MasterCard Inc. is looking at ways to market prepaid cards — generally seen as a product for underbanked consumers — to the affluent.
"We've had discussions with various issuers on potential products that might be of interest to [the affluent] population," said Neil Dugan, the head of U.S. prepaid for MasterCard.
The payments company has developed credit and debit card products aimed at affluent U.S. consumers.
In March of last year it rolled out the World Debit PayPass contactless card, which was designed for consumers who spend $7,500 or more a year with their debit cards.
Dugan said he is not sure whether issuers generally are actively developing prepaid products for affluent U.S. consumers. A recent survey by First Data Corp., a unit of the private-equity firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co., found that use of prepaid cards was higher among affluent Europeans than among affluent Americans.
Dugan cited other ways to boost prepaid cards' use among the affluent.
"There could be a situation where a parent is loading a prepaid card for a teen in college," he said. In that case a prepaid card could come into play, such as Mobile MasterCard MoneySend, he said.
The service lets consumers transfer funds between accounts.
If the sender and receiver both bank at enrolled financial institutions, they can move funds directly between their MasterCard credit, debit or prepaid accounts.
Many affluent consumers also use prepaid transit debit cards, Dugan said. "With transit, you have an example of everyday use if the affluent are using cards as part of transportation costs."