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Prepaid Cards: A Global Strategic Business Report

Global prepaid cards market: $2.1 trillion industry by 2018

The global Prepaid Cards market is projected to reach US$2.1 trillion by 2018, driven by rising demand from unbanked consumers and the financial services sector.

Prepaid cards represent an attractive proposition in the payment industry owing to their inherent flexibility and convenience. Prepaid cards are gradually evolving into a mainstream market driven by widening acceptance. The market registered strong growth despite the challenging economic environment, driven by the increase in number of consumers without access to credit cards and bank accounts. These cards act as portable checking account, but entail lesser risk when compared to loans and credit cards.

The market is expected to witness growth supported by a host of factors such as rise in the number of consumers preferring payment cards over traditional banking, entry of new brands, and pull back of free checking facility for low balance consumers by banks. Moreover, with credit card interest rates rising each year, consumers are shifting to alternate payment modes such as prepaid cards. Another growth driver is e-commerce as consumers use prepaid cards instead of credit or debit cards for making online purchases.

The United States represents the single largest market worldwide. The tremendous potential in direct deposit account and payments markets are expected to spur market growth. Asia-Pacific represents the fastest growing regional market with a projected CAGR of 19% over the analysis period. Growth is supported by improved economic outlook and increase in per capita consumer spends.

Closed loop prepaid cards represents the largest market segment in terms of card load. However, open loop prepaid cards are expected to grow at a faster rate through 2018. Network-branded open loop prepaid cards are gaining wider acceptance among global investors, with growth largely fuelled by the popularity of general purpose reloadable cards, government disbursement cards and payroll cards.

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