What's happening with prepaid in 2016?

Prepaid card usage varies across Europe.

Italy currently leads the way and has the highest growth prospects both in terms of transaction value and volume of cards in issue. Conversely the Austrian prepaid market is in its infancy, and in Germany 80 per cent of all consumer transactions are conducted in cash.

Examining the Middle East’s payment market, notes and coins are very much in favour. In the United Arab Emirates, cash is the top payment method in 10 out of 12 purchase categories, ranging from groceries to school fees.

The need for an alternative method of paying for goods and services abroad has paved the way for new ‘cashless’ options, which has prompted further advancements in prepaid payment technologies.

In 2015, Tuxedo Money Solutions is launching the new DubaiCard, in partnership with ATAM and National Pay, using Smart Issuance technology. It is a revolutionary business model that taps into the UAE’s use of National ID cards to offer a world first payment innovation – instant application and issue of personalised MasterCard prepaid cards through city-wide kiosks.

The initiative will see 200 free-standing kiosks installed across Dubai where applicants will simply present their ID and scan their fingerprint, and in two minutes the data is then packaged and sent to a virtual third party to process and approve applications. The prepaid MasterCard® branded cards can be spent anywhere the MasterCard sign is displayed.

In the near future, kiosks will be available at airports, allowing visitors to purchase a prepaid currency card on arrival – offering travellers a more favourable option to using their credit or debit cards while on holiday.

With Dubai beginning to set the pace in innovative payment technology, we can expect other nations to follow suit in 2016, transforming the way in which people spend money and answering a need for speed, flexibility and security in payments.