Prepaid Debit Cards Show Continued Growth

Prepaid debit cards grew at a faster rate in 2017 compared to slight growth in 2016, according to the Federal Reserve’s 2018 payments report released last week. Prepaid debit cards grew at a rate of three percent by total transaction value overall. Use of general purpose prepaid cards–those branded with Visa, Mastercard, or American Express networks–grew at a rate of five percent.

The increase represents a considerable rebound from the prior year. Prepaid cards showed a meager .5% gain in 2016. Still, prepaid debit cards trailed both credit cards and non-prepaid debit cards. Credit cards jumped 10% in dollar volume in 2017; non-prepaid debit cards increased 7%.

The increase in the number of transactions, however, showed that prepaid cards continue to be an increasingly popular payment method. General-purpose prepaid cards led the way here, growing at 18.9% compared to 9.4% for credit cards and 10.7% for non-prepaid debit cards.