Visa’s Frew: Banks Moving GPR to the Forefront Will See Results (Oct. 23, 2014)
As GPR cards go mainstream for certain consumer sectors, banks that bring GPR cards to the forefront of their branch marketing efforts are seeing positive results, according to Cecilia Frew, Visa’s head of U.S. prepaid products. Frew on Oct. 21 joined Matthew Miller, PNC’s senior vice president, debit card, prepaid and customer rewards group, on a panel at the PayThink conference in Phoenix.
When PNC launched a GPR card two years ago, the bank internally decreed that GPR cards “counted” the same as checking accounts in the marketing equation, so employees were just as motivated to promote GPR cards to customers disinterested or ineligible for a checking account as they were in signing up new checking account customers, Miller explained. “When bankers realized that selling a new GPR product mattered just as much as a new checking account, we saw a dramatic improvement in new-customer acquisition,” he said. PNC employees also were surprised to discover that new GPR customers often have similar income and demographic characteristics to their other customers, Miller observed.
The strategy resonated because a growing number of prospective U.S. bank customers who don’t qualify for a checking account want a prepaid card to use as their primary money-management tool, or need a GPR card to control spending or segregate funds to save for a rainy day, Frew noted. Millennials are a big part of that movement, she added. “In the wake of the Great Recession, U.S. consumers put a lot of emphasis on controlling their spending, and millennials came of age during the recession. As a group, they are debt-averse. Someday they may need a lending product or a full bank relationship, but initially they’re interested in money-management, and technology to support that. In fact, with mobile technology, these customers think of prepaid cards as a way to move funds electronically,” Frew noted.
By empowering employees to respond to these customers’ needs, banks that move GPR cards to the forefront in their overall marketing and advertising programs will see positive results in new-customer acquisition and retention, and higher long-term revenues, Frew believes. “When the branch personnel can see a prepaid card’s value to the customer, the product can really take off.”
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