Prepaid cards could get boost as students head off to college

by. Konrad Christensen

According to consulting firm Mercator Advisory Group, prepaid card use is expected to generate $202 billion in revenue this year. That’s a pretty amazing estimate when you consider in 2009, that number was just $28.6 billion. One market in particular may be driving much of this increase – teens.

Beyond teenagers as cardholders themselves, financial institution (FI) issuers should consider the guardians of these young people. Back-to-school time, if leveraged strategically by relationship-oriented FIs, could result in a prepaid card surge among the parents-with-teens set.

Rather than adding a teen or college student onto an existing credit card account, many parents are choosing a prepaid card with online tracking and debt management tools for their college-bound children.

Parents like the specific features prepaid cards offer, including convenience, security and the ability to monitor spending. Specifically for parents of college students, prepaid cards provide a simple, safe option for allotting funds for books, spending money for a trip home or depositing a reward for good grades.

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