Prepaid cards are broadly defined as any network branded (Visa, American Express, Mastercard or Discover) card that contains a stored balance. These cards are commonly referred to as “open-loop cards” because they can be used most places where the logo of the payment network is accepted. Most consumers are not aware of how large the prepaid card market in the US has grown—in 2017 there were over $325 billion issued in prepaid cards alone. Prepaid card growth in the United States is forecasted to increase by 2% through 2023, reaching a total of $402.8 billion according to an article by Business Wire
Common types of prepaid cards include cards that are often found on supermarket shelves (e.g. Visa gift cards, Visa Vanilla, Vanilla One, American Express gift cards and MasterCard gift cards); rebate cards used by various companies to provide incentives to consumers (e.g. Sprint rebates, Verizon rebates and Comcast rebates); and payroll cards used to pay employees or provide them with incentive bonuses. These types of prepaid cards all come with different rules limiting where and how they can be used, as well as what types of annual and monthly fees are associated with them.