
"This new electronic account offering solves two major problems confronting financial institutions: maintaining account profitability and how to cost effectively introduce new products that address the needs of the unbanked and underbanked consumer segments," said Tim Sloane, director, Mercator Advisory Group Prepaid practice, a market research and advisory firm.
"FIS is well-positioned to deliver this innovative new account offering by leveraging its best-of-breed electronic payments and real-time banking capabilities from our banking and payment solution portfolios," said D'Angelo. "The introduction of this account type underscores FIS' leadership position as a provider of innovative, market-driven solutions and a pioneer of the next generation of payments."