Irish payment provider 3V has launched a bespoke GPR card in the UK aimed at the youth market. The card will offer customized security services and control over access to certain content. Datamonitor research suggests that consumers feel their existing cards meet their payments needs, but 3V's approach could help to surmount this problem by targeting consumers who do not yet have a payment card.
The 3V card is largely aimed at the 13-17 age bracket market. Only a parent or legal guardian can purchase the card and be the master account holder with overall control of the account. The card will include a range of mobile-integrated functions designed to take advantage of high mobile phone penetration in the 13-17 age bracket market.
Unlike standard general purpose reloadable (GPR) cards, 3V's card includes a range of features to ensure that the card is being used responsibly, for example to allay fears that it could be used as an illegitimate form of identification for alcohol or cigarettes. To overcome this fear, the card cannot be used for age-restricted goods or services and notification by either email or SMS can be sent to the master account holder (the parent) verifying that the card is being used in a responsible manner. For each card issued, the master account holder can view balances and transactions, and change the account settings and a raft of other security measures designed to appeal to nervous parents.
By adopting this approach 3V has helped to strengthen its proposition within its core market (youth consumers and their parents), but has alienated other age groups. While control over alcohol and cigarette purchases is relaxed once the holder turns 18, the card is aiming at a very specific segment of the market.
Datamonitor views this as a progressive approach. Datamonitor's Financial Services Consumer Insight Survey 2011 shows that 71% of consumers who do not hold a prepaid card do not see any reason to own a GPR card as their current cards meet their payment needs, and so GPR cards must appeal to a specific need in order to prosper. Thus 3V's strategy of creating a niche, targeted card, with very specific parental controls that can appeal to a specific need, looks like an imaginative approach to the prepaid market, and one that other payment services providers should follow.