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Half Of World’s Population Do Not Have A Bank Account

Radical thinking by regional payment providers is essential if they are swiftly going to tap into the prepaid card segment, set to be the growth stream for retail bankers and related sectors. “Banks must move now and create innovative if not radical card products. The opportunity is huge, especially as a product for those who do not have the easy ability to open a bank account,” said Bernardo Nicoletti, a global expert in the prepaid segment. Bank Audi SAL’s Randa Bdeir agrees. She said that regional growth of prepaid rides on bringing the traditionally unbanked segment into the mainstream. “More that 2.5 billion adults, or just over half of the world’s adult population, do not use banks or microfinance to channel, save or borrow money. They still trade in cash. There is a huge opportunity to move this segment into prepaid cards.” Bdeir said that prepaid card products are easily tailored: “New products must be created now. They must be tailored to offer this massive chunk of population better spending control, financial empowerment and also offer a safely net when transferring hard-earned money across borders,” she noted. Nicoletti and Bdeir are two speakers at the upcoming VRL Financial News’ second Prepaid Summit Middle East, in Dubai (March 22-23). Nicoletti cited Italy as a world blueprint in prepaid innovation: “A classical innovator in prepaid is the Postepay concept in Italy. In 2002, a new entrant to market - the Italian Post Office, launched a prepaid card. Postepay is an unprecedented success with six million of cards currently issued and multiple revenues streams available. In just ten years, it is miles ahead of the ‘late bloomers’.” He stressed that the GCC, and Saudi Arabia in particular, has a huge opportunity to develop prepaid, for instance with the expatriate communities. In the UAE, expatriate workers comprise some 85 per cent of the labour force and 40 per cent in Saudi Arabia. “A big chunk of the expatriate population is in the low income bracket, making them unsuitable for credit cards but right for prepaid cards. Prepaid cards are excellent for workers to use for transferring money home and protecting themselves from fraud and theft. They also serve as a protection against claims for employers,” he concluded. The second Prepaid Summit Middle East opens on March 22 in Dubai and focuses on the solutions and the providers who will bring path breaking products for consumers of the region. The summit highlights will include exclusive research on the markets and the views of more than 35 speakers. Visa is on-board again as the Summit’s Title Sponsor. Epay is the Gold sponsor for the summit and Network International LLC returns as the Silver Sponsor for second time. TNS is the official research partner.

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