Convinced that consumers know the Brink's name and associate it with strong security, prepaid card provider NetSpend has launched a Brink's-branded prepaid card.
Brink's Global Payments LLC and Total System Services unit NetSpend are not strangers to each other. Two years ago, Brink's established its prepaid payroll card for its employees through the technology and management of Austin, Texas-based NetSpend.
With the launch of the Brink's Prepaid MasterCard, NetSpend expands its relationship with the money transportation service in hopes of tapping the growing number of underbanked consumers using general-purpose, reloadable prepaid cards.
It did not take long for NetSpend executives to be convinced that Brink's is a highly visible brand to consumers, one clearly associated with strong security, said Anh Vasquez, executive vice president of NetSpend Direct.
"During our research it became clear that consumers recognize the Brink's armored trucks at stores or in the movies," Vasquez said. "Brink's has a pull with their specific target market, and we want to add on to that."
Consumers using the Brinks card will have access to direct deposit up to two days faster, as well as 24/7 access to their accounts with an online account center or smartphone apps. Virtual cards for online shopping and free online money transfers to other cardholders will also be available.
The Brink's prepaid card becomes part of TSYS' strategy to partner NetSpend with trusted names in the money transfer market, having also worked with Western Union for prepaid card distribution in the past.
"Typically what happens before we even consider these types of partnerships, we ask what type of customer can this brand pull?" Vasquez said. After extensive research that validates the partnership, NetSpend will determine a name for the new product and how to bring scale in the market, she added.
NetSpend is an experience player in the prepaid space and has a good track record of making its prepaid products grow, said Ben Jackson, a senior analyst at Mercator Advisory Service. "I'm not sure they want to rely on consumer awareness from movies, because how many of those are armored car heist movies?" Jackson said.
More importantly, NetSpend will face a balancing act that depends on placing the card where "there are a lot of store clerks and restaurant workers who may have had an interaction with the Brink's armored trucks and have that association in their minds," Jackson said. "You want them thinking these guys know how to move money securely, so they could do it with my money."
Word of mouth will be an important marketing tool as well, Jackson said. "Brink's drivers who use the payroll prepaid card may inform others in the same financial services group that they should try the consumer prepaid card," Jackson added.
Vasquez did not disclose any special security measures that a Brink's card may offer, but did say the companies are aware of the brand's reputation and "over time, we are going to continue bringing out what the Brink's brand can do."
The MasterCard-branded Brinks card will initially come with mag-stripe technology, though NetSpend will convert to EMV chip cards in the future. "EMV protects the ecosystem, so it will come in time," Vasquez said.
Brink's did not respond to inquiries prior to deadline. Bofl Federal Bank will issue the Brink's prepaid cards.