Banco Sabadell has launched what it says is the
first reloadable prepaid card programme to be created by a Spanish
bank.

Barcelona-based Sabadell is targeting the programme at any Spanish
retailer which wants to offer reloadable prepaid cards or
non-reloadable gift cards to its customers. Both types of card can
be customised with an individual retailer’s logo and other brand
information, the bank says.

Sabadell spokesperson Fernando Busquets Rodriguez told CI that the
cards are already available in the marketplace.

“Telepizza, a well-known restaurant chain with 800 outlets in
Spain, has started issuing Sabadell prepaid cards,” he said.

Telepizza plans to issue 175,000 prepaid cards, and has already
rolled out its programme in its 70 Madrid outlets, Rodriguez
says.

Customers can use their Telepizza cards to pay for home deliveries
on their doorstep using a VeriFone wireless card reader carried by
the delivery driver.

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Sabadell says that the minimum number of prepaid cards it will
issue on behalf of an individual retailer is 5,000. The cards are
manufactured by Giesecke & Devrient, and the software platform
was supplied by Sermepa, a subsidiary of Spanish card scheme
ServiRed.

Rodriguez says the bank envisages issuing around 500,000 prepaid
cards on behalf of its retailer clients by the end of 2009. He says
that retailers can use the Sabadell cards as part of their loyalty
schemes, for example to offer promotions and incentives to their
customers.

“Our prepaid cards can either carry a network brand such as
MasterCard or Visa, or they can be private-label,” Rodriguez says.
“Retailers can mix and match, for example issuing a reloadable
private-label card or a Visa-branded gift card.”

Although other banks such as BBVA and La Caixa have issued gift
cards in Spain, they are not reloadable, nor are they tied to
retailer loyalty schemes, Rodriguez says.

According to London-based market research firm Euromonitor, there
were 349.3 million prepaid gift cards in issue in Spain in
2007.

Sabadell envisages retailers using its prepaid cards to target the
youth market or consumers who are unbanked. It says that the
retailers’ existing point of sale terminals can be used to sell and
reload the prepaid cards with only a small software
modification.

In a separate venture, in February 2008 Sabadell launched
Instantcard, a range of personalised credit and debit cards.

Sabadell is using a system developed by UK-based Serverside Group,
which allows its cardholders to upload the image of their choice to
the bank’s http://www.creatutarjeta.com/
card personalisation website. They can also select an image from a
preset photo gallery on the website. Cardholders pay a €10 ($14.25)
fee for their Instantcard.

According to Rodriguez, around 8,000 personalised credit cards had
been issued as of the end of August 2008.

Instantcard got a lot of publicity at its launch because people
visiting the card personalisation website were invited to vote for
the best design. The prize was a Mini Cooper car with the winning
design on its roof.

Tom Elgar, Serverside’s CEO, says his experience with banks that
have issued personalised cards is that there is a 20 percent
increase in transactions with personalised cards compared to
non-personalised cards.

“People tend to really appreciate their personalised cards, as they
contain images relevant to the cardholder,” he says.

“Offering a personalised card is a good way for a bank to ensure
its card gets preference over other cards in the customer’s
wallet.”