For several reasons that are identified in Mercator Advisory Group’s 10th Annual U.S. Open-Loop Prepaid Cards Market Assessment and Prepaid Market Overview, the total dollars loaded in the open-loop prepaid market grew by only 6 percent to $194.5 billion in 2012 from 2011, a much smaller growth rate than predicted.
Within the 19 open-loop prepaid market segments tracked by this report, the Cash Access category, which includes Travel cards, Open-Loop Gift cards, Open Money and Financial Services cards, and Money Remittance/Person-to-Person cards, was the fastest growing, but even so, it grew at a combined rate of only 12 percent, with a total load of $83 billion in 2012, up from $74.1 billion in 2011.
Mercator Advisory Group defines an open-loop card as one that uses one of the major payment networks to complete transactions. Examples include an open-loop gift card that can be used at any store that accepts the brand on the card, or a card restricted to a particular retailer that relies on an open-loop network to complete the transaction.
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