For governments, cash can be hard to control. They may want to make sure it finds its way into the right hands and is used for the right purposes. Paying benefits or allowances onto a prepaid card gives back a measure of control and makes distribution simpler. Cards can be raised quickly for specific events – for instance in the US, prepaid cards were used to distribute money to those worst affected by Hurricane Katrina.
Retailers are keen to remove cash from the equation too, especially in situations where cash is just inconvenient such as fast food outlets or any high throughput outlet. Combine a prepaid card with contactless card technology which doesn’t require a pin number or authorisation, and the transaction process becomes even quicker and less labour intensive.
The list of potential applications is expanding rapidly. Nearly 30 separate uses have been identified. From gift cards in stores to foreign currency cards that offer consistent rates of exchange; from money remittance cards to cards with other electronic money technology attached, such as e-wallets and e-purses.
FIS is a pioneer of prepaid card processing. Since we launched the UK’s first prepaid card in conjunction with MasterCard in 2005, its popularity has risen at a dramatic rate. We now develop prepaid card solutions across Europe and the world, handling over 100 million cards.