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Data for today’s episode is provided by Mercator Advisory Group’s report – Prepaid Cards: Continued Growth
In 2009, 45% of consumers bought prepaid or gift cards – how many do today?
- In 2019, 62% of consumers report purchasing a gift card or prepaid card
- The slowest growing prepaid segment is gift cards for online services (like music), at 26% since 2013
- The fastest-growing segment, prepaid transit, has grown 130% from 2013-2019
- Other high-growth prepaid segments include:
- Prepaid mobile phone cards: 118%
- General Purpose Reloadable cards: 100%
- Retailer gift cards remain the most popular:
- 49% of consumers bought one this year
- A close 2nd is General Purpose prepaid cards:
- 42% of consumers bought one in 2019
- 23% of consumers have bought a Transit prepaid card, the fastest-growing segment
About the report
Mercator Advisory Group’s most recent Insight Summary Report, Prepaid Cards: Continued Growth, from the bi-annual CustomerMonitor Survey Series reveals that the growth of transit cards in the United States has been 130% since 2013. Similarly, prepaid phone cards have grown 118% and reloadable general purpose cards have grown 100%. Other types of prepaid cards have also seen impressive growth over this time.
The overall growth of the prepaid cards in the U.S. was 17%, which indicates that consumers who were already buying prepaid cards, are buying more types of prepaid cards.
Like many new products and services, prepaid is a product favored by younger consumers. Currently, about 7 in 10 of those under 45 years of age are buying prepaid cards compared to 5 in 10 of those older than 45.
Prepaid cards are being redeemed online nearly as much as in physical stores. The survey finds that 66% of consumers are redeeming prepaid cards online, which is slightly less than the 73% who are redeeming in-store. Compared to other age cohorts, those 18–34 years of age are more likely to redeem their prepaid cards online (74%) than in-store (64%).
Cash is still king however. When given the choice of gifts, 4 in 10 would prefer cash, while another 13% would like a gift chosen specifically for them and about the same would like a gift card.
Prepaid Cards: Continued Growth, the latest Insight Summary Report from Mercator Advisory Group’s Primary Data Service, is based on a sample of 3,002 U.S. adults surveyed in the annual online Payments survey of Mercator’s CustomerMonitor Survey Series, conducted in June 2019.
The study highlights consumers’ use and interest in prepaid cards and in particular store cards, general purpose (or open-loop) cards and general purpose reloadable cards. The report explores where consumers buy and redeem prepaid cards, whether the cards are purchased for themselves or as gifts, how the cards are used, source of funds for the cards, and other key aspects of prepaid cards in consumers’ lives.
“Americans are finding more and more uses for prepaid cards in their lives as evidenced by the growth of different prepaid card categories revealed by the survey. Prepaid companies need to focus on the different use cases both for buying and funding as well as redeeming to keep up with the evolving use of these cards. The greatest opportunity is likely to come from how these consumers are using prepaid cards for themselves rather than for gifts,” stated the author of the report, Peter Reville, director of Primary Data Services at Mercator Advisory Group, which includes the CustomerMonitor Survey Series.