search trigger icon
search close button

Turning the “Unbanked” into Good Customers

Strategically Speaking
Dec 19, 2012

JerryFederico 50x50 Author: Jerry Federico,

Highlighted by recent industry discussion are the millions of “unbanked” individuals and families.  The “unbanked” are often portrayed as not wanting to have banking relationships or having the inability to “qualify” for accounts. But, the success of non-financial organizations providing “bank like” services to this demographic contradicts these preconceptions.

With the use of a “prepaid”, or probably better defined as a “stored value card” program, your financial institution can gain deposits and profitable customers, while helping your community improve the quality of life for these individuals and families. 

Let’s be clear, there are many “prepaid card” programs that do not match up to the market, have failed, and/or have been too costly to be successful.  By considering the following guidelines, you can provide a true win/win program for your financial institution, your existing customers and your new customers:

  • Participate in a sponsored program that provides your financial institution with its own BIN number.  This critical component means the program truly belongs to your financial institution.  Deposits are held at your financial institution and program fees are determined by you. Additionally, you should be receiving interchange associated with the program.  Don’t be fooled by a referral program where you are simply paid a commission for cards you issue.
  • Participate in a program that is easily deployed and has instant issuance of cards that provide your customers with access to their funds as soon as they leave your branch. 
  • Work with a processor directly in providing the program. 
  • Evaluate the program’s options.   Offering both reloadable cards and payroll cards will generate fee income for your financial institution.  (Remember that payroll cards operate under their own rules.)  Under the right circumstances, even gift cards may be a profitable option to consider.
  • Participate in a program that will not tax your current resources.  The processor should provide bilingual, 24/7 customer service directly to your card holders. 
  • The processor should indemnify your financial institution in the event of fraudulent transactions so you are protected against any loss.

The features of the program need to be competitive with the successful programs available today.  This means using mobile devices to provide text messages of deposits, purchases and balances.  It means the ability to issue additional cards to family members and having the ability to customize controls on those secondary cards.  It means providing on-line bill-pay services, allowing your customers to pay all of their bills without the expense of money orders. 

Now think what this program will mean to your community.   You will be providing financial services to those who often spend one to three percent of their income just to get their payroll checks cashed.  This can easily add up to $250 to $1,000 yearly in check cashing fees.   With your program, you will be providing these customers with an FDIC insured account and a card that is accepted at literally millions of retail businesses.  These customers can now go online to make purchases, benefiting from the many online discounts available only to those who have a method of electronic payments.    

These programs will bring benefits to your community and profitable customers to your financial institution.  These relationships will allow you to offer other banking products in the future, for additional income opportunity.

Year 2013 will be the year of the stored value card.  You owe it to yourself to investigate these programs.

In my next post, I’ll address how your business customers should be your first ally in launching your stored value card program. 


subscribe to our blog

Stay up to date with the latest people-inspired innovation at Jack Henry.

blog subscription image
floating background gradient

contact us

Learn more about people-inspired innovation at Jack Henry.