Can Library Cards Double as Prepaid Cards?

by Ben Jackson 0

A Utah-based company says that library cards can double asgeneral purpose prepaid cards. SirsiDynix, a library managerment technologycompany has launched a program where community libraries can add a prepaid Visafunction to their library cards. They are issued by Republic Bank & TrustCo., and the program has been launch in at least three states, according toNerdWallet.

Institutions in three states offerlibrary cards that double as prepaid Visa debit cards, under a program startedlast summer by SirsiDynix, a Lehi, Utah-based software company. Participatinglibraries get a portion of the fees paid for the service, while patrons get aless expensive alternative to opening a checking account, if they don’t haveone.

Libraries will need to tread carefully when offering thecards. Like any public institution, they risk being accused of trying to takeadvantage of people and placing profit over their primary mission. The outcriesthat the Chicago Transit Authority faced with its own dual-function Ventra cardshow how an attempt to be offer prepaid can lead to howls of protest.

The other risk is that cardholders will see the library asthe place to bring their complaints about the cards. The last thing anylibrarian needs is angry patrons demanding to know where their money went, whenthe librarian has no way to answer the question.


Overview by Ben Jackson, Director, Prepaid Advisory Service, Mercator Advisory Group

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