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Prepaid and Gift Cards in the U.S., 5th Edition


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Prepaid and Gift Cards in the U.S. covers trends shaping the prepaid card market. For the purposes of this report, prepaid cards include closed-loop and open-loop (general-purpose) prepaid cards, with a focus on open-loop consumer, payroll and government prepaid cards; open-loop and closed-loop gift cards; and open-loop employee rewards and incentives cards. The report does not include the study of (non-prepaid) debit cards, defined as any payment card that draws money for a purchase or other payment transaction directly from a bank account, typically a checking or savings account; or transit cards.

More specifically, this report:
  • Provides a market size and forecast for the prepaid card market, including trended purchase volume for general use (open-loop) and private label (closed-loop) prepaid cards, by type. We also provide a separate market size for government-administered prepaid cards, by type; and for gift cards.
  • Drawing from proprietary survey results, identifies and interprets key prepaid metrics, including cardholder usage costs, monthly spend, monthly purchase, ATM withdrawal, and reload transactions, and length of card ownership. We also identify the percentage of prepaid cardholders with direct deposit, and then assess the degree that direct deposit and HH income influences these above metrics.
  • Gauges (reloadable and non-reloadable) prepaid card and gift card usage trends during 2011-2016, breaking prepaid card usage down by card network; banked status; remittance, debit card and credit card use; cash and money order bill payment usage; bill payment preferences; credit score; and mobile payment method.
  • Assesses general-purpose reloadable prepaid card usage rationales across five categories: online and in-store purchases; P2P, bill payment and check writing; discounts and rewards; financial management features; and finding, deposit and transfer methods.
  • Studies reasons for choosing general-purpose reloadable prepaid cards, including usage cost; overdraft fee avoidance and debt management; credit and bank account substitution; breadth of acceptance; and reloading method.
  • Ranks general-purpose reloadable prepaid cards used and used most by card brand, segmented by direct deposit use; and prepaid cards by network brand, segmented by banked status and credit score.
  • Drawing from survey results, formulates a gift card market size segmented by gift giving, self-gifting and employee receipt, and by occasion; and sizes the gift card market gift cards retailer type.
  • Explores prepaid card marketer & issuer strategies, including American Express, Blackhawk Network, Bofl Holding, Inc., The Bancorp Bank, Green Dot, MetBank and NetSpend. Analysis includes competitive positioning, new product introductions, company innovations, and trended performance analysis. Heavy emphasis is placed on add-value proprietary estimates for gross dollar volume and other metrics otherwise not published by included industry participants.
  • Explores a variety of prepaid card industry challenges and solutions, including regulatory issues, pricing and profit factors, broadening the target audience, bank account competition, and fraud.


  • Executive Summary
    • Report Scope
    • Report Summary
      • Market Size and Forecast
      • Challenges & Opportunities
      • Prepaid Card Usage Trends
      • Prepaid Card Usage Rationales
      • Prepaid Card Brands
      • Prepaid Card Cost, Usage Method & Spend Analysis
      • Gift Card Usage and Purchasing Trends
      • Prepaid Card Marketers and Issuers
      • Blackhawk Network, Inc.
      • BofI Holding, Inc.
      • The Bancorp Bank
      • Green Dot
      • MetaBank
      • NetSpend
  • Introduction and Overview
    • Market segmentation
    • Types of prepaid cards
    • Categorization according to use
    • Fees
  • Market Size and Forecast
    • U.S. prepaid card market size and forecast
      • Table U.S. Prepaid Card Market Size and Forecast, 2012-2018
      • "Open-loop" prepaid cards
        • Table U.S. Open-Loop Prepaid Card Market Size and Forecast, by Type, 2012-2018
      • "Closed-loop" prepaid cards
        • Table U.S. Closed-Loop Prepaid Card Market Size and Forecast, by Type, 2012-2018
    • Government-administered prepaid cards
      • Government prepaid card market size
        • Table Government Benefit Payment Disbursements: EBT vs. Prepaid Card, by Federal and State/Local Program and Program Type, 2012-2015
        • Table Government Benefit Payments Disbursed Via Prepaid Card: Federal vs. State/Local Programs, 2012-2015
        • Table State Benefit Payments Programs Offering Prepaid Card Disbursement Option, 2014-2015
        • Table Unemployment Insurance Prepaid Card Usage, by State, Issuer and Card Network, 2016
      • Comerica and U.S. Bank dominate government cards
        • Table Comerica Incorporated: Government Prepaid Card Deposits, State vs. Federal, 2011-2016
      • Interchange analysis
        • Table Government-Administered Prepaid Card Purchase Volume and Interchange Fees, 2012-2015
    • Gift cards
      • Gift card market size
        • Table Spending on Gift Cards: Dollar Share: Giving to Others, by Occasion; Giving to Self; and Receiving from Employer, 2016
  • Challenges and Opportunities
    • Be of good cheer
    • Don't let regulation make you blue
      • The CFPB is not the only game in town
    • Broadening the target audience
      • Targeting the gig economy
      • Employee rewards and incentives
      • The tax card cometh
        • Table Tax Services and Prepaid Card Brands, 2016
    • Retention, retention, retention
      • Reloading with direct deposit: no longer as important to card retention?
    • Pricing and profit trends
      • Reduced pricing pressure
      • Rewards and incentives on the upswing
      • Cardholder financial management a win-win
      • Low-cost bank accounts a serious threat, but do they make money?
    • Fraud and loss
  • Prepaid Card Usage Trends
    • Trends over time
      • Reloadable & non-reloadable prepaid card use: 2013-2016
        • Table Percentage Use of General-Purpose Prepaid Cards: Reloadable and Non-Reloadable, 2013-2016
        • Table Percentage Use of General-Purpose Prepaid Cards, by Card Network Brand, 2013-2016
    • Reloadable general-purpose prepaid card use: 2014-2016
      • Table Percentage Use of Reloadable Prepaid Cards, by Gender, Age, HH Income and Race/Ethnicity: 2014 vs. 2016
      • Table Percentage Use of Reloadable Prepaid Cards, by Banked Status, Bank Usage Status, Credit Card/Debit Card Users, Car Title Loan Users, Smartphone Users and Remitters: 2014 vs. 2016
      • Table Percentage Use of Reloadable Prepaid Cards, by Cash and Money Order Bill Payment Preference: 2014 vs. 2016
    • Credit score
      • Table Vantage Score Segmentation: Reloadable Prepaid Card Users and Non-Users, 2016
    • Banked status, remittance use and mobile payment methods
      • Fully banked, underbanked and unbanked
        • Table Banked, Fully Banked, Underbanked and Unbanked: Reloadable Prepaid Card Users and Non-Users, by HH Income, 2015
        • Table Reloadable Prepaid Card Users and Non-Users: Share of Banked, Fully Banked, Underbanked and Unbanked, by HH Income, 2015
        • Table Banked, Fully Banked, Underbanked and Unbanked: Reloadable Prepaid Card Users and Non-Users, by Age, 2015
        • Table Banked, Fully Banked, Underbanked and Unbanked: Reloadable Prepaid Card Users and Non-Users, by Race/Ethnicity, 2015
      • Remittances
        • Table Remitters, by Reloadable Prepaid Card Use and Demographic, 2015
      • Mobile payment methods
        • Table Mobile Payment Method, by Type: Reloadable Prepaid Card Users and Non-Users, 2016
    • Bill payment preferences
      • Table Bill Payment Preferences, by Type: Reloadable Prepaid Card Users and Non-Users, 2016
  • Prepaid Card Usage Rationales
    • Prepaid card features: usage and importance
      • Online and in-store purchases
        • Table Reloadable General-Purpose Prepaid Card Features Used and Used Most: Online and In-Store Purchases, by HH Income, 2016
      • P2P, bill payment and check writing
        • Table Reloadable General-Purpose Prepaid Features Used and Used Most: P2P, Bill Payment and Check Writing, by HH Income, 2016
      • Discounts and rewards
        • Table Reloadable General-Purpose Prepaid Card Features Used and Used Most: Discounts and Rewards, by HH Income, 2016
      • Financial management features
        • Table Reloadable General-Purpose Prepaid Card Features Used and Used Most: Financial Management Features, by HH Income, 2016
      • Funding, deposit and transfer methods
        • Table Reloadable General-Purpose Card Features Used and Used Most: Funding, Deposit and Transfer Methods, by HH Income, 2016
    • Reasons for choosing prepaid cards
      • Costs associated with card of top importance when choosing card
        • Table Reloadable General-Purpose Prepaid Card Users: Cost Factors Important to Choosing Card, by HH Income and Direct Deposit Status, 2016
      • Card usage factors
        • Table Reloadable General-Purpose Prepaid Card Users: Usage Factors Important to Choosing Card, by HH Income and Direct Deposit Status, 2016
      • A substitute for a credit card? Yes. For a bank account? Not so much.
        • Table Reloadable General-Purpose Prepaid Card Users: Importance of Credit Quality & Credit Card and Bank Account Substitute When Choosing Card, by HH Income and Direct Deposit Status, 2016
  • Prepaid Card Brands
    • Prepaid card network brands
      • Table Percentage Use of Prepaid Cards, by Card Network, 2013-2016
      • Demographic analysis
        • Table Prepaid Card User Share, by Network Brand: Gender, Age, HH Income and Race/Ethnicity, 2016
      • Banked status, other payment cards and credit score
        • Table Prepaid Card User Share, by Network Brand: Banked Status, Bank Usage Status, Credit Card/Debit Card Use and VantageScore Segment, 2016
    • Prepaid card marketer brands
      • Prepaid cards used and used most
        • Table Reloadable Prepaid Cards: Use and Use Most, by Card Marketer, 2016
        • Table Prepaid Cards: Use and Use Most, by HH Income and Card Marketer, 2016
        • Table Prepaid Cards: Use Most, by Direct Deposit Status and Card Marketer, 2016
  • Prepaid Card Cost, Usage Method & Spend Analysis
    • Introduction
    • Monthly usage, spend and costs
      • Table Reloadable Prepaid Card Reload, ATM Withdrawal, Direct Deposit and Purchase Metrics, 2016
    • Effect of HH income on card usage, spend and costs
      • Table Reloadable Prepaid Card Reload, ATM Withdrawal, Direct Deposit and Purchase Metrics, by HH Income, 2016
    • Effect of direct deposit on card usage, spend and costs
      • Table Reloadable Prepaid Card Reload, ATM Withdrawal, Direct Deposit and Purchase Metrics, by Direct Deposit Status, 2016
  • Gift Card Usage and Purchasing Trends
    • Gift card giving
      • Top occasions, by dollar value
        • Table Spending on Gift Cards: Dollar Share: Giving to Others, by Occasion; Giving to Self; and Receiving from Employer, 2016
      • Top givers, by dollar value
        • Table Spending on Gift Cards for Others: Dollar Share, by Demographic, 2016
        • Table Spending on Gift Cards for Self: Dollar Share, by Demographic, 2016
    • Gift card retailer segmentation analysis
      • Table U.S. Adult Gift Card Purchases: Percent Purchasing, by Retail Segment & Card Brand, 2011-2016
      • Table U.S. Adult Gift Card Purchases: Dollar Value, by Retail Segment & Card Brand, 2011-2016
      • Table U.S. Adult Gift Card Purchases: Per-Person Dollar Value, by Retail Segment & Card Brand, 2011-2016
    • Gift Card Usage Rationales
      • Table Rationales for Giving Gift Cards to Others, 2016
    • Gift Card Distribution Attitudes
      • Table Gift Card Distribution, Redemption and Mobile Wallet and Payment Usage, 2016
      • Demographic analysis
        • Table Gift Card Distribution, Redemption and Mobile Wallet and Payment Usage, by Gender, Age and HH Income, 2016
  • Prepaid Card Marketer & Issuer Strategies
    • American Express
      • Success and accomplishments
      • Change of tack
        • Table American Express: Travelers Check and Prepaid Product Metrics, 2011-2015
    • Blackhawk Network, Inc.
      • Retail products
      • Retail distribution
        • Table Blackhawk Network Holdings: Retail Distribution Locations, Retail Distribution Partners and Content Partners, U.S. and International, 2013-2015
        • Table Blackhawk Network Holdings: Revenue by Major Distributor and Content Provider, 2012 vs. 2015
      • Digital innovation
        • Table Blackhawk Network Holdings: Digital Share of Transaction Dollar Volume, 2012-2015
      • Bank and card network partners
        • Table Blackhawk Network Holdings: Revenue from Open-Loop Products and MetaBank, 2013-2015
      • Incentives segment
        • Table Blackhawk Network Holdings: Incentives & Rewards Acquisition History ,2013-2016
      • Performance trends
        • Table Blackhawk Network Holdings: Revenue by Segment, 2012-2015
        • Table Blackhawk Network Holdings: Transaction Dollar Volume, Transactions and Average Value, by Segment, 2012-2015
        • Table Blackhawk Network Holdings: U.S. Transaction Dollar Volume, by Segment and Product, 2012-2015
        • Table Blackhawk Network Holdings: U.S. Revenue by Segment and Product Type, 2012-2015
        • Table Blackhawk Network Holdings: U.S. Revenue Share by Segment and Product Type, 2012-2015
    • BofI Holding, Inc.
      • Prepaid cards
      • Tax refund cards are about more than just cards
      • Performance trends: H& R Block Emerald Card
        • Table H& R Block Emerald Card and Refund Transfer Revenue; Emerald Advance Revenue and Balances, 2012-2016
        • Table H& R Block Emerald Card: Per Card Deposits and Revenue, 2012-2016
    • The Bancorp Bank
      • Troubles in the rear view mirror?
      • Card programs
        • Table The Bancorp: Prepaid Cards Issued, by Brand, Program Manager and Card Network, 2016
      • Performance trends
        • Table The Bancorp: Active Cards, Gross Dollar Volume, and Gross Dollar Volume per Card, 2011-2015
        • Table The Bancorp: Card- and Deposit-Related Income, by Type, 2011-2015
        • Table The Bancorp: Per Card Prepaid Fees, 2011-2015
    • Green Dot
      • Competitive positioning
        • Table Green Dot Inc. Product Introductions and Initiatives, 2013-2016
      • Product and services
        • Table Green Dot Inc.: Prepaid Cards Issued, by Brand, 2016
        • Table Green Dot Inc.: Product Revenue, by Segment, 2015
      • Retail distribution
        • Table Green Dot Inc. Product Distribution Channels, 2016
        • Table Walmart and Other Retailer Share of Green Dot Revenue, 2011-2015
      • Key card trends
        • Table Green Dot Prepaid Card Trends: Active Cards, Reloads, Gross Dollar Value, Purchase Value and Deposits, 2011-2015
        • Table Green Dot Prepaid Trends Per Active Card: Reloads, Gross Dollar Value, Purchase Value and Deposits, 2011-2015*
        • Table Green Dot Direct Deposit as Percent of Gross Dollar Value, Q2 2014-2016
        • Table Green Dot Direct Deposit as Percent of Active Cardholders, 2013, 2015 and 2016
        • Table Green Dot Gross Dollar Value and Active Cards: Direct Deposit Share, Q1 2015 vs. Q1 2016
        • Table Green Dot Prepaid Trends: Average General-Purpose Reloadable Card Lifetime, 2011-2015
      • Performance summary
        • Table Green Dot Operating Revenue Trends: Card/Fee, Cash Transfer and Interchange, 2011-2015
    • MetaBank
      • Table Meta Financial: Acquisitions and Partnerships, 2015-2016
      • Performance trends
        • Table MetaBank: Prepaid Cards Issued, by Brand, Program Manager and Card Network, 2016
        • Table MetaBank: Card Fees, Interchange Fees, and Prepaid Card Deposits and GDV, 2011-2015
        • Table MetaBank: Prepaid Card GDV, by Segment, 2011-2015
    • NetSpend
      • Competitive positioning
        • Table Total System Services: Accounts on File, by Type, 2011-2015
      • Retail distribution
        • Table NetSpend: Revenue Share, by Distribution Channel: 2011-2014
      • Card brands
        • Table NetSpend Prepaid Card Programs, by Type, Issuer and Card Network, 2016
      • Performance trends
        • Table NetSpend: Revenue, Active Cards, and Gross Dollar Volume, by Direct Deposit, 2011-2015
  • Appendix
    • Consumer survey methodology
    • Market size methodology
    • Terms and definitions

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