Guest Blog Post Written By: Solana Cozzo, Head Prepaid and Inclusive Growth - North America Markets, Mastercard
A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of speaking at this year’s Power of Prepaid event in Washington DC. While a variety of interesting topics were discussed, it will come as no surprise to anyone that the hot topic this year was innovation.
NBPCA set the tone in the very first session by announcing its name change to Innovative Payments Association.
I spoke about "Next Gen Digital" and shared a formula that any business can apply to achieve innovation. It is based on the idea that the key to innovation is combining existing technologies. When you start with the emotional needs of consumers, and use techniques like design thinking, you can build truly consumer-centric products that solve real needs.
Greendot CEO @Steve Streit gave the "Innovations and Partnerships" keynote. He stressed the notion that the term ‘prepaid’ is limiting and he’s absolutely right - prepaid does have a perception problem. Many people think prepaid is just about gift cards, or solutions for the unbanked. This perception may be stopping businesses from seeing the true possibilities of prepaid as an enabler for innovation. The NBPCA name change depicts an encouraging and fresh start, but then again – it isn’t professionals working in prepaid we need to convince…
The prepaid industry continued to learn how it can move ahead on the final day of the Power of Prepaid conference.
IPA board member Solana Cozzo, of MasterCard, tackled the topic of the nuts and bolts of innovation.
“Never has there been so much hype and so little consensus around innovation,” she said.
Innovation can be driven by design thinking that incorporates three important factors. First, existing technology combined with a good platform and connected to customer emotions will lead to scalable innovation. Second, collaboration is key, because innovation requires partnerships. Third, the customer experience must be at the forefront of design.
This led into a discussion of about designing products for people of color in a panel moderated by AnaLiza Gardner, director of private label banking for IPA Member the Bancorp. Wole Coaxum of MoCaFi, Bertrand Sosa of Rev, and IPA board member Miguel Zepeda of Brinks gave their thoughts on how cards can be tailored to specific audiences. The panel noted that it was important to recognize cultural differences and the needs of particular communities. At the same time, they stressed that designing for cards for targeted audiences does not mean forgetting about the fundamentals of financial services. Products need to provide financial access and build capacity in a sustainable way.
The Homeland Security panel reminded everyone that payments industry, including the prepaid community, has a responsibility to support law enforcement’s efforts to identify and fraudsters and money launderers. However, that responsibility needs to be balanced with rights of individuals to protect their personal identifiable information. Lastly, we learned that while Congress plays a role in balancing individual rights alongside giving law eneforcment the tools they need to combat fraud, Congress itself may lack the necessary resources to keep up with an ever evolving industry.
The day wrapped up with research from the Federal Reserve. The trends in prepaid show that the average value of card transactions is falling across all types. This shows that prepaid is being used for smaller purchases and displacing cash.
The research also shows that fraud trends are moving in expected directions post-EMV. Fraud has trended from in-person fraud to remote fraud, with more fraud happening in card-not-present settings.
WASHINGTON (April 11, 2018) – This week, the payments industry converged at the Grand Hyatt in Washington, D.C. for the Network Branded Prepaid Card Association’s (NBPCA) 7th Annual Power of Prepaid® Conference. Over the course of three days, executives, regulators, legislators, and other experts gathered to discuss the many changes occurring in the industry.
The association also announced plans to change its name to Innovative Payments Association in 2019, due largely in part to the industry’s rapid growth and innovation.
“Now in its seventh year, the Power of Prepaid® conference remains the premier industry event to reflect on prepaid’s progress over the previous year and prepare for the future. We were thrilled to have one of our largest crowds in recent years, which underscores how far-reaching prepaid technology is,” said Brian Tate, president and CEO of NBPCA. “As many of our panels noted, this is an exciting time for the industry as we continue to drive innovation in the payments space and bring diverse products to market for consumers across the country. Looking ahead to the future, our association’s new name will allow us to better serve the various companies using prepaid technology and their customers.”
Keynote speakers included Congressman Emanuel Cleaver II (D-MO) and Lyft’s Ashwin Raj. Panelists included representatives from Mastercard, Wirecard North America, the Federal Reserve, Metabank, Visa, and AARP. There was also a special appearance by Olympians Meryl Davis and Charlie White.
“The Power of Prepaid® conference continues to be the go-to event for industry collaboration and celebration over our accomplishments from the past year,” said Robert Skiba, chairman of the NBPCA board and executive vice president at InComm Inc. “With companies based all over the globe, gathering in-person and being able to hear from other experts on the trends and challenges they’re seeing makes our industry stronger.”
Attendees also had the opportunity to hear from Kirsten Sutton Mark, who was named chief of staff for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) in January. She previously served as staff director for the House Financial Services Committee under Chairman Jeb Hensarling.
“Given all of the changes happening at the CFPB in recent months, and her deep experience with financial policy, it was an honor to have Kirsten Sutton Mork speak at this year’s Power of Prepaid,” said Ben Jackson, COO of NBPCA. “We make it our mission to bring the best and the brightest in the payments and policy realms to the Power of Prepaid to give attendees one-of-a-kind insights on the industry and Washington. With the prepaid accounts rule finalized, attendees especially appreciated Kirsten’s unique vantagepoint on where the industry goes from here.”
About the NBPCA
The Network Branded Prepaid Card Association (NBPCA) is a non-profit, inter-industry trade association that supports the growth and success of network branded prepaid cards and represents the common interests of the many players in this new and rapidly growing payments category. For additional information, visit www.NBPCA.org, or follow us on Twitter @NBPCA.
Media Contact: Kate Allen, 202-617-3086, firstname.lastname@example.org.
While everyone has a desire for success, achieving it requires a lot of knowledge. In the first day of the Power of Prepaid conference, members were provided some of that knowledge from researchers and from individuals who have achieved one of the highest levels of success – Olympic gold medals.
Yesterday’s special session started with presentations by Kevin Morrison, Senior Analyst for Retail Banking and Payments at Aite Group, and Sue Brown, director of the prepaid practice at Mercator Advisory Group.
Mercator’s data showed that despite the attention paid to segments like gift, payroll, and GPR cards, the fastest growing segments in the open-loop prepaid market were Benefits, HSAs, and events and meetings cards. Segments including government assistance and unemployment cards have been declining. While the future looks bright for prepaid growth, it will vary segment by segment.
Aite’s research showed how there has been a blurring of lines and increased competition between open-loop and closed-loop cards as retailers offer reloadable cards. In an attempt to keep customers, retailers have been using their cards to foster customer relationships. In addition, third parties have even offered closed-loop cards, such as Amazon cards, as a payment to freelancers.
These presentations were followed by a presentation on prepaid cards and savings by David John, Senior Strategy Policy Advisor at the AARP Public policy institute. He presented research on how prepaid cards can facilitate emergency savings for low income individuals. This led to a lively discussion about the benefits and struggles of offering prepaid cards combined with savings accounts to low income individuals. If you are interested in this topic, David was interviewed for the Power of Prepaid Podcast, which can be found here: https://www.nbpca.org/newsroom/podcast/.
The day’s discussions were capped off when members got to speak with Sochi Olympic Gold Medalists Meryl Davis and Charlie White, who won the first gold medal for the United States in ice dancing.
They said that the key to success what understanding the lessons of failure. It was not about being perfect, but rather about learning what worked by understanding what didn’t work previously. By putting the lessons of setbacks to work, it becomes possible to create steady progress and steer towards success.
Being that they worked as partners, one of the topics they covered was how to work successfully with partners. They said the key was to deliver your best effort for your partner and let them know that you will bring your best efforts to the work.
Charlie and Meryl are Visa-sponsored athletes. They said the ability to work with a good sponsor was another important partnership because it provided foundational support that allowed them to train, travel, and compete. They said having a good company to work with was critical. In a sport where judges watch your every move and where what happens off the ice can affect the results on it, choosing partners carefully was important. It seems even ice dancers have to face their own regulators.
Choosing good partners, bringing your best to your work, and learning along way gives you the ability to deliver top level performance when it counts. They said that while there may be competitors who were stronger or had more natural talent, it was still possible to win if you could deliver your best performance at the right moment.
Business discussions are full of sports metaphors, and it is easy to see why when you think about the context of partnerships, performance, and learning from experience. The combination of information and principles should give members a good foundation for getting the most out of the rest of the conference.
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