By JB Donaldson, Vice President, Card Strategic Solutions, Xerox
Prepaid cards have hit the mainstream. While not long ago it was typical to receive funds by paper check, people today are comfortable with gift cards, pay-by-web applications, online banking, direct deposit, and more. According to a 2013 Federal Reserve payment study, prepaid cards are the fastest growing form of non-cash payments. Which isn’t too surprising considering prepaid cards deliver funds faster and more securely than paper checks.
While many companies are capitalizing on the popularity of prepaid, not all card providers are created equal. According to a recent article on paymentsource.com, companies that specialize in prepaid are better equipped to deal with the unique nature of the industry. Focused companies can better track the latest in innovation, regulation modifications and the increased adoption of mobile, digital and virtual payments.
In my opinion, history and experience is key. It’s also important to be sure the vendor can support your constituents. If the support isn’t there from the beginning, people notice – and an initial bad experience can be hard, if not impossible, to overcome. Other items to consider when selecting your vendor and setting up a contract include:
- Statement of work: Provide a detailed statement of work, including your objectives. This way the vendor can affirm their understanding and describe how they will meet the needs of the procurement.
- Experience: Request references and detailed experience in supporting programs similar to yours. For government programs, request government qualifications and references—card regulations make government and commercial programs very different.
- Staffing: Ask for staffing and a project plan as part of the procurement. You want to see the caliber and experience of the team supporting your project and the tasks required to implement the program.
- Orals: When possible, schedule a face-to-face meeting to get a better feel for the card vendor and the team proposed. Ask questions to see if their services best match the needs outlined in the statement of work.
The leaders in the prepaid industry are the technology companies and service providers that are nimble. It’s essential to able to adapt to the constant stream of industry and policy changes as well as federal and state regulations. Choosing a company who focuses on delivering prepaid services as a fully dedicated line of business ensures appropriate resources, corporate investment and collaboration with you for shared success.