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Prepaid Debit, Payroll Cards See Growth

BOSTON-The prepaid debit and payroll card industry is emerging as a formidable force in U.S. consumer financial services, according to a new report from Aite Group.

The consultancy said the launch of an ambitious payroll card program by Wal-Mart in 2009, the successful IPO of Green Dot in 2010, and NetSpend's subsequent filing for an IPO have been historic milestones for the industry.

Dollar volumes for the combined products reached $44 billion in 2009, a number Aite Group expects to rise to $164 billion for 2014. The housing market bust, financial crisis, economic downturn, surge in unemployment, and large numbers of consumers defaulting on their debt have contributed to the elimination of mainstream financial institutions in the low end of the market.

Aite said the prepaid debit and payroll card industry is uniquely positioned to fill this void because prepaid debit and payroll cards represent a compelling alternative to consumers shut out of checking accounts and credit cards. For info: www.aitegroup.com


Economics Of Cloud Computing Too Compelling To Ignore

SAN JOSE, Calif.-The economics of cloud computing and SaaS (software as a service) are encouraging small and mid-sized companies to adopt the new technologies quickly, while bigger companies are either waiting or adopting the technologies on a divisional level to "try them out."

A new study by Proformative had three critical findings:

* Cloud Computing and SaaS will be critical, and CFOs feel as if they are already "behind the curve" and need to be educated.

* Cloud Computing and SaaS create a direct link between IT consumption and cost.

* Cloud Computing and SaaS have delivered higher ROI, increased collaboration, and greater confidence in systems and their business value.


Banks, Credit Card Cos. Turning To Social Media

NEW YORK-Most banks and credit card issuers now embrace social media as a tool for connecting with customers and reinforcing their brands, according to new research from competitive intelligence firm Corporate Insight.

Rather than implementing one program to fit all clients, however, they are using tailored social media efforts as a way to connect with shared-interest groups among their clients.

Most report focusing their social media efforts on blogs, Twitter and Facebook, which encourage user interaction. These new media have also allowed firms to move from all-in-one profiles to multiple, targeted profiles that represent the different arms of the firms' businesses. In the case of Twitter, some firms are using it to proactively offer customer service to dissatisfied clients.

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