MasterCard Inc. is partnering up with Cardtronics Inc. in order to make free ATM access a possibility for prepaid card members across the country.

Quick Overview of Prepaid Cards

MasterCard prepaid cards are similar to gift cards and can be used as gift cards in that you purchase the card and then can contribute additional money to the card. Money can be added in-store at the time of purchase, online or via direct deposit from your paycheck. You can reload the card continually.

This card is basically an alternative to cash, without all the complications of maintaining an account or credit card. MasterCard offers different cards, including prepaid gift cards, travel cards and cards for everyday purchases.

MasterCard Differentiates From Other Prepaid Card Issuers

MasterCard has focused on growing its prepaid market and the latest addition to the strategy is expected to reel in more prepaid companies. Neil Dugan, MasterCard’s VP and head of U.S. markets prepaid product management told US Banker, “It’s a great opportunity for prepaid companies that are looking to differentiate, are looking for ways to provide value for their cardholders, looking to continue progress in the evolution of their products and the way they are going to market.”

MasterCard Partners with Allpoint Network

This decision also involved Cardtronics Inc.’s Allpoint Network, America’s largest surcharge-free ATM network with more than 37,000 ATMs across the nation. Although prepaid cards are a small portion of Allpoint Network’s business, the company is eager to increase that portion. “We’re trying to leverage our infrastructure as a financial kiosk leader to sell more products and services to this growing segment,” Allpoint president Ben Psillas told US Banker. Usually, Allpoint collects revenue from a monthly fee that banks and other customers pay based of of the number of cards that have access to the Allpoint ATMs. Card issuers who use the Allpoint Network through MasterCard will get a special deal on the price they pay. The terms of the deal were not specified.

It is important to make cash as accessible as possible for prepaid card users who are looking to replace actual cash with the cards. Making ATM usage free and accessible is a smart move on MasterCard’s part and could help build its customer base.

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Simon Zhen

Simon is a research analyst for MyBankTracker. He is an expert on consumer banking products, bank innovations and financial technology.
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