Beginning this month, Visa USA is moving into the prepaid contactless card market. The cards will be available to clients of Meta Payment Systems, the prepaid card division of MetaBank, a savings bank headquartered in Storm Lake, Iowa.
SAN FRANCISCO–Visa USA has announced the launch of its first contactless prepaid cards, providing consumers a faster and more convenient way to pay and offering merchants increased revenue opportunities, increased throughput and improved customer loyalty. MetaBank will be the first financial institution to issue the cards.
Beginning December 2006, the Visa Contactless prepaid cards became available to clients of Meta Payment Systems, MetaBank’s prepaid card division. Like all Visa prepaid products, the Visa Contactless prepaid card can be used everywhere Visa debit cards are accepted, offering consumers a more secure, cost-effective and convenient alternative to cash and checks. The new Visa Contactless prepaid cards are embedded with a radio-frequency chip that allows consumers to make a contactless transaction by holding their card in front of a reader at checkout, instead of swiping it or handing it to a cashier.
“New product distribution channels at retailers and financial institutions, and an ever-expanding product line – in areas such as the underserved, healthcare and government disbursements – have fueled tremendous growth for Visa’s prepaid category and paved the way for continued innovation,” said Todd Brockman, senior vice president, prepaid products, Visa USA. “Adding the contactless feature to prepaid cards offers Visa and our stakeholders the opportunity to capture an even greater share of cash and check spends while responding to consumers’ continued desire for innovative electronic payments.”
Contactless Momentum Continues
Visa’s Contactless platform was designed with the flexibility to accommodate a full range of products – including credit, debit and prepaid – as well as nontraditional forms of payment – such as mobile phones and other handheld devices. Visa Contactless has enjoyed one of the fastest deployments in Visa history and is now a feature found on more than 6 million cards worldwide. In the U.S., more than 30,000 merchant locations accept contactless payments. Consumer adoption of Visa Contactless has led to impressive growth, especially in the area of “small ticket” purchases, defined by Visa as those under $25. Visa Contactless volume – that is, the amount spent by consumers using the contactless feature – has grown an average of 34 percent per month over the last fiscal year, with the average transaction worth nearly $17. For the same time period, the number of Visa Contactless transactions has grown an average of 34 percent each month.
“As even the smallest purchases migrate to plastic, Visa remains focused on developing products that provide benefits for our cardholders, merchants and member financial institutions,” said Brian Triplett, senior vice president of emerging product development at Visa USA. “Looking toward the future, Visa will enable more form factors with the contactless feature, like mini cards and mobile phones, ensuring Visa-branded products deliver the speed and convenience of contactless payments regardless of your interests or lifestyle.”
Contactless prepaid cards provide all the same security protections the industry has come to expect from Visa, including zero liability for fraudulent chargeson U.S.-issued cards and Visa’s industry-leading anti-fraud technology.
MetaBank is a federally chartered savings bank headquartered in Storm Lake, Iowa. Meta Financial Group, Inc.r is the bank holding company for MetaBank, MetaBank West Central, Meta Payment Systemsr, and Meta Trust Companyr. The Meta Payment Systems division of MetaBank based in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, serves banks, processors, and third party marketers by providing prepaid cards, credit cards, ACH origination, merchant acquiring, ATM sponsorship, and money transfer. For more information call 605.275.8052 or visit www.metacash.com.