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Table of Contents

Lead Story

The dazzling divas of payments

News

Industry Update

Mobile POS payments moving up

It's a card, card world

Fees on unemployment payments opposed

Features

GS Advisory Board:
Challenge breeds opportunity - Part II

W.net's widening circle

Blue skies, green payments

ISOMetrics:
Women's evolution in the workforce

Selling Prepaid

Prepaid in brief

Case study: Government benefit cards

Magnify, refocus, realign

Interactive Transaction Services Inc.
The big bang of prepaid

Views

Show me the residuals

Biff Matthews
CardWare International

Exploring vertical channels

Scott Henry
VeriFone

Education

Street SmartsSM:
A gentle perspective on payments

Kelley Felts
Advanced Merchant Services Inc.

Rough seas for PCI

Tim Cranny
Panoptic Security Inc.

Three areas worth betting on

Lane Gordon
MerchantPortfolios.com

Check 21 POS solutions

Christian Murray
Global eTelecom Inc.

Be an antidote to panic

Jeff Fortney
Clearent LLC

The road best traveled

Company Profile

Smart Transaction Systems Inc.

DCC Merchant Services USA LLC

New Products

Ease and convenience with RDC

Panini I:Deal
Company: Panini North America Inc.

Find noncompliant devices, make money

Product Information Management System (PIMS)
Company: Broadband Central Inc.

Inspiration

The road best traveled

Departments

Forum

Resource Guide

Datebook

Skyscraper Ad

The Green Sheet Online Edition

March 09, 2009  •  Issue 09:03:01

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SP
Magnify, refocus, realign

In a webinar presented by The 2009 Prepaid Card Expo, two industry veterans suggested program managers consider researching opportunities in the international realm. Ray Stanton, Managing Director at Stanton Consultancy Ltd., and David T. Shewmaker, Managing Director Europe for StoreFinancial, proposed that since competition in the U.S. market continues to grow, companies should expand their reach into an increasingly prepaid-savvy world.

"Prepaid is largely a saturated market in the U.S.," Stanton said. "If you go to just about every shopping mall, every retailer within that shopping mall, there is some form of prepaid card. You can't seem to get away from it." The U.K. market, for example, is largely untapped, Stanton claimed. "I think that the U.K. now in particular is in a land-grab type of environment," he said. But for U.S. companies to stake their claims in the U.K. and other international markets, companies "need to have the right products to be targeted at the right time for the right set of consumer habits," Stanton said.

Shades of gray

Businesses must understand the complexities of individual countries when rolling out programs, Shewmaker said. When StoreFinancial rolls out gift card programs in U.K. shopping malls, Shewmaker reminds himself to "always take my U.S. glasses off and look through the eyes of what's going on in the U.K."

As an example, Shewmaker noted that it was cost-prohibitive to roll out one-time-only or instant-issue gift cards embedded with near field communication-enabled chips, but U.K. clerks had been taught to only accept chip and PIN smart cards to minimize fraud and heighten security. So it was "a little more involved" to educate retailers on the benefits of the cheaper mag stripe gift cards popular in the United States, he said.

Legalities

U.S. businesses must also recognize the European market has a complex regulatory landscape. For instance, StoreFinancial had to postpone a rollout of gift card programs in Italian shopping malls because it didn't have clarification on regulations that governed single-load gift cards in Italy, Shewmaker said.

Know thy culture

Cultural differences must also be considered. Stanton said Italy has become a popular market for prepaid cards because Italians are generally leery of credit cards. "There is much more a usage of cash or debit within Italy," he noted. "Coupled alongside that is that the cost of credit cards and debit cards is extremely high. So they want an attractive option.

"Choose your markets carefully. Look to see what the attitude toward card usage is, whether a country is more cash-based, such as the south and the east of Europe, or whether they have an affinity with plastic to start with."

Stanton related a survey that reported only 10 percent of European respondents knew what a prepaid card was. That statistic speaks to the substantial investment businesses must make in education, as well as to the large, potentially lucrative opportunity for U.S. prepaid players looking to branch out globally.


For more stories from SellingPrepaid E-Magazine, as well as breaking news and forums devoted to the prepaid sphere, please visit SellingPrePaid.com.

Notice to readers: These are archived articles. Contact names or information may be out of date. We regret any inconvenience.

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Spotlight Innovators:

North American Bancard | Harbortouch | USAePay | IRISCRM.COM | Humboldt Merchant Services