The Green Sheet Online Edition
December 10, 2012 • Issue 12:12:01
Why get into prepaid?
I signed with a medium-sized ISO in the Midwest. I would say the company is stuck in its ways, you know, very resistant to change. I've been reading your other website, Selling Prepaid, and hearing a lot about prepaid cards lately and the opportunity there.
The ISO offers a standard gift card program to merchants, but nothing else. I would like to approach my ISO with a prepaid card solution that they could integrate into their processing services, but I don't know what to suggest or how to explain why it makes sense. Can you help?
The Green Sheet established Selling Prepaid to help ISOs and merchant level salespeople (MLSs) like yourself break out of the credit/debit card box that has been quite successful, but may be limiting in the future.
The secret to prepaid is its "plastic" nature. Prepaid programs with prepaid cards, or more accurately prepaid accounts, can be molded into a seemingly infinite number of configurations to fit particular merchants for particular needs.
For example, a loyalty program for a Joyeria in a border town looks very different than one for a soap boutique in a tourist district.
The Joyeria's program would be offered in English and Spanish, with maybe a marketing focus on social media sites popular in Mexico, while the boutique would target more sophisticated, high-end mobile app users.
If you're an ATM ISO, did you know that ATMs can now dispense network-branded, open-loop gift cards, just in time for the holidays?
If you've got manufacturing merchants in your portfolio, did you know payroll card programs can help merchants accommodate (and keep) their unbanked workers?
If your own ISO is struggling to limit the attrition of its top performers, did you know that reward and incentive programs boosted with game mechanics can keep producers happy and producing?
It is impossible to give you precise advice on what prepaid offerings you could propose to your ISO. One suggestion is to take a look at your portfolio and spend some time thinking about what kind of prepaid programs would fit your merchants and their customers.
Maybe a select number of merchants could benefit from a restricted authorization network. Another idea is to investigate the growing number of third-party e-gifting and loyalty providers for a potential partner on a solution that might fit your merchant base.
One common argument made by ISOs and MLSs is that you can't make as much in residuals from prepaid because the average ticket sizes are smaller than credit and debit. We humbly suggest that taking a strictly bottom-line philosophy to payments is a dangerous one.
When you think about prepaid, you are forced to imagine payments on a different level, about customer engagement, cloud-based transaction accounts and alternative financial services that help huge swaths of people improve their lives in a stubborn and persistently difficult economy. This seems to be the future of payments; ISOs and MLSs would do well to take note.
So congratulations to you for having the courage to step outside your comfort zone and think more creatively about merchant services. And good luck in investigating the many possibilities that prepaid offers to your ISO.
Joy to you
We, at The Green Sheet, want to wish all of our loyal readers and advertisers the happiest of holiday seasons. May your merchant customers prosper now and throughout the new year ahead. If you'd like to ask a question or offer a suggestion, reach out to us via email at firstname.lastname@example.org, by phone at 800-747-4441 or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/thegreensheetinc.
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