InComm Payments’ Felipe Papaleo on Prepaid’s Digital Payments Ecosystem Impact

Prepaid technology is the foundation for digital financial services partnerships that enable emerging fintechs and established financial institutions to bring new and innovative products and services to market faster than ever before. That’s just one of the key topics being discussed at the 2022 CPPO Prepaid Symposium on June 1 at the Toronto Region Board of Trade.

InComm Payments  — who will be participating in the panel “Riding The Rails To Innovation: Elevating Prepaid’s Platform Potential” — shared insights from Felipe Papaleo, General Manager for InComm Payments Canada about what’s driving consumers to choose prepaid, how prepaid is impacting rewards and incentives programs, how prepaid is driving innovation in mobile payments, and what the industry looks like over the next few years.

What do you think is the biggest force propelling the prepaid market’s growth today?

Papaleo: InComm Payments research routinely finds that convenience is the top factor driving consumer purchases of prepaid products. Convenience can mean several things, with one of the most important being the development of products that enable consumers to participate in increasingly digital payments ecosystems. Brands and retailers have taken note of the growing shift to digital, and the prepaid market has responded by introducing products that complement traditional physical cards, such as digital and mobile prepaid cards, as well as products that can be loaded to mobile wallets and apps. The market’s versatility means that consumers can rely on prepaid products to manage their expenses and complete transactions both in person and online.

What’s one product or service that prepaid is impacting today that isn’t getting enough attention in the payments industry?

Papaleo: Prepaid products have become an influential component of promotional offers and incentive programs. When we ask consumers about their preferred promotional offers, free retailer gift cards regularly top their list. Brands and retailers that take this trend to heart are finding ways to incorporate prepaid products into their loyalty and reward programs as a way to boost participation and turn members from one-time shoppers into repeat customers.

Outside of commerce, prepaid products have also contributed to successful employee incentive programs for a wide range of organizations. Our research shows that choice is an important factor for participants of incentive programs: they like the ability to choose prepaid products from brands they like when they are rewarded.  Employers that leverage prepaid products to offer employees gift cards and other rewards tied to the brands they like have an opportunity to strengthen the relationship between employer and employee.

What’s the biggest prepaid innovation use case you’re seeing today?

Papaleo: As digital becomes more prevalent across the payments industry, it has become essential for prepaid products to evolve with the latest tools that consumers prefer to use in their everyday life. An example of a successful innovation at InComm Payments has been growing our Vanilla suite of prepaid products to be compatible with mobile wallets, including those that consumers use on smartphones and other devices, as well as wallets in retailer-based apps. This innovation has ultimately enabled consumers to participate in today’s digital payments ecosystems while continuing to use their preferred prepaid products and mobile wallets.

How can the prepaid market best position itself to navigate today’s regulatory climate?

Papaleo: Transparency remains an essential principal for the prepaid market. Regulations may change over time, but brands must always ensure they are clearly communicating product features, fees and other important information to consumers so they can make an informed purchasing decision.

What’s next for prepaid innovation over the next 1-5 years?

Papaleo: Alternative payments are already capturing consumers awareness, and we believe they will only grow in popularity over the next few years. We have developed Scan to Pay technology that enables retailers to offer a wide range of new and exciting digital payment options in their stores, all from a single point-of-sale integration. This means that retailers will be able to process payments via scanning QR codes or barcodes from customer smartphones (or presenting the customer with QR codes or barcodes to scan) that enable them to use funds from mobile wallets, digital currency apps and more. Prepaid products that keep up with these evolving technologies and adapt to changing consumer preferences will stand out from the competition in the years ahead.

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