2013 Paybefore Awards: Best Consumer Value (May 2013)
The prepaid or emerging payments program that delivers the best consumer value proposition for the combination of features, functionality, service and price.
An open-loop, FDIC-insured prepaid account that can be integrated with a student ID card to facilitate disbursement of financial aid and student payroll, and providing access to 50,000-plus surcharge-free ATMs, free online account management tools and more.
Mark Putman, First Data
- Blackboard Transact
- Discover Financial Services
- Money Network, A First Data Company
BlackboardPay gets an A for designing a prepaid account for busy students who receive financial aid and work study funds, and who also need the convenience of using a card for multiple purposes on campus and around town. The open-loop prepaid card from Blackboard Transact supported by First Data’s Money Network and Discover Network integrates with college student ID cards, so it can function as a closed-loop prepaid card for campus purchases and activities, including door access, while enabling purchases anywhere Discover is accepted.
The first card to market with a prepaid account designed for disbursing student federal financial aid and providing direct deposit for student payroll, BlackboardPay aims to eliminate as many fees as possible for students. It also simplifies steps and speeds up administrative processes by enabling campuses to issue cards with student photos that link open- and closed-loop accounts in near real-time.
Both schools and students realize significant saving from BlackboardPay. Schools with 10,000 students save an estimated $84,000 annually by eliminating checks for financial aid and student payroll. Campuses also report an increase in spending in bookstores and dining locations because students carry one card for most activities.
For students who receive federal student aid, the FDIC-insured card is an improvement over traditional checking accounts, saving an estimated $444,150 in annual banking fees for a population of 10,000 students. With robust online account-management tools, a mobile app and the option to add a secondary card, BlackboardPay enables cardholders to keep track of spending and avoid excessive fees.
Cardholders can get cash from 55,000 surcharge-free Allpoint Network ATMs and also may cash Money Network checks for free at any Walmart store.
- American Express
Bluebird’s arrival at Walmart heralded far more than a bold new prepaid card brand perched at displays near the entrances and checkout lanes of every location of the nation’s largest retailer.
Combining American Express Co.’s customer service with Walmart’s convenience, Bluebird is packed full of value for consumers. The reloadable card—which is marketed as an alternative to checking accounts/debit cards—delivers a premium mix of financial services tools and payment technologies and a reassuringly clear, simple fee structure. Members may use the card wherever American Express is accepted. And, the account includes access to purchase protection and global assistance plus protection if the card is lost or stolen.
Bluebird Members can add funds through multiple channels, including remote check capture via the Bluebird mobile app or simply adding cash for free at the register of any of Walmart’s 4,000 stores nationwide. With the mobile app, Bluebird Members can pay bills, make person-to-person payments, as well as create up to four subaccounts for family members and friends, and each account includes controls, such as setting spending limits and disabling ATM access for specific users.
With no monthly fee, minimum balance requirements or overdraft fees plus a mobile app packed with tools to track spending, Bluebird provides consumers with great value for a low cost.
Winner: Gift Cards Special Offers
- Blackhawk Network
Who says there’s no such thing as a free lunch? With its new Gift Cards Special Offers concept, Blackhawk Network has found a way to virtually give money away to grocery customers buying gift cards by packing more than the card’s face value into the deal.
Blackhawk works closely with gift card merchants to create eye-popping values for Gift Cards Special Offers, such as a $100 restaurant gift card that sells at the supermarket for only $79.99; a $100 bookstore gift card that only costs $90 or a multipack of $85 gift cards for just $75. Shoppers can get even more value from the deals by combining offers with other retailer promotions, including earning rewards points that can be redeemed for store credit or discounts on merchandise or fuel purchases.
Launched initially in Washington and Colorado, Gift Cards Special Offers is helping Blackhawk generate fresh interest in gift cards among consumers hunting for value, while reinforcing relationships between merchants and the supermarkets that play a key role in distributing gift card.
But there’s no doubt the biggest winners are supermarket shoppers scoring extra value with gift cards through Gift Cards Special Offers as the concept rolls out in other U.S. markets.