Sunday, April 12, 2009

Economy Fuels Prepaid Card Demand

Posted by Mark Brousseau

Global economic downturns appear to be weighing heavily on the growth of credit and debit card markets worldwide, while simultaneously fueling an increasing demand for prepaid cards.

Prepaid industry participants however, will discover unique challenges in growing their business in the international markets, according to Mercator Advisory Group.

"Going after prepaid opportunities in the international market requires more than just understanding of the macro-economies and regulatory environments in each markets," comments Terry Xie, Director of Mercator Advisory Group's International Payments Advisory Service. "Fully understanding targeted customers, knowing where they are, and what financial help they need, among others critical factors, are pre-requisites for designing and implementing creative product plans to best serve these customers. In addition, selecting the right sales, marketing, and distribution channels while aligning the interests of different parties involved in a prepaid business ecosystem are often key success factors in serving prepaid customers around the world."

Key findings on the prepaid card market from Mercator Advisory Group:

... Legal, regulatory, and cultural differences in international markets are significant and represent challenges for international players.

... Out-of-the-box thinking is crucial as prepaid business is a non-traditional market for the banks. This gives specialized program managers the edge in competition.

... Innovations in providing prepaid solutions to identify and serve un-meet financial needs in developing markets bring lots of potentials.

... The value chains of the prepaid card industry in different markets tend to be complicated and demand careful considerations in the designing of a prepaid business model. Getting different parties involved and building a business ecosystem requires creative thinking and a willingness to cooperate.

... The design of prepaid card products need to be based in-depth understanding of the market opportunities and consumer behavior. A successful prepaid program will have features and functions that resonate with a large group of targeted users with very specific needs.

What do you think? Post your comments below.

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