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Shed the Prepaid Stereotypes for New Possibilities – by Ernie Buday
January 4, 2018
Ernie Buday, FIS | Vice President, Product Strategy
Convenience and the ability to limit risk have dramatically expanded the draw for prepaid products. No longer viewed as a gateway to financial inclusion for the underserved or a vehicle to keep the lid on kids’ spending while they’re away from home, prepaid now appeals to a broad spectrum of consumers, government, schools, and businesses.
Case in point: Prepaid as a cash and expense management solution for businesses
FIS recently created a cash and expense management solution for a major home improvement retailer to win and grow more professional contractor customers.
Leveraging prepaid as a platform, FIS and the client designed a service offering that makes purchasing and accounting easier, while simultaneously increasing security by:
- Mitigating risk – It’s risky for general contractors to give sub-contractors free rein with a corporate credit card, and even riskier when the credit card is shared among sub-contractors. Businesses need to ensure that employees – sub-contractors, part-timers or full-timers – use payments for intended purposes. In this case, buying supplies to perform a specific job.
- Driving employee and employer efficiency – Sub-contractors must take time to create and submit expense reports, keeping track of paper receipts for every purchase. Employers must manually enter sub-contractors’ expense reports into the business ledger.
Here’s how the system, powered by FIS’ BizNOW®, works:
- An employee (or sub-contractor) uses a mobile app to request funds for work-related purchases.
- Real-time alerts notify the employer of the request.
- The employer transfers the funds to the prepaid account.
- As soon as funds are transferred, the employee is alerted and can complete the purchase.
- Within the app, the employee takes a photo of an itemized receipt and types in a few details to complete the expense report.
- The expense report links to the company’s general ledger, thereby eliminating the manual entry process.
Prepaid as a platform opens new possibilities
Prepaid already includes a raft of familiar products. Gift cards, incentives, toll transponders, Magic Bands at Disney theme parks, in addition to prepaid cards for meals and supplies on corporate and educational campuses.
Prepaid provides easy access to online shopping for non-cardholders, which is helping fuel the rise of online retail. It also limits financial exposure for consumers who want additional security online.
Increasingly, prepaid is the infrastructure that underlies emerging innovations in the Internet of Things, as well as smart-home technology. For example, when your voice-enabled smart refrigerator detects you’re running low on eggs and asks you whether you want to place an order, prepaid can serve as a convenient payments platform. Or when your daughter tells Alexa to order a family of Fingerlings for all her friends, prepaid can limit your risk.
Ultimately, prepaid holds enormous potential for broad applications, while also addressing growing demand for convenient and secure payments. For your next payments challenge or opportunity, consider prepaid.