Prepaid is still in its infancy as an industry. Companies currently situated in the space are aggressively jockeying for market share. Many times a subset of these firms make outrageous capability claims in order to solidify a transaction.
Organizations looking to prepaid to solve complex business issues must thoroughly evaluate all potential providers before making financial commitments. The solutions outlined by many prepaid companies often rely on third parties in order to execute their programs.
Below are many components of the prepaid supply chain that will ultimately impact the customer/cardholder experience as well as the overall investment in the solution.
- Program Management: The ongoing consultation that occurs between prepaid professional, and corporations looking for a potential solution.
- Integration: APIs used to exchange data between all organizations involved….what cardholder has earned what monies, when and how.
- Creative Services: Utilized for the design of a custom prepaid card. They must adhere to the numerous constraints required by the associations.
- Card Manufacturing: Raw plastic is converted to a fully functioning prepaid card. This card includes an encoded magnetic stripe, custom logos and embossed personalization.
- Card Fulfillment: Shipping to the cardholder or to the corporation.
- Transaction Processing: Approves or declines every transaction that is sent to via MasterCard/Visa (and the merchant). Eventually provides detailed card reporting.
- Compliance/Regulatory: PCI/DSS compliant along with being a secured MasterCard/Visa facility.
- Cardholder Services: Every cardholder must be able to access card information through an IVR, Web or live operator.
- Customer Service: Customers must have an assigned service team that they can contact in order to service a complex program.
Each of these functions are a cost and service center to the company evaluating prepaid. It is critical that a buyer understands who is ultimately responsible for the program should things go awry. Furthermore, it would behoove a buyer to understand the benefits of working with a vertically integrated provider where all of the functions listed above are controlled by one vendor. Single sourcing all of the functions associated with prepaid, guarantees a program is delivered cost effectively, securely and in a timely fashion.