The demand for General Purpose Reloadable (GPR) cards has been growing in recent years due to the increase of people without bank accounts and those who prefer not to use credit or debit cards, according to Jeff Lewis, Vice President and General Manager, Financial Services, for InComm.
As a result, Lewis told Loyalty 360 that InComm, a leading prepaid product and transaction services company, and Jackson Hewitt, an industry-leading provider of full service tax preparation, will partner to launch the JH Preferred Card in November in time for tax season.
The GPR card is a banking alternative and a fee structure that provides consumers with a safe, affordable, and convenient financial tool. There are no fees for purchase transactions, calls to customer service, or card-to-card transfers. JH Preferred allows consumers to direct deposit tax refunds to the card and load cash at more than 50,000 InComm retail locations nationwide for a low fee of up to $3.95. The card also offers cardholders rewards, a mobile app, and other money management tools.
Consumers can also sign up for the card online at www.jhpreferred.com or at any of the 6,800 Jackson Hewitt locations.
Lewis said the partnership with Jackson Hewitt was precipitated by a desire to offer a best-in-class GPR program with low fees and more benefits for customers. What’s more, Jackson Hewitt sought a solution that streamlines the card issuance process for their Tax Pros allowing the tax preparers more time to work with customers, and less time dealing with the card system.
“JH Preferred accomplishes that by leveraging InComm’s state-of-the-art processing platform -- Vanilla Management System,” Lewis explained. “The platform provides our partners with a secure, scalable, and customizable processing solution.”
Consumers can enroll online at JHPreferred.com next month or Jackson Hewitt customers can enroll at their Jackson Hewitt office during tax prep and elect to have their tax refund direct deposited to their card automatically. Those customers will receive the silver, instant-issue card immediately in the Jackson Hewitt office – they will receive the personalized black JH Preferred card in the mail within a week.
Lewis said the JH Preferred Card enhances customer engagement, customer loyalty, and the customer experience through an ability to receive tax refund proceeds through rewards, a competitive fee schedule making, and waiving the monthly fee for cardholders who load or direct deposit $1,000 or more to the card each month.
Lewis said the rewards program details are still being developed.
The Vanilla Reload network includes more than 50,000 locations nationwide including 7-Eleven, CVS/pharmacy, Dollar General, Family Dollar, Walgreens, and Walmart. Vanilla Reload retail partners have integrated their POS systems with InComm’s technology to enable customers to purchase a Vanilla Reload PIN package or simply swipe their card at swipe-enabled retailers. Both options allow cardholders to load $20-$500 cash to their card.
Lewis said GPR cards are in demand due to the increase in consumers who choose to opt-out of traditional banking relationships because of high bank fees.
“These consumers want a safe and affordable alternative to traditional credit cards and bank accounts, but don’t want to carry cash,” he said.
According to third-party analyst firm Mercator, the total prepaid market in the U.S. (encompassing both open (Visa, Mastercard, AmEx, etc.) and closed loop (gift cards)) grew by an estimated 4%, from $483.2 billion in 2011, to $503.7 billion in 2012, an increase of $20.4 billion.
“The fee schedule is very, very favorable for consumers while our platform, reload network, and mobile app capabilities make using and reloading these cards as quick and easy as possible,” Lewis added.