Benefits of Prepaid Cards for Members in Challenging Times

By: Courtney Haan, Card Payments Product Manager, PSCU

From coping with social distancing guidelines to the increasing unemployment rate and newly surfacing fraud scams, the coronavirus pandemic is greatly impacting financial security and stability for many. In this most challenging time, prepaid cards are one way to provide a safe and convenient payment option for your credit union members.

Security and Peace of Mind

Prepaid cards are the perfect companion to a debit card and/or checking account in providing an added layer of security from financial fraudsters. Members can use them to make purchases online or by phone, thereby limiting the exposure of their primary accounts and the risk of losing major funds. The cards also reduce the need to carry cash, helping to prevent loss and theft, and the possibility of transmitting the virus.

Additionally, prepaid cards are a great budgeting tool, as the card can only spend the amount of money loaded onto it. Members can access their prepaid account online and check their transaction history and balance before shopping, ensuring they remain within their spending limits to avoid debt. They can also use the cards to separate discretionary money from other funds to pay for necessities. Members can also be assured that if their prepaid card is lost or stolen, their loaded funds can be reimbursed to their full balance.

A Convenient Payment Option

While prepaid cards can be complementary as described above, they can also serve as a useful alternative to a debit or credit account. The cards are easy to attain, as a credit check or deposit account is not required, and they can be used anywhere Visa or Mastercard are accepted, as well as to receive cash back at participating retailers and make cash withdrawals from any ATM.

Many prepaid cards are also reloadable. Members can load funds onto their card immediately online, either from a credit or debit card transfer, or directly from a checking or savings account. Now is a good time to remind your members that if they don’t have a reloadable prepaid card set up from a checking or savings account, your credit union can assist in registering their checking/savings account to be used for reloading. Alternatively, the cardholder can register online via the Prepaid Program website that can be found in the Prepaid section of your credit union’s website. Educate your members on the various prepaid card options available, along with the different functionalities and features.

In this time of financial stress, we also recommend informing members that your credit union can facilitate a direct deposit onto their prepaid reloadable card via a simple CardWiz report search to obtain the direct deposit information, which the member can provide their employer or unemployment office to make their funds immediately available. Members can also obtain the direct deposit account information to give to their employer or unemployment office via their credit union’s website. This eliminates the extra steps and time it takes to cash checks.

Credit unions can get the word out to their members about these key points and other important updates and information across various communication channels, including their on-hold voice messaging, ATM screens and account statements, etc. Now more than ever, communication and service are essential in maintaining healthy member relationships.

Courtney Haan leads the Prepaid Product Management team at PSCU, driving innovation and marketing strategy for PSCU’s Prepaid portfolio of products. Prior to joining PSCU, she was a Senior Account Manager for the Prepaid division at FIS, and held several global senior product and brand management positions in classic consumer products companies.