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Prepaid card payment volumes to reach 16.9b this year

Dubai: Prepaid card transactions have been growing considerably over the years and are expected to reach more than 16 billion this year.

According to the World Payments Report 2013 by Capgemini and RBS, global “open-loop” prepaid card transaction volumes have grown by more than 20 per cent during the past four years and are expected to reach 16.9 billion annually in 2014.

Open-loop arrangements enable consumers to make digital transactions at any location worldwide as long as the Visa or MasterCard logo is accepted. Domestic and international ATM withdrawal is also possible.

“[The growth of prepaid cards} is due to a number of factors, including the popularity of prepaid cards among unbanked consumers, and the perceived superior control over spending that prepaid cards represent when compared with debit cards,” the Capgemini report said.

In the UAE, there is no clear data on the volume of transactions, but more people are opting for the prepaid option. Visa’s Prepaid Travel Card Study found that more than one-third of leisure and business travellers in the country “see” prepaid card as a “viable replacement to cash.”