People's Card Services President Peter Read discusses prepaid payment options and consumer education in our Finetics™ Studio with PaymentEye editor Sarah Gill, live from the exhibition floor at Money 20/20.
Sarah Gill, Reporter: I'm joined by Peter Read, the President of Peoples Card Services. What's the kind of bigger picture of where you think this technology and this model might go?
Peter Read: Well, I think the technology of prepaid moves with payments in general. And I think that‑‑I mean, my interest in the business very much started in technology. I started in the end of building prepaid platforms with an original organization I worked with, moved into the program management of actually utilizing that software and distributing prepaid products, and now I'm onto the financial side of it. And I think, when you bring those three legs of the stool together, you have a very strong structure in which pretty well any business venture can land at this time. I think that, as we move into, as payments evolves technologically into mobile payments or into various uses to secure the industry and such, I think prepaid will play a big, big role in it.
Sarah Gill, Reporter: Sure. And is there anything you'd kind of like to see from your peers, your counterparts across the industry, that you feel would push everyone kind of forward together?
Peter Read: It's a very good question. What I'd like to see, and is happening right now, is the continued collaboration to--again, I'm more prepaid-centric--to bring about a strong education of the public as to what it can do. I mean, prepaid in general is very good at bringing the underserved, those that are excluded from the financial community, into the mainstream. It's very good for those that are in the mainstream to be able to help them budget.
In Canada, where we are leading a prepaid movement, we individually are very highly in debt. And prepaid certainly is a tool that can used to manage people, maybe not necessarily out of debt, but to keep them from going further into debt. It's a very good budget tool as well. So I really see the peers working together to educate the public and the business community on how this is a very helpful technology and even a process.
Sarah Gill, Reporter: Yes, I feel like, actually, financial wellness is a trend that people are picking up on a little bit more and, you know, putting, I guess, the service back into financial services, where at a time when people feel like they've kind of been short-changed or kind of, you know, given a bad deal in the past. I mean, is there anything you'd like to see innovation around?
Peter Read: Oh, that's--I think that the greatest one right now is people feeling comfortable with their payment and their form factor. And we touched on it with the mobile to begin with. I mean, mobile refers to the mobile phone, but feeling that no matter where you go, your identity's not going to be stolen and that you're able to pay comfortably and that it's a seamless transaction. So it involves all the players, from the technology to begin with, the banking or finance system in between, to the merchant side of it as well, where the merchants truly have to buy in.
And I think at the merchant end of it is where there needs to be more education right now, so that merchants understand mobile technology, merchants advertise and actually show in their stores, "We accept mobile." Right now, it's not well known, as you go out into the general environment, where you can use your latest technology. And I think getting it in the front line so the public can see it is a very key element that's lagging right now.
Sarah Gill, Reporter: Okay. And kind of looking ahead to the next year or so, what do you expect the kind of key trends to be around prepaid?
Peter Read: I think that the key trends will tie back into the technology and into the mobile payments and making sure that we can get prepaid involved in all of the mobile payments as well. So everything that happens in regular commerce, you want prepaid to be able to mesh with it. So I think allowing people to have the choice between their types of payment they want to make and if they want to be able to use budgetary tools involving prepaid and having the open wallets. There's a wallet war out there and we know there's not going to be any single winner, but I mean, Apple Pay, kudos to them for leading the way and educating people. The breadth of the education and the buy-in to their products has really opened it up for the entire industry and the acceptance.
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