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Prepaid Rock Stars: Bluebird, GreenDot and Liquid on Growth, Challenges

Prepaid cards are the fastest growing electronic payment method in the U.S., with volume rising more than 20 percent last year, according to Mercator Advisory Group. Other estimates put prepaid purchase volume at $150 billion in in 2013, and growing by another $45 billion over the next five years. But with illustrious growth comes increased scrutiny. In May the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau announced that it would begin formulating rules that would govern the prepaid market.

"The people who use prepaid cards are, in many instances, the most vulnerable among us," said CFPB Director Richard Cordray in a press release. "All consumers need, and deserve, products which are safe and whose costs and risks are clear upfront. Yet right now prepaid cards have far fewer regulatory protections than bank accounts or debit or credit cards. That's why we are launching a rulemaking to promote safety and transparency in this emerging market."

At the 2013 ATM, Debit & Prepaid Forum, the acknowledged leaders of the prepaid card industry in the U.S. will take the stage together, and take questions from the audience. Alpesh Chokshi, President of Global Payment Options, at American Express, will discuss how American Express's partnership with WalMart to issue the Bluebird card is going, just a year after the partnership officially launched. Jon Wilk, Head of Product & Marketing Consumer Bank at JP Morgan Chase, will offer insights on Chase's prepaid Liquid card, which launched in July 2012. And Steve Streit, CEO of Green Dot and the grand-daddy of prepaid, will round out the panel with a discussion of how his prepaid business interacts with GoBank, GreenDot's newly launched mobile-only bank.

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