Pre-Paid Cards Reach Out to the Unbanked
Retail Delivery News (08/16/00) Vol. 5, No. 17 p.A1; Rosenberg, Sharon Harvey

Recently, three new prepaid debit cards were brought out that provide banks with the chance to market services to consumers who do not possess a bank account. The cards look and work like standard debit cards, with the primary difference being that they draw on a limited amount of funds that can be preloaded at various kinds of locations. Western Union Financial Services, a subsidiary of Atlanta-based First Data, and Memphis, Tenn.-based Revelation America, a church organization that provides financial services and affordable housing to inner-city America, have introduced a co-branded MasterCard aimed at unbanked adults. The two other prepaid debit cards brought out recently are targeted at individuals who do not yet have a bank account, specifically college students and teenagers. Visa USA and U.S. Bancorp will shortly offer the Visa Buxx, which is a parent-authorized, reloadable, prepaid payment card. The College Parents of America, a Washington D.C.-based national membership association dedicated to helping parents prepare for and finance their children's way through college, and MasterCard are offering a card that operates just like a regular debit or credit card. In addition, just like Visa Buxx, this card allows students and parents to view the cardholder's spending habits over the Internet. None of the cards extend credit.


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