Just last October RushCard was in the thick of a media and customer firestorm.
A systems conversion led to a glitch that essentially froze cardholder accounts with the prepaid card company and blocked consumers from accessing their funds.
The complications impacted some customers for as long as a few weeks and resulted in the company agreeing to settle with cardholders to the tune of $19 million as payment for those affected by occurrences like bounced checks.
The paycard fiasco wasn’t pretty. But months later – and with the unfortunate events finally behind them – the company is ready to focus on what lies ahead.
Leading that charge is the newly appointed CEO of UniRush (parent company of RushCard) Ron Hynes, who said he wants to focus the company on building out a robust product development pipeline for innovation that is meaningful to the RushCard consumer base, that will add value for them and ultimately the company itself.
"Truly I'm very fortunate to come in at a time when we are on an upward trajectory already. We're not bailing the water out of the boat anymore and we're moving forward," Hynes explained.
After serving most recently as the president of global markets at the digital wallet firm, Mozido, Hynes is coming back to his roots in prepaid by taking the reins at RushCard.
With a passion for financial inclusion and an admiration for the customer loyalty exhibited by RushCard cardholders, Hynes said he was intrigued with the company and impressed with its ability to weather its more recent storm.
“I was blown away by the power and the strength of that bond because it was truly tested last October and the company managed through the issues very well, mitigated cardholder defection to a large degree, and the way that the business rebounded was astounding to me,” he said.
RushCard’s ability to retain customers through a very troubling time may say a lot about the amount of loyalty its users have, something he says is both impressive and certainly unique among others in the industry.
"Like anyone in financial services, the Holy Grail is holding onto customers as long as you can, paying back the cost of acquisition, and building a deeper relationship so you can provide more products and services to improve their lives," he emphasized.
Hynes said that after talking to the company’s board and co-founder Russell Simmons, he knew there was so much more RushCard could be doing for so many more people in the way of delivering significant products and services.
Hynes’ first order of business has been meeting with RushCard’s management and others down through the organization to get a sense of their perspectives on what happened last October and where everything stands today. But when asked by Karen Webster to paint a picture of the next 100 days, Hynes said he has two separate but highly correlated tracks that he’s focused on:
"I'm going to take the first 100 days to understand what we have here, how we can finish the year  strong, and continue to execute on the plan,” he said.
“But then also I want to pour some gasoline on the innovation engine and bring some really exciting product innovation to our customers to help improve their financial lives and to help improve our financial life as well.”
Simmons, a hip-hop mogul and entrepreneur, has long sought to financially empower people and ensure they have access to convenient, safe, and simple payments.
“I've always been passionate about that and I believe we have the power to do that, but it has not been fully realized inside of RushCard, and that's what we're going to set out to do,” Hynes added.
The attachment to Simmons’ own well-known and long-standing brand has certainly been a significant factor in people feeling connected to RushCard and it may be a big reason for the affinity and loyalty among the company’s cardholders.
Hynes describes Simmons as a “tremendous brand ambassador,” and noted that as RushCard looks to accelerate customer growth the company will continue to use the mission and personal experiences Simmons founded the company on.
The thing that has helped RushCard’s existing customer base to remain so strong, Hynes explained, is also the reason why company growth has been somewhat limited over time.
RushCard cardholders seek out and choose the product.
Unlike other prepaid cards, it’s not as typical to see RushCard products hanging near the checkout at the local supermarket or drug store.
With customers that have already made the brand decision, Hynes said RushCard is able to establish a “level of trust that a lot of the other prepaid brands don't."
As both Hynes and RushCard's team knows all too well, payments and prepaid in particular can be a complex industry to thrive in, especially with the ongoing CFPB regulatory uncertainty. Though the company has spent a great deal of time and effort navigating its way through the issues surrounding its system conversion, Hynes said he’s ready to build on the positive momentum and accelerate RushCard’s mission: making the world a better place.