Prepaid White Paper. Two Approaches for Credit Unions to Take Advantage of the Prepaid. Student/Teen Program Opportunity

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1 Prepaid White Paper Student/Teen Program Opportunity Two Approaches for Credit Unions to Take Advantage of the Prepaid Student/Teen Program Opportunity

2 This white paper outlines the student/teen market, the credit union opportunity for prepaid reloadable cards within the student/ teen space, the potential benefits to credit unions, student/teens and parents, and best practices for implementing and marketing a prepaid student/teen product. Introduction Prepaid Student/Teen Programs offer several growth options for credit unions. Most credit unions already know the value of attracting young members and moving them into more lucrative, sophisticated products as they become money earners. To add to this, credit unions in particular should be taking a hard look at prepaid reloadable programs as an alternative to debit and credit cards in light of the Durbin Amendment. There are two different target markets that credit unions can approach with a prepaid student/teen program one geared toward younger teens (ages 13 17) and one geared toward college and graduate students ages The teen program allows the credit union to market a Teen Reloadable Prepaid card that provides parental involvement and control over the account. The college student program will offer the credit union the ability to sell a feature-rich Student Prepaid card product to young adults who will be financially independent but might still need some financial assistance from their parents. Student/Teen Market Assessment Students and teens have spending power whether they have their own money to spend or they re influencing their parents to buy items for them. The market size of year olds is approximately $44 million and they spend over $500 billion annually, yet only half of this group have a checking account and only a fourth of the ones with checking accounts have an ATM or debit card. However, 95% of this age group has received and used Prepaid Gift Cards, and by the time they are seniors in college, 92% of them will have a credit card. It is estimated that by 2013, student/teen spend volume on open loop prepaid cards will reach $5.5 billion out of the total $250 billion prepaid open loop spend volume. The prepaid student/teen spend volume will be the fastest growing segment within the prepaid open loop card market with a predicted 77% CAGR between 2010 and The following points can help credit unions make informed decisions on establishing a strategy for marketing prepaid student/ teen programs: Teen access to debit card products is decreasing as banks find ways to make up for lost interchange revenue as a result of the Durbin Amendment Free checking accounts are disappearing Fees and requirements for debit cards are tightening The CARD Act increased the age at which an individual may apply for a credit card (without a parent co-signer) to 21 The growing number of mobile features associated with prepaid products increases appeal to teens, since they text more frequently than all other age groups combined Mobile data usage by teens increased over 340% between 2009 and 2010 Credit unions have historically catered to students and teens via savings account products, but prepaid products deliver the ability to reach a broader membership base at 2

3 an early age. Prepaid cards also can improve the financial responsibility and education of these young members and help them graduate to more lucrative products later on. Student/Teen Target Market Characteristics The majority of the student/teen target market falls into the Gen Y age group (15 24 yrs. old). These folks are heavily influenced by both peers and their parents when it comes to financial decisions; 40% refer to their parents instead of their financial institution for banking assistance. The advantage of credit unions over banks is that they tend to offer younger members tiered product programs. Prepaid should be the stepping stone between savings accounts and more sophisticated products and is a way to attract new membership whether it s a student/teen or the parent. Once an individual signs on for one product, they will be able to gain the other. The student/teen market is technologically adept and also characterized as being achievement-oriented, team-oriented, family-centric, and attention-craving. They prefer directness over subtlety, action over observation and coolness over all else. Their approach to financial services commands full disclosure and convenience and they expect tailored financial products delivered through online and mobile channels that emphasize customization and user preferences. Prepaid cards are ideal for teens as many of the product features satisfy the financial needs of the age segment, while they are also great for older students because they provide more flexibility than traditional banking products to manage expenses without going into debt. Developing a product and marketing strategy that targets each of these age groups independently is the preferred avenue to pursue since parental involvement as well as the students /teens likes, needs and maturity changes as they enter the college age years. One key differentiator when stepping up to the full student card program concept can be the ability to co-brand and/or comarket with universities and offer universitysponsored spending mechanisms such as dining services as well as campus IDs and building access on the student prepaid card. However, this is a completely untapped product concept which requires great Core Characteristic Tech Savvy Achievement Oriented Team Oriented Family Centric Suggested Approach Maintain multiple channels for banking access and enrollment, with online as key channel. Use SMS alerts to drive customer engagement and as a marketing channel. Loyalty value proposition is best offered via incentives tied to certain online behaviors, such as paying bills, using credit union issued cards, etc. Accessible and visual tools should track spending and savings metrics and goals. Encourage direct feedback and conversation through interactive features such as blogs and online forums. Provide a product suite with oversight that ranges from significant parental involvement to total accountholder responsibility. Interactive calculators and budgeting tools can serve as virtual financial mentors. Attention Craving Instant gratification can be provided through personalized SMS and messaging and alerts, as well as being able to customize 24/7 online account access. 3

4 resources to produce and market and few measures of success are available to date. Since credit unions lack the benefit from university relationships, developing a campus ID reloadable prepaid card is not a recommended path at this time. Marketing is the key to gaining new student/ teen members but to date no magic formula has been developed. What has been established is that it is important to target the parents and student/teens with separate messages. Tailor the cool and innovative features to the student/teen while stressing TEEN SEGMENT Segment Characteristics the convenience, security, reliability and monitoring capabilities to the parents. Grab the attention of the student/teen to ask their parent to buy it but also grab the parents attention as a financial and educational medium for their child. Establish two separate marketing strategies and different product functionality to distinguish the Teen card from the Student card. Below are the segment characteristics and prepaid features to look for in a Teen Prepaid product and a Student Prepaid product: Prepaid Features Typically limited financial/credit profile hinders ability to access more established banking products (DDA, Credit Cards) Ideal for unbanked as approval is not based on credit history Reliant on parents for financial needs/unknown level of financial responsibility Ability to load funds from linked account Parental controls (MCC blocking, etc.) No late fees or risk of going into debt Funds loaded are not lost Wish to be financially flexible and independent Real-time tracking of all account activity Provides ability to purchase online Access cash via ATM Instant loads for emergencies, especially when child is away from home STUDENT SEGMENT Segment Characteristics Prepaid Features Substantial financial obligations and need for budgetary control Real-time tracking of all account activity No risk of going into debt Budgetary tool Reliant on parents for financial needs Ability to load funds from linked account Instant loads for emergencies, especially when child is away from home Alerts when card balance is low Financial flexibility Direct deposit allows paychecks deposited right onto the card Online check writing 4

5 Benefits to the Credit Union, the Student/Teen and the Parent Prepaid Student/Teen cards bring another growth opportunity to acquire and retain new credit union members, whether it s the student/teen or the parent, while increasing profitability through recurring revenue streams. Offering a prepaid student/ teen product gives the credit union the opportunity to attract young, new members through their tiered product offerings. At the same time, they may gain an adult parent member if they are not already a credit union member. A credit union can expect to net approximately $17 in net operating margin over the life of the card according to First Annapolis Consulting s P&L assessment below. Student/Teen prepaid cards gain their revenue via fees since their load volume and interchange tends to be lower than General Purpose Reloadable Prepaid products. Eliminating cash access would improve these numbers as the behavior pattern of student/ teens is to remove the funds via ATM which lowers the interchange cut. Lifetime P&L per Card Industry Median Pricing Key Cardholder Behaviors $100 Initial Load 1 Load per Month 60% Signature/20% PIN 20% Is Withdrawn as Cash 5% of ATM Transactions Are on Us Initial Fee $5 Monthly Fees $12 ATM Fees $1 Other Fees 1 <$1 Float (From deposits) $0 Interchange Revenue $6 Total $24 Avg. Life (Before Inactivity): 4 Months Less: Processor Costs ($6) Retail/Direct Deposit Reload Mix Less: Network Costs ($1) Net Operating Margin (Excl. Marketing/Fixed Exp.) $17 1 Other includes customer service fees. 5

6 For the Student/Teen, using a prepaid reloadable card gives them financial independence without the risk of going into debt. They enjoy gaining the responsibility of using a plastic with their name on it and learning how to budget and spend wisely. The Prepaid Student/Teen cards offer everything a Debit card does without the risk of overdrawing the account. The Student/ Teen can be cool by receiving text alerts on their cell phone or they can log in online and perform account reviews or make edits at any time of day. Moreover, they can ask their parent to set up an allowance schedule for automatic deposits to be made onto their card, or if they work and get paid regularly by an employer, they can set up direct deposit onto their card. Direct deposit enables them to avoid having to go to a branch and cash a check or worse, pay a check casher. Purchases can be made anywhere branded debit cards are accepted, including online purchases or paying bills. Not only does this allow student/teens to use the card in a variety of places, but it also offers those who do not have access to a credit or debit card a safer way to make payments without having to access cash. However, when a cardholder does want to access cash, the prepaid student/teen card can be used at ATMs worldwide, can be used to get cash back at retailers or cash advances at any credit union branch. The parent has easy real-time access to the student/teen account online to review transactions, manage their account, load subsequent funds, set up recurring allowance loads, and even to turn on or turn off access to withdrawing cash via ATMs. All of this aids the parent in helping to educate their child on the importance of budgeting and managing funds. Balance inquiries, transaction information, and subsequent loads can also be done via the 24/7 customer support line or balances, transactions, and low balance notifications can be received via text alerts. notifications can also be sent to notify the parent when transactions and loads occur. The parent has all the resources available to keep control of their child s account and avoid misuse of the prepaid card or fraudulent activities. Prepaid Student/Teen Programs: Competitive Landscape for Credit Unions The market of banking products for the student/teen population is very underserved. The available options for teens are savings accounts, checking accounts, and general purpose reloadable prepaid cards, while the options for college students are the same plus possibly a university card that combines their banking with campus services. Very few banks and credit unions offer prepaid student or teen card products today, and if they do, they do not provide differentiated feature functionality from a standard general purpose reloadable prepaid card. 6

7 Credit Union Student/Teen Prepaid Card Offerings Bank Teen Student Checking Savings GPR Checking Savings GPR University Card Notes Visa Buxx Visa Buxx CPG Card Campus Checking is marketed for students ages FAT CAT Savings: Up to age 12 Zard Checking: Ages Off to College / Off to Work: Ages18 25 CPG card is a general, reloadable GPR (not limited to student usage) No offering Junior Varsity Savings Club: Ages 0 12 Varsity Savings Club: Ages New Generation: Ages13 17; converts to Free Checking automatically at age 18 Freedom Checking: Ages (teen must maintain B grade average or higher) Student Pack: College students No offering Youth Checking or Youth Checking with Interest Stepping Stone: Ages 3 12 Milestone: Ages Capstone: Ages Dedicated kid and teen websites with product explanations and general financial resources 7

8 Prepaid Student/Teen Program Best Practices Credit unions undertaking a Prepaid Student/ Teen program should consider the following: Create two separate products targeted at the segment and the segment, the first having more parental control than the second. Supplement prepaid card products with financial education and access to budgeting and financial tools that will assist the student/teen in managing their funds. Marketing is critical yet more expensive given the need to create targeted campaigns at both students/teens and the parents. Market the prepaid student/teen cards as a spending and budgeting tool that offers the same functionality and security as debit cards. Promote the portability and ease of signing up for direct deposit with any employer and the ability to use the prepaid reloadable card even if they have changed jobs. Advertise the cool and reliable functionality available on the prepaid student/teen card including other reload methods, 24/7 customer support, self management via phone and mobile devices, easy cash access, online purchasing, and bill pay capabilities. Entice new members by offering the prepaid student/teen cards as a stepping stone to other credit union products. Conclusions Prepaid products geared towards teens and students can help establish and strengthen long-term banking relationships. While both the teen and student prepaid segments are initially limited in opportunity, that changes as cardholders migrate to checking accounts and credit based products. Credit unions are in a unique position to offer a prepaid card as a transitional product to satisfy the needs of teen and student consumers as they mature and grow into financial independence. Many credit unions offer tiered programs as consumers age. Prepaid cards are a way in to the teen market enabling credit unions to establish relationships early on. Additionally, Gen Y looks for financial advice from family and friends, and is likely to be steered toward parents financial institutions: Credit unions can capitalize on this teen market distinction, provided they offer accessible and convenient channels to manage the prepaid account. Capturing both teen and parent interest is a key factor in effectively marketing to this segment. Sources: First Annapolis 2011, Mercator Advisors Prepaid Market Assessment 2010, Mintel Teens and Finance Report

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