There was a time when prepaid cards were only good for calling back home long distance or keeping otherwise embarrassing purchases off of credit card statements. With Tuxedo’s latest feature, though, prepaid cards could suddenly be good for a lot more.
Tuxedo announced Monday (March 7) that it is launching a new “Live Load” service that will eliminate the need for customers to prepay for prepaid cards. In effect, the technology allows Live Load to draw the necessary funds from users’ linked accounts at the moment of the transaction, and consumers can control which accounts are linked to their prepaid cards through a smartphone app. Tuxedo CEO John Sharman explained that Live Load will inject a much-needed degree of flexibility and user-centric design into the prepaid card market.
“Even in such a rapidly moving market, this technology changes the game,” Sharman said in a statement. “As well as taking the need to prepay out of prepaid cards for the first time, our platform has the ability to disrupt a significant number of markets from travel and loyalty through to more niche markets based on legacy, closed-loop operating models.”
The most innovative use of Live Load to date may have been as a part of Travelex’s Supercard pilot program, which helped consumers avoid exorbitant foreign transaction fees when paying with their own funds. Instead of going through normal cross-border payment channels and incurring said fees as a result, Live Load conducts the purchase without changing the currency type.
However Tuxedo makes it happen, capitalizing on the prepaid card market could yield big dividends. Mercator Advisory Group estimated that the open-loop market would grow by a CAGR of 7 percent through 2018, while closed-loop networks would see a 3 percent CAGR through the same period, leading to purses of $343 billion and $371 billion, respectively.