Are we reaching consumer loaded prepaid programme number saturation in the UK?

Polymath has published The Prepaid report since 2007 and we have tracked the number and types of consumer loaded prepaid cards programmes in the UK since then. Our latest report in January makes interesting reading, not least as it highlights for the second quarter in a row a drop in the total number of UK prepaid card programmes, writes David Parker

Polymath has published The Prepaid report since 2007 and we have tracked the number and types of consumer loaded prepaid cards programmes in the UK since then. Our latest report in January makes interesting reading, not least as it highlights for the second quarter in a row a drop in the total number of UK prepaid card programmes. The main drop has been in the number of GRP programmes marketed and although all the ‘big’ brands are still out there a number of the smaller entrants have been seen to withdraw, writes David Parker

This would seem to imply that a certain amount of consolidation is underway, also highlighted by the relatively recent purchase by APS of the Blue Sky programme. Although anecdotal only, as not trackable in the same way the number of corporate programmes/uses of prepaid continues to grow – again as demonstrated by the strong value achieved by Corporate Pay in their sale to WEX.

Of course the key question for consumer loaded prepaid cards is at what level is the market sustainable and will we see a further contraction in the number of programmes.

We have since 2007 seen the number of programmes nearly quadruple so the market has certainly overall grown. Another interesting factor will if we start to see programmes launched not using plastic at all. Currently we are not aware other than a few ‘virtual cards’ such as Neo, or the paper based programme 3V of any pure ‘mobile’ offerings.

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