The evolution of contactless prepaid cards

Kevin McAdam, Director of Prepaid at allpay Limited

The speed and ease of online payments, as well as direct debits, has led to high expectations from those making a purchase or paying their bills.

People in all financial situations are looking for improvements to payment solutions that will save time and make their lives easier. Luckily, those in payment solutions are making small improvements that will lead to big change.

In more recent years, the desire for speed and ease has been responsible for the unstoppable growth of contactless. Last year, contactless payments accounted for £25billion of spending, compared to only £7.75billion in 2015. This comes as no surprise to us at allpay Limited, following an increased demand from our customers for contactless, with upwards of 90% of new orders requiring contactless functionality.

Furthermore, while it is not compulsory, in the last six months we have seen many of the local authorities that we work with seek contactless in their tenders. A lot of the local councils, and housing associations, that we work with deal with vulnerable tenants living in social housing who are elderly or infirm.

For this reason, many of them lack access to certain technologies or may not understand how to use the technology at all. Therefore, minimising the risk of error is key. Contactless presents great opportunity for these people, who do not need to remember a PIN number to use the payment method. Small payments are also processed with minimal intervention and stress. Transactions are processed quickly, easily and with peace of mind. But it could be even easier. Clearly contactless is a useful method and far from disappearing any time soon. But how might it improve?

Prepaid cards are now evolving to include the functionalities of contactless. Prepaid cards enable easy, swift and secure transactions in the same way as contactless cards, but are not in competition. Rather, moving forwards, the two payment methods will combine to optimise ease for the payee and the speed of transactions. At allpay Limited we are working towards providing this dual-capability to customers, aiming to issue debit free, re-loadable prepaid cards with all the security benefits combined with all the advantages of contactless.

Prepaid cards are evolving in other ways, by providing access to universal credit via the government. Instead of paying for one specific outlet, universal credit allows payees to have autonomy over how the money on the card is spent, making it less restrictive. This is particularly beneficial to those living on a strict budget. Access to universal credit via prepaid has already been tested by the Kent Council, with a predominantly positive response.

The trial demonstrated that prepaid cards have the potential to promote financial inclusion and independence, widening the options for financial management. Thanks to this result, the Department of Work and Pensions is to carry out a more extensive trial of using prepaid cards to support vulnerable claimants.

In conclusion, there is plenty of evolution taking place in the payment space which will benefit consumers, and bill payers, in all situations. At allpay Limited, we pride ourselves on the convenience we offer our customers by providing a wide range of payment solutions. With this in mind, we aim to be at the forefront of all new developments in the payments space.

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