How to Become a Prepaid Card Retailer

Looking for how to become a prepaid card retailer? Demand is strong, the profits are worth it, and many programs are free to get set up. For high traffic locations like convenience and grocery stores, adding a stored value sales program is super easy and profitable. This Ezine article is about how to become a prepaid card retailer for mobile phone minutes, a merchant for reloadable debit cards from Visa and Discover, the go-to location for international long distance, and the convenient spot to pick up a last minute gift with gift cards from national retailers.

For a variety of reasons, this segment is booming. The total dollars loaded onto stored value cards will climb to $672 billion over the next three years with convenience stores the fastest growing segment.

Pay-as-you-go mobile phones services are clearly a huge part of the U.S. wireless market; now 1 in 4 people are on some type of pay-in-advance wireless plan in 2011 according to the New Millennium Research Council. “Top up cards” to add minutes to programs from Boost Mobile, Virgin Mobile, Tracfone, GoPhone, MetroPCS, Cricket, and more are in very high demand at convenience stores.

Plus the growing ranks of the under-banked and budget managers is driving strong growth in reloadable debit cards. Students, young people, and immigrants that do not qualify for credit cards find reloadable debit cards useful for making payments online.

So what do need to know in order to sell prepaid products in your retail store?


1. Determine if selling prepaid is for you.

First, think about your patrons and what they would want. Do you have customers coming in and asking about prepaid cards? That is probably a good sign. Skip directly to recommendation #2.

Ask yourself…

  • Do you have a high percentage of transient patrons on the road?
  • Do you have a high percentage of blue collar workers at your retail locations?
  • Do quite a few immigrants frequent your store?
  • Are you in a low income area?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, your store is probably a good candidate. If you serve this type of demographic, then you should begin selling prepaid right away.

Convenience stores that sell petroleum, grocery and general merchandise stores with high traffic are best.

2. Determine what you want to sell.

Do you want to sell pay-as-you-go wireless cell phone minute top-up cards so patrons can pop in and recharge? Do you want to sell reloadable debit cards? What about international long distance calling cards for cheap calls to Mexico and other popular countries? Do you want to carry gift cards from national retailers? What about participating in the State government free cell phone plan for low income people? When you select a service provider, they can help you determine the best mix of what products to stock.

3. Choose a service provider that offers prepaid programs.

Not all prepaid service providers are created equal; some offer a complete portfolio of products for the quick service c-store and grocery vertical and some only have one type of product. Some require set up fees. Some are free. Some can provide credit card processing and stored value cards on the same terminal (and provide them for free). Some cannot. Some have good service and make the set up process easy. Some do not. Some are recognized by the Electronic Transactions Association and some are not.

So how do you choose a provider? You can do all the hard work of research on your own or you can find a trusted merchant consultant that will explain the different programs available from the leading providers, seek to understand your situation and what products you need, then recommend a vetted, proven service provider with a track record of merchant satisfaction.

If you want to do your own research, be sure to compare product portfolios, start up costs, commission schedules, size and sexiness of point-of-sale displays, training cost and availability, liability provisions, term commitments, customer service, BBB profile, and general credibility.

For many people, the simplicity of working with an independent sales consultant is attractive; afterall, they work for you, not service providers. With a consultant, you won’t have to worry about the one-size-fits-all approach to sales. You don’t have to hassle with every yahoo on the block. Instead, you can feel confident you are working with an industry leader and enjoy the peace of mind that comes with knowing you have the hottest products on the market and an expert in your corner.

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