Short history of the cards industry
It all started in at the beginning of the 1950s in the USA when stores started allowing customers to charge purchases, take the merchandize and pay in a certain period of time without interest. These credit accounts evolved to become today’s credit cards. By the end of the 1960s MasterCard and Visa have emerged and more and more companies entered the credit card market. In 1984 the American banks began to issue a new financial tool – debit cards that by the end of the 1990s became a successful replacement for checks and even cash.
As the payment card industry grew, computer technology advanced and revolutionized banking. People began to deposit their money electronically as ATMs started to allow 24 hour access to cash and account information.
What is a prepaid card?
The latest trend in the payment card industry is the prepaid card. A prepaid card is different from a debit / credit card by the fact that it’s not linked to a bank account. Prepaid cards have a zero value until they are “loaded” with a certain amount of money. When paying, the amount of the purchase is subtracted from the card’s balance. When the balance reaches zero, the card is empty.
The use of prepaid cards increased considerably in the last 5 years and although transactions using prepaid cards form a small portion of the total noncash payments, they are the fastest growing feature in the payment cards industry.
One of the reasons for this growth is the fact that prepaid cards are considered to be “pay as you go” solutions that can be targeted to specific customer needs. In the recent years more and more companies started to issue prepaid cards for employees in the form of gift cards and employee incentive cards.
Lunch vouchers, gift cards, holiday vouchers, medical vouchers are a few examples of prepaid cards that became very popular in Europe in the last few years. The reason is simple: prepaid employee cards are an elegant way of providing extra salary benefits saving a considerable amount of money in the same time.
Custom Middle & Back Office Solutions
Technology and computer science especially have always been close to the card industry. Prepaid cards are not an exception to this rule. This is how the notion of custom middle & back office systems emerged. So what is a back office in this case?
To put it simple, a middle & back office is a system that allows companies to order cards for their employees. The system is connected in real time to accounting systems in different countries, CRMs and other apps thus allowing company representatives to issue and activate cards, reload existing cards, generate invoices, monitor and control all the other financial aspects related to card issuing.
Programming Pool has more than 6 years of experience in providing custom card middle & back office solutions for leading companies that deal with gift cards and employee incentive cards. Over the years we have built long-lasting relations with some of the most important players from the European market.
We have the knowledge, expertise and contact to build card middle & back office solutions tailored exactly for you