NetSpend Holdings Inc., a marketer of prepaid debit cards, is working with banks to broaden its distribution network beyond retailers and check cashers.
First State Community Bank, a subsidiary of the Farmington, Mo., bank holding company First State Bancshares Inc., will sell NetSpend-branded prepaid cards through its 33 branches, NetSpend, of Austin, Texas, said Thursday.
The cards give First State "another way to say yes to low- and moderate-income consumers who want to establish a relationship with their bank," Dan Henry, NetSpend's chief executive, said on an earnings conference call.
More retail banks are expected to offer prepaid card products as alternatives to customers who no longer can qualify for or afford traditional deposit accounts, particularly as banks raise fees in response to regulations.
Prepaid cards are also exempted from the Durbin amendment to the Dodd-Frank Act.
The amendment instructed the Federal Reserve Board to set lower interchange rates for debit cards.
Green Dot Corp., a competitor of NetSpend, has said it is in discussion with banks to offer prepaid card programs to customers.
Under First State's agreement with NetSpend, which issues its cards through other sponsor banks, First State will sell the same cards that NetSpend sells through its existing distributors.
The cards will cost $9.95 per month, or $5 per month for customers who use direct deposit, said Jennifer Lee, deposit operations manager at First State.
The bank will share revenue from the program with NetSpend, Lee said.
All account functions, including the issuing and mailing of cards will be handled by NetSpend and its partners, she said.
Customers will be able to load funds to their prepaid card accounts at First State branches.
"Really what we were looking for was a product to offer those customers that we are currently having to turn away," Lee said.
She said that First State had been considering offering prepaid cards before regulations became an issue.
Working with banks "could add millions of people into the category of reloadable prepaid users," said Gil Luria, a senior vice president at Wedbush Securities in Los Angeles who follows prepaid card companies.