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What's Next for Prepaid in 2024 and Beyond

Providing insights on behalf of CPPO's new member, H&R Block, James Klassen, director of products and services at H&R Block Canada, answered 5 key questions about the Canadian prepaid market, including what he thinks is driving growth and what's on the horizon for the industry.

What do you think is the biggest force propelling the prepaid market’s growth today?

While I can’t speak for the entire market, growing demand for financial inclusion and access to banking services is a big driving force for H&R Block. We’re hoping to provide a viable solution for all individuals as we see an increase in cashless purchasing. It’s just an easier way to make transactions for our clients, and provides an opportunity to those who are unbanked or underbanked, allowing them to make transactions, manage their finances, and participate in the digital economy,

What’s the biggest prepaid innovation use case you’re seeing today?

One of the biggest prepaid innovation use cases we’re seeing is the emergence of digital options (virtual prepaid cards and mobile/digital wallets). These digital cards can be instantly generated and used for online purchases, eliminating the need for physical cards, and enhancing security.

How can the prepaid market best position itself to navigate today’s regulatory climate?

Regulation in our industry is integral to providing a safe service, and it benefits us and our customer, which is our number one priority. From a regulatory standpoint this means we continue to focus on implementing robust compliance programs and strong internal controls. By prioritizing transparency, consumer protection, and anti-money laundering measures, prepaid providers can demonstrate their commitment to regulatory compliance and build trust with both regulators and consumers.

What’s new in prepaid for H&R Block? Tell us about your latest product innovations and where it’s gaining the most traction.

This year, we’re distributing 100 per cent of our Instant Refund service to our prepaid card. This will make accessing funds simpler and safer for our customers. Up to this point, our prepaid service has been done using physical cards. We’re now developing virtual cards and digital wallets, which will continue to improve our digital features.

What’s next for prepaid innovation over the next 1-3 years?

Open finance is the biggest thing on the horizon in our industry in Canada, and I’m excited to see how it will impact and advance our work. There is a lot of room for innovation in meeting the needs of unbanked and underbanked individuals, empowering them with access to digital payments and financial tools. We’re excited to be on the forefront of servicing this cohort of customers.


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