Blackhawk Network has rebranded its reloadable prepaid debit card products as it attempts to capture a share of a growing prepaid market.
The Visa-branded PayPower card is the centerpiece of new prepaid product offerings Blackhawk began marketing Aug. 23 to financially underserved individuals and to mainstream consumers who routinely pay using credit or debit cards.
The Pleasanton, Calif.-based company also introduced a prepaid travel card and a Spanish-language version of the PayPower card.
Blackhawk previously for two years marketed the Visa-branded Only1 card as it tried to determine which products worked best in the reloadable prepaid space, says Teri Llach, Blackhawk group vice president of product development and marketing. “Even a couple of years ago, [industry players] were trying to figure out what was the right product with the right features” that would increase cardholder retention, she tells PaymentsSource.
The Only1 cards are still active, but cardholders will have the option to switch to PayPower. And Blackhawk has made a number of changes based on cardholder feedback that it hopes will lead to better success.
The PayPower’s purchase fee is $3.95, down from the $9.95 charge for the Only1 card, and cardholders pay a $5.95 monthly maintenance fee. The PayPower’s reload fee also is $3.95. The Only1 reload fee varied by retailer, and it came with a $4.95 month maintenance fee.
A distinguishing feature for the PayPower card compared with Only1 is a free bill-payment service. Only1 provided one free electronic and check payment per week but charged $1 for each additional payment.
PayPower also features free direct deposit and free customer service.
Iowa-based Metabank issues the card; Blackhawk processes the transactions.
Blackhawk now is competing in the market for reloadable prepaid cards with such established players as Green Dot Corp. and Wal-Mart Stores Inc. Llach, however, believes room is available for more providers to succeed.
“We think there is a big enough opportunity in this market as consumers continue to embrace prepaid,” she says.
Llach acknowledges Blackhawk needs to continue to develop and add more functionality to the card to differentiate itself from competitors. Besides exploring mobile features, the industry as a whole also should examine loyalty incentives, Llach says.
PayPower is available at Gift Card Mall locations, which include supermarkets and drug stores.
The card will be displayed in a separate area from the Gift Card Mall rack, which displays merchant-branded gift cards. “We want to make sure customers know the difference between a branded gift card and a reloadable prepaid card,” Llach says.
The travel card is a reloadable product that has a foreign transaction fee that represents to 2% of the transaction amount. Other features include lost-luggage reimbursement ($250 max per trip, $1,000 max per cardholder) and travel and emergency service assistance.
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