Prepaid Cards

Credit Card Buy now, Pay Later
Debit Card Buy now, Pay Now
Prepaid Card Pay Now, Buy Later

Convenience & flexibility

Prepaid cards represents an alternative mean of payment for permanent or temporary use and can be dedicated to a specific range of transactions. Most prepaid cards are anonymous: no ID/forms are required to subscribe. Their distribution is not limited to financial institutions. Prepaid cards may not be linked to a bank account. Only the amount loaded on the card can be spent, through multiple transactions. Top-up value can be added through online transfer or cash deposit, when they are rechageable. Some of them are disposable: use & stow.

The prepaid market is different

  • Anonymous cards
  • Wide diversity of customers and use
  • New business model with the retailers
  • New distribution mode
  • New process of activation and reload
  • Unpredictable prepaid program success

The security must be adapted

  • Prepaid cards are the equivalent of cash money. but sold in any shop like a USB key or truth brush. Then the security has to be adapted and relevant for such value.
  • No value when hang at a shop: the real value is activated only when the cashier get the money from the card holder.
  • The Packaging must be tamper-evident: this doesn't means impossible to open (tamper-proof); if it has been opened once it must be visible so it can be unvalidated by the shop keeper, and nobody should buy it.
  • The process of personalization, of packaging & storing must take place in a safe environment.
  • Data preparation, transfer and processing is under the same level of confidentiality as for credit/debit cards.
  • The packaging must follow the rules and be validated by the payment scheme.
  • When a PIN printing is required, it must follow the strict rules of the payment scheme.


Prepaid cards are used in several situations. Generally speaking, the goal is to limit the spending, assure the merchant to be paid with this support, in all situations where cash is usually used. Different functionalities can be combined in a single card: it is the most common usage.

Commercial needs

Serve consumers, in commercial situation

Payment Instrument: Debit like card for the un/under served, including teenagers. Alternative mean for already equiped population (internet purchases, back-up…).
Gifting: Pre-loaded by the buyer, usable by the cardholder at a specific retail outlet or within a pre-defined network. Series issued for special occasions (Xmas, Wedding…).
Events & Stadiums: Form factor (card, sticker, wrist band…) to be used for access management, transactions within the event premises, purchase of goodies and loyalty programs.
Travel: Foreign currency cards for holiday money and exchange. Access to the loaded value via ATMs. Alternative to traveller's cheques and/or cash.
Public sector needs

Public sector needs

Transport: E-tickets to access public transportation, may be usable for small ticket payments.
Parking & toll: Meter and RFID enabled cards for contactless collection of payments.
Welfare programs: Public aids transfer including healthcare, unemployment & retirement insurance, child benefits and social support.
Citizen Card: Identification cards and/or driving license associated with a prepaid payment functionality.
Corporate sector

Corporate sector needs

Payroll: Wages payment for workers with no local banking account and/or temporary contracts.
Meal: Food allowance, mainly for lunch, provided as an employee benefit, valid in affiliated restaurants & outlets.
Incentive Card: Rewards program for employees and clients, replacing vouchers and traditional gifts, for major holidays and special occasions.
Corporate expenses: Real-time control of employee expenses, with no direct access to the business credit line. Spending can be limited by amount and merchant category (fuel, dinning…).

The acceptance network

Prepaid can be used in existing payment scheme networks, like Visa, Mastercard, American Express, JCB, Diners… in this case they are called Open Loops Cards. In many cases they are used in a private environment. Owned by a small shop or large retailer, they are closed Loop. A new system emerges: it is system are in between Closed Loop & Open Loop, called Restricted or Restricted Loop, Limited Network, Private Loop Network.


Network-branded cards or national e-purse scheme:
no acceptance restriction, cash withdrawals allowed


Limited to a mall, or few shops


Pre-defined acceptance points
and limited merchant