The prepaid debit card company NetSpend Corp. is selling a reloadable, general-purpose debit card at payday lender stores under an agreement with the Axcess Financial Services Inc. unit of CNG Financial Corp.
The companies, which announced their partnership Tuesday, introduced the debit card in a pilot test that began last week in Ohio, Tennessee, Michigan, and Kentucky. The cards are being distributed through 200 retail locations of another CNG unit, the payday lender Check 'n Go.
The debit cards will eventually be available for purchase at all of Check 'n Go's 1,300 stores in 30 states. Jeff Kursman, a spokesman for Axcess, said Tuesday that there is no specific timetable for the expansion.
The prepaid debit cards, which run on the MasterCard Inc. network, are issued by Grupo Financiero Banorte's Inter National Bank.
The cards can be reloaded online or at NetSpend's vendors, including the Check 'n Go locations participating in the pilot test. Mr. Kursman said the fees associated with the cards would vary by state, depending on regulatory requirements.
Axcess, a Cincinnati company known as 409 Group until last month, specializes in products for the underbanked. It is developing financial products in partnership with H&R Block Inc. and First Bank of Delaware. (Mr. Kursman said the H&R Block relationship yielded a "tax-preparation product," tested early this year, that will be rolled out closer to tax season; he would not disclose details about the other banking product.)
Axcess also runs a debt collection business, Axcess Recovery, and provides administrative support for Check 'n Go.
Daniel R. Henry, NetSpend's chief executive officer, said in a press release that his Austin company's "products have greatly served the underbanked population, and we are excited to extend their reach through Axcess Financial Services' distribution channels, including Check 'n Go locations across the country."