Retailers and banks have had long, and at times,
tempestuous relationships. But now is the time to put those
differences aside and work together if the prepaid market is to
grow.

Cards International’s parent company, VRL,
hosted its 2010 Prepaid Summit Europe in Milan, Italy last month
and revealed collaborative research by VRL, MasterCard and Polymath
Consulting.

In its
research it claims prepaid should be treated as consumer packaged
goods rather than a financial services product.

Retailers have typically shied away from open loop
products, perceiving them to be a threat to
business.

However, Matt Lanford, head of prepaid for Europe,
MasterCard Worldwide, claims this simply to be not the case and
retailers need to understand that.

In the
research retailers claim they are willing to listen to the
banks.

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It is
then the banks’ responsibility to ensure retailers are fully
educated on the benefits of prepaid products to their businesses
and to their customers before any partnerships are
forged.

Most
importantly for retailers, they must understand how prepaid will
impact on their bottom line – sales.

Retailers will not get on board with
banks lightly but if the right business case is put in front of
them, then the unlikeliest of relationships may well just
happen.