As the recession throws prepaid card provider
Advanced Payment Solutions (APS) into profitability for the first
time, its CEO claims it is ready to double its customer base.

APS’ flagship product, MasterCard’s ‘cashplus’
general purpose card, has now had over half a billion pounds of
funds loaded onto it by its 500,000 cardholders. It claims it is on
course to hit £12m ($18.7m) in revenue for this financial year and
is starting to recoup its considerable start up investment
costs.

“The recession helped drive consumer growth
because banks are finding it harder to conceal charges and have
restricted access to credit,” said APS founder and CEO Rich
Wagner.

“There’s a whole market of people who were
granted overdrafts and credit cards that they can’t pay back at
this moment in time. A straight-forward product like ‘cashplus’
lets them function from day to day while they sort themselves
out.”

On the back of APS’ latest figures Wagner is
now looking to target cash and expense management for SMEs and the
larger corporate market.

“There’s something very straightforward about
prepaid because of its risk cap and transparency which works really
well in a big business or public sector environment,” said
Wagner.

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“It can solve a whole lot of operational
business problems for those companies who have better things to
focus on than payment logistics. We are ready for big outsourcing
deals and could easily double our customer base on our existing
platform.”

APS cites a number of strategies that have
contributed to its increase in cardholders. The first was its
partnership with cheque cashing company The Money Shop in 2006
where it provided the 300 store chain with its own branded Titanium
‘cashplus’ card.

In 2007 Wagner parted ways with his initial
banks sponsor, Siemens Financial as a prelude to obtaining e-money
issuer (ELMI) status in a bid to achieving greater commercial and
creative freedom.

The latest offering was add-on product
‘Creditbuilder’ which it claims accounts for 25 percent of all new
customer growth. It is targeted at consumers who have poor credit
ratings and those who are not eligible for a credit card. APS
claims if monthly service payments are made to the prepaid card,
consumers are granted a ‘second chance’ at boosting their credit
rating.