Prepaid Maestro cards to help teens learn budgeting
A range of prepaid debit cards in the UK is to be launched by popular youth magazine publisher Emap, which says that the cards will benefit young people by encouraging them to budget more carefully when using plastic cards to pay.
Blue Corner, the prepaid division of Affinity Cards Limited (ACL), has formed a partnership deal with UK media company Emap and MasterCard Europe to launch the range of reloadable prepaid Maestro debit cards, co-branded in conjunction with various Emap publication brands. Through the deal, Blue Corner will operate co-branded prepaid payment card programmes for Emap titles for five years.
The partnership will see the launch of products aimed at both the teenage and adult markets, with the first Emap titles to launch cards being Smash Hits, Bliss, Maxpower and Match magazines together with Magic 105.4 radio.
UK growth expected According to Emap, prepaid cards have already proved successful in the USA, where they now account for 4% of all in-store payments. Aggregate spending on US prepaid cards is projected to reach the equivalent of £257 billion per year by 2009, and similar rapid growth is expected in the UK market.
According to Mark Kennedy, chief executive for ACL: "The wide possible uses of prepaid cards fit Emap's brands perfectly. As the explosion in the use of prepaid accounts in the UK mobile telecoms market, combined with the growth of the prepaid debit cards in the US has already taught us, the growth potential for this market is enormous."
Responsibility At the same time, ACL asserted that prepaid debit cards also have an essential role to play in promoting consumer financial inclusiveness and responsible spending.
Teenagers are expected to be enthusiastic to use the cards and, apart from benefiting from the added safety of not carrying cash, the cards can help youngsters better understand money management skills. For additional control, parents can also go online to review their son or daughter's spending.
Prepay, not credit Because they are a non-credit payment instrument, the prepaid Maestro debit cards will not require credit checks before being issued, and they are not linked to bank accounts.
The cards may be topped up online (at BlueCorner.co.uk) using either a credit or debit card, or at any one of 13,000 Paypoint locations and at all Post Office locations by April 2006. They can be used to shop both on the High Street, online and over the phone, wherever Maestro is accepted. Prepaid cards can be topped up with funds from anywhere in the world, and Blue Corner does not charge any foreign exchange commission on overseas transactions.