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Prepaid Cards: Revolving Income

The prepaid cards industry is often overlooked and underestimated by c-store owners. With over $76.7 billion loaded collectively just in 2014, now is the time to consider selling a product to the 10 million Americans without a checking account may be looking for in your store[i].

Increasing Popularity

In the past few years prepaid cards have become one of the most popular items within c-stores. With huge sales in 2016, prepaid cards are projected to jump up to $337.8 billion in 2017. This would be an upsurge of 420%[ii]. With such rapid growth, this is the kind of reliable product you should be selling in your store[iii]. Prepaid cards have a very diverse customer base ranging from people who have bank accounts and credit cards to those who do not have either. Customers on both ends of the spectrum are drawn to the benefits of being able to control their spending, debt, and fees. With the safety of a prepaid card, customers avoid the risk of overdraft fees or interest charges making prepaid cards a product that sells itself.

A Valuable Resource

“General purpose reloadable (GPR) cards or prepaid cards look and work much like debit cards linked to traditional bank accounts. Prepaid cards can be used to make purchases, withdraw cash, and receive direct deposits”[iv]. This makes prepaid cards a necessity to the “unbaked” or “underbanked” consumer who only uses cash, and they are purchasing them from c-stores. 6 out of 7 people have received their card from a store vs an employer or government entity. With quick and easy activation, these reloadable cards do not expire, making them the perfect everyday spending tool or gift for customers.

A Customer Engagement Opportunity

There are many large c-store chains that have already seen success with selling prepaid cards. Chevron has added their own twist by introducing prepaid rewards card, “this reloadable, prepaid card allows customers to save at the pump every day, with opportunities to earn additional rewards for fuel purchases at participating Chevron and Texaco stations”[v]. This is just one innovative way to truly give your customers more flexibility and value from your store. 7 Eleven has gone an extra step and offered PayPal prepaid cards. The card can be used for online and in-store purchases, to withdraw cash from ATMs, and can be reloadable. These are just a couple ways that prepaid cards have evolved into an even more attractive product.

Getting Started is Easy

Branded gift cards that have a stored value are a great way to introduce prepaid cards into your store. “If a c-store operator thinks about which cards to offer, he needs to pay close attention to what it is their customers are asking for and buying[vi]”. Make the transition easy by advertising with proper signage that are placed in a visible location. You should also have your employees mention the new product to customers, especially those who are already using prepaid cards to pay for their items or fuel. Once you have customers buying your prepaid cards they will become a staple product that will consistently sell.

Overall, the prepaid card is a product that your customers want and you can rely on. With reloadable amounts in the billions, the use of prepaid cards can only grow. Take advantage of this staple product and help make your profits high and more consistent in 2017.

[i] http://www.pewtrusts.org/~/media/legacy/uploadedfiles/pcs_assets/2014/prepaidcardssurveyreportpdf.pdf

[ii] http://www.pewtrusts.org/~/media/legacy/uploadedfiles/pcs_assets/2014/prepaidcardssurveyreportpdf.pdf

[iii] http://www.cstoredecisions.com/2015/09/25/how-to-transition-to-prepaid-cards/

[iv] http://consumersunion.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/Prepaid-Cards-How-They-Rate-2016-07-06-2016-Complete-Report.pdf?intlink=us-bluebird-marketing-home-prospectslp-jun2015prospects-hero-learnmoreconsumerreports

[v] http://www.csnews.com/product-categories/fuels/chevron-introduces-prepaid-rewards-card

[vi] http://www.cstoredecisions.com/2013/11/06/boosting-revenues-prepaid-cards/

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