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Prepaid card providers that offer payroll cards to employers should not focus solely on unbanked workers, according to Mercator Advisory Group Inc. In a report published last week, Maynard, Mass.-based Mercator suggests that payroll card providers consider adding such features as store discounts and messaging to their payroll cards to attract banked customers. The card providers should move beyond offering the card just as a cost-saving tool to employers, Brent Watters, Mercator senior analyst, tells CardLine. Payroll cards can provide discounts for employees and give employers a way to communicate with employees, Watters says. Employers can put messages on Web sites where employees check balances or in text messages sent to employees, Watters says. Payroll cards also can provide employers the ability to pay temporary workers on the same day they work, Watters says. These features can build loyalty among workers and lead those who receive direct deposit to sign up for payroll cards, Watters says. "It is more than just a card. It is a relationship builder between employee and employer," Watters says.

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