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Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Visa approves prepaid card dispensing ATM technology

Mesa, Ariz.-based ATM technology developer Better ATM Services Inc. reported from the 2012 ATM, Debit & Prepaid Forum in Las Vegas that Visa Inc. had approved the company's prepaid card ATM dispensing technology. Visa's go-ahead means that all financial institutions (FIs) that issue Visa-branded payment cards in the United States can equip their ATMs with the technology to allow the machines to dispense Visa-branded prepaid cards, according to Better ATM Services Chief Executive Officer Todd L. Nuttall.

"Any bank that has a Visa relationship can now leverage ATM issuance of prepaid as part of its channel," Nuttall said. "So it opens up literally every institution and prepaid program manager to extend their [prepaid] programs to the ATM."

In late 2011, Better ATM Services entered a pilot program for its new technology at financial institutions in Arizona. The company said the enthusiastic response the pilot garnered from consumers and FIs prompted Visa to make the decision to expand the program nationwide.

Better ATM Services' technology integrates into new and existing ATM models, allowing Visa prepaid cards to be dispensed via cash trays. Bank customers can load any amount onto prepaid cards, such as Visa-branded gift cards. The cards are dispensed as "sheets" of three different "panels." The first panel is the card; the second panel contains customer service information and fee disclosures; and the third panel can offer targeted incentives and promotions.

For consumers, the main advantage of ATMs dispensing prepaid cards is convenience. Instead of having to go into gas stations or supermarkets to purchase gift cards, consumers can just pull up in their cars to ATM drive-thrus to make those purchases, Nuttall said. "If you're a bank that has your card program behind the counter, it's still there for your customers," he added. "But now you can also put it in your ATM… You are now more convenient than a convenience store or big box store."

Additionally, the solution opens up a new sales channel for ISOs. "The ISO world is hungry for an additional revenue stream," Nuttall said. Better ATM Services is partnering with ISOs that have established prepaid marketing channels with banks, he noted. Such ATM ISOs can thus benefit from the program to reduce the costs of handling cash. "It's a huge cost reduction with recurring revenue potential for ISOs," Nuttall said. "So we know in the long run it's a very big play for ISOs." end of article

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