Latin America’s prepaid general purpose card
market holds the potential for substantial growth, believes prepaid
card specialist NovoPayment.
The company’s optimism is based on research
conducted by the organisation and presented at the third annual
Underbanked Financial Services Forum held in June in Miami under
the auspices of the Center for Financial Services Innovation, a
nonprofit affiliate of US community bank ShoreBank
Presenting the study NovoPayment’s founder and
CEO Anabel Perez said: “Our study revealed a significant market
with the income, access to infrastructure and consumption behaviour
to be viable prepaid general purpose card users.

Latin America: prepaid general purpose cards“Approximately
57 percent of the population has the need, the capacity, the means,
and we believe the necessary economic and social incentives to
warrant modern payment tools,” she continued. “Prepaid general
purpose cards have proved to be well suited for providing these
services in a sustainable way.”

According to NovoPayment’s study, Latin and
Central America represent a potential market of more than 300
million unbanked people with a purchasing power of more than $200
billion per year using prepaid spending cards by 2015.
Such a development would provide access to POS,
ATM, online transactions and mobile payments to a public that
currently relies almost exclusively on cash, stressed
The forecast covers 15 countries – Argentina,
Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic,
Guatemala, Ecuador, El Salvador, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua,
Panama, Peru and Venezuela and was based on the measurement of such
factors as labour force size, poverty rates, wages, banking and
mobile phone penetration and other metrics based on NovoPayments’
Headquartered in Miami, NovoPayments can lay
claim to a number of firsts in Latin America including the first
prepaid general purpose card not requiring a bank account and the
first mobile to mobile funds transfer platform using short message
With operations in the US and nine Central and
Latin American countries NovoPayments has more than 730,000 cards
in issue which are used for 22 million transactions totalling $330
million annually. Products include gift cards and payroll cards.
Solutions are also supplied to banks, government agencies and
NovoPayment cards are issued under the
MasterCard, Maestro, Visa and Visa Electron brands. Card management
is undertaken via NovoPayment’s Sistema de Gestión de Tarjetas
Electrónicas Prepago integrated payments processing and
administration platform.