Putting prepaid cards in consumers’ hands requires the cooperation of several companies to handle the flow of transactions from the time a consumer uses a card until the transaction is settled.
For a prepaid card program, typically there are issuers, processors, and the card networks involved. In addition, card programs may include program managers and reload networks, depending on how they are set up. The kinds of companies in the prepaid transaction chain are:
Financial institutions issue cards and offer settlement and risk
These companies authorize payments, clear transactions, and provide services such as call centers, arranging for card production and Web site design.
These provide connections between the merchant’s bank and the issuing bank.
These allow for PIN Debit transactions at the point of sale.
The companies allow ATM transactions to take place.
These networks allow cardholders to add money to cards at retail locations.
The companies handle program design, marketing, day-to-day operations back office support, and card account maintenance. They also may arrange for Web site production and card design.