Prepaid Cards 123

Prepaid Debit Card Data and Statistics

Reloadable prepaid debit cards are the fastest growing noncash form of payment. Transactions in 2012 topped 9 billion, and the annual growth of general-purpose reloadable prepaid cards exceeded 33%. Below you'll find data on this quickly evolving market.

The data are divided into the following sections:

Top 10 U.S. Prepaid Card Issuers (2013)

Rank
Company
Purchase Volume
(mil.)
Cards (000)
Purchase
Transaction (mil.)
Average Amount
1
The Bancorp Bank
$30,385.60
57,704
717.5
$42
2
MetaBank
$17,167.00
30,940
529.6
$32
3
Green Dot Corp.
$13,387.00
4,489
484.70
$28
4
Comerica Bank
$13,173.00
11,074
423.8
$31
5
JPMorgan Chase
$10,800.00
9,500
234.9
$46
6
H&R Block
$8,700.00
2,600
100.2
$87
7
Bank of America
$5,114.90
7,462
168.5
$30
8
U.S. Bank
$3,680.3
33,581
146.2
$25
9
Citibank
$3,079.5
20,387
131.7
$23
10
Wells Fargo
$2,900.8
8,829
102.6
$28

Source: The Nilson Report (June 2014). The above rankings include MasterCard, Visa and Discover prepaid cards.

Prepaid cards issued by American Express include the Serve and Bluebird cards. According to a June 5, 2014 press release, American Express processed $1.9 billion in transactions in the first four months of 2014, representing an annual run rate of nearly $6 billion.

Prepaid Debit Card Market

The Federal Reserve System has published a triennial study since 2001 to estimate aggregate trends in noncash payments in the United States. The FRS released its most recent study, The 2013 Federal Reserve Payments Study, on December 19, 2013.

Key results related to prepaid cards include the following:

In addition, it's estimated that retail purchases with prepaid debit cards in the U.S. in 2014 exceeded $200 billion. (Source: Forbes)

Prepaid Card Usage

The Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas published a report in February 2014 based on data provided by NetSpend. General Purpose Reloadable Prepaid Cards: Penetration, Use, Fees, and Fraud Risks, Fumiko Hayashi and Emily Cuddy, The Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City (February 2014). The report offers insight into how consumers use prepaid cards, including how long the cards are active, how they are loaded, and where they are used.

Life Span of a Prepaid Card: The typical length of time a prepaid debit card is in use varies based on how the user loads value onto the card. Consumers that use direct deposit on average use a prepaid card longer, with the longest average for those who receive direct deposit of government payments:

Load Statistics: The frequency with which a prepaid debit card is loaded varies significantly. The average prepaid card is reloaded with funds 1.8 times with a value per load of $285.53. Here's a breakdown on the percentage of cards and load characteristics:

Transaction Types: Purchases are by far the most common use of prepaid debit cards. ATM transactions are a distant second:

Average monthly purchase activity:

Cash Withdrawals versus Purchase Transactions:

Top 10 Merchant Categories in Transaction Volume:

  1. Gas stations–18.8%
  2. Fast food restaurants–14.8%
  3. Grocery stores–13.7%
  4. Restaurants–5.9%
  5. Discount stores–3.7%
  6. Telecommunications–3.4%
  7. Drug stores–3.0%
  8. Miscellaneous food stores–2.3%
  9. Clothing stores–2.0%
  10. Video/DVD rental stores–1.8%

Consumer Attitudes Toward Prepaid Cards

Prepaid cards address a number of consumers' financial needs and preferences. A 2012 study by Bretton Woods, Inc. captured data on customer satisfaction and consumers' reasons for using prepaid cards..

Customer Satisfaction

What Prepaid Users Liked Most

Source: Analysis of Branded General Purpose Reloadable Prepaid Cards, Bretton Woods, Inc. (February 2012).

Prepaid Card Fees

Average Fees Based On Card Acquisition Source

–Average Monthly Value of Fees for Cards Obtained Via the Web

–Average Monthly Value of Fees for Cards Obtained at a Retailer

–Average Monthly Value of Fees for Cards Obtained at a Financial Institution

Source: Consumers' Use of Prepaid Cards: A Transaction-Based Analysis, Stephanie M. Wilshusen, Robert M. Hunt, and James van Opstal, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia; Rachel Schneider, Center for Financial Services Innovation (August 2012).

Average Fees

–Average monthly cardholder fees: $11.00

–Average fee composition:

Source: General Purpose Reloadable Prepaid Cards: Penetration, Use, Fees, and Fraud Risks, Fumiko Hayashi and Emily Cuddy, The Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City (February 2014)

Demographics

Gender: 51.0% female

Race:

Age:

Marital Status:

Education:

Income:

General Purpose Reloadable Prepaid Cards: Penetration, Use, Fees, and Fraud Risks, Fumiko Hayashi and Emily Cuddy, The Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City (February 2014)

In addition, the Bretton Woods study found similar demographic information among users of prepaid debit cards:

Source: Analysis of Branded General Purpose Reloadable Prepaid Cards, Bretton Woods, Inc. (February 2012)

Prepaid Debit Card Resources

  1. Consumers' Use of Prepaid Cards: A Transaction-Based Analysis, Stephanie M. Wilshusen, Robert M. Hunt, and James van Opstal, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia; Rachel Schneider, Center for Financial Services Innovation (August 2012)
  2. General Purpose Reloadable Prepaid Cards: Penetration, Use, Fees, and Fraud Risks, Fumiko Hayashi and Emily Cuddy, The Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City (February 2014)
  3. Analysis of Branded General Purpose Reloadable Prepaid Cards, Bretton Woods, Inc. (February 2012)
  4. The Nilson Report (June 2014)
  5. The 2013 Federal Reserve Payments Study (December 2013)
  6. Why Americans Use Prepaid Cards (February 2014)
  7. Loaded with Uncertainty (September 2012)