The dominant prepaid card marketers, Green Dot and NetSpend, faced a new and significant rival with the launch two weeks ago of the Bluebird card by American Express Co. and Wal-Mart Stores Inc. Both prepaid companies are expressing early optimism — but long-term uncertainty looms.

“These are clearly uncertain times and evolutionary times for our industry,” Steve Streit, Green Dot's chief executive, said in an earnings call Nov. 1. “We're comforted by some of the earlier polls … but the election hasn't been held yet.”

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