At the very foundation of the need to continuously drive innovation lies a common human need to connect people, information, and services. The payments industry has seen a consistent and quick adoption of innovation as new technology keeps surfaces by the day. Despite all the hot-topic talk of NFC, digital wallets, m-commerce and mobile technology, one common thread is the rise in interest and desire for prepaid.
Today, a large amount of companies not currently in the prepaid sphere are quite literally running to the opportunity and latching onto any type of idea, service or technology and soon merchant service companies will likely follow suit.
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Back in 2009, Western Union took the bold decision to move into prepaid and become a dominant player. Based on strong consumer demand and a few previously failed attempts earlier in the 2000’s, Western Union has finally cemented their position of strength within this market.
An interesting note here is that, even with a simple business model built around money transfers, Western Union has had a long history of adopting new technology. From operating the first telegraph network to launching the first commercial satellite into Earth’s orbit, Western Union continues to look at how communication and financial services go hand-in-hand.
Keeping an eye on the younger demographic, prepaid fills two distinct trends and needs in the next-generation markets: self-service culture, and instant gratification. Prepaid wins on both fronts and may become the dominant payment method in the coming years.