The prepaid market is evolving rapidly as consumers and businesses push for easier, faster, more inclusive and more secure payments solutions. As part of our monthly member spotlight to showcase the voices driving innovation and change across the prepaid ecosystem, we we conducted a Q&A with Ailie Kofoid, Chief Executive Officer – Americas at EML Payments.
EML’s portfolio of payment solutions offers innovative options for disbursement payouts, gifts, incentives and rewards. EML powers many of the world’s top brands and processes over $18 billion in GDV each year across 28 countries in Australia, EMEA and North America.
What do you think is the biggest force propelling the prepaid market’s growth today?
- The trend towards open banking concepts and digital banking, where a prepaid card is the underlying account, is really growing prepaid out of traditional gift cards and challenging traditional banking institutions.
- Including access to data from other banking or financial services institutions – including personal financial management, investments, etc. That coupled with the prepaid card itself living in the mobile wallets creates an environment where the lines between traditional debit, credit, and prepaid are blurring.
- Consumers continue to look for choice, mobile technologies, instant information at their fingertips, and prepaid is now part of that.
What’s one thing prepaid is innovating that’s not getting enough attention in the payments market?
- SLP digital cards are growing in prepaid but the industry hasn’t fully caught up to the demand.
- Consumers want everything in their mobile wallets, and don’t want to carry around multiple single use plastic gift cards. However, the industry, from the networks to the wallet providers, haven’t fully adapted to the speed to market and the dynamic requirements of the prepaid program management world, particularly for SLP gift and incentive cards.
What’s the biggest prepaid innovation use case you’re seeing today?
I love seeing the growth in prepaid solutions to supplement crypto exchanges. Cryptocurrency continues to become more mainstream as an investment strategy, but users don’t always want to “cash out” to a traditional bank account.
Prepaid cards provide an ideal disbursement mechanism for fiat currency. The card networks are broadening their horizons when it comes to crypto, as it becomes more mainstream. They provides choice for consumers on how they want to exchange their cryptocurrencies for fiat currency for spend in the ecosystem.
I also think the growth in BNPL, particularly for brick and mortar establishments is interesting to watch. Underlying prepaid technology, over the network, provides for a seamless consumer experience, and facilitates the payment from the lender to the merchants. As Covid restrictions continue to lift, and consumers get back to in person shopping, I believe this new way of spending will really accelerate.
What do you think is coming next for prepaid innovation?
I think the combination of prepaid technology and open banking is really going to change payments landscape. Again, the rich data at your fingertips to influence and drive your spending behaviors, with the underlying prepaid technology managing the account will continue to change how we bank.
How can the prepaid market best position itself to navigate today’s regulatory climate?
Agility, adaptability and influence! We, as program managers and processors need to continue to work with partners like CPPO, the issuing banks and the card networks to continue to educate and influence the regulators based on consumer demand. Financial services technology is accelerating at an unprecedented pace, based on consumer demand.
Consumers are using digital technology in all other aspects of their daily life, and are demanding that their financial services providers catch up. Ensuring that we can innovate, while offering compliant and secure solutions with the necessary consumer protections is critical to meeting the demand.