Fintech challenger banks using prepaid’s flexible technology as a platform for innovative consumer banking solutions drove growth

The Canadian Prepaid Providers Organization (CPPO) today released its annual benchmark study, The Canadian Open-Loop Prepaid Market: 2018, revealing CAD$4.3 billion in total dollars loaded onto open-loop prepaid cards. According to the study conducted by Mercator Advisory Group, total loads increased across corporate- government- and consumer-funded cards with General Purpose Reloadable (GPR) cards (cards used as a bank account alternative) recording the highest loads at $2.5 billion.

“The data indicates dynamic growth in the Canadian open-loop prepaid market both in the number of cards purchased by consumers and the value placed on each card,” said Sue Brown, Director of Prepaid Advisory Service at Mercator Advisory Group. “Looking ahead, we recognize significant opportunities for growth in the market from enhancements in the product offering, the launch of new prepaid segments and growing participation from fintechs in the prepaid space.”

Key findings from the study:

CAD$4.3 billion in total dollars loaded onto cards in 2018.

General-purpose reloadable cards (cards loaded by consumers for personal finance use) grew almost 20 percent to $2.5 billion.

Open-loop gift cards grew by 22 percent with total loads of CAD$1.4 billion.

The average funds placed onto corporate-funded prepaid cards grew by 39 percent, reflecting a shift from one-time use payments to regular reloading of funds.

Total loads were up 17.1 percent over the past three years, achieving consecutive growth between 2016 and 2018.

“The prepaid market continues to record healthy growth year after year, indicating rising confidence in prepaid cards as a secure and flexible alternative to cheques in business applications and a financial inclusion tool for the underserved population,” said Peter Read, CPPO chairman of the board. “In addition, we saw a big boost this year in GPR cards with challenger banks increasingly turning to prepaid’s flexible technology as a platform for innovative consumer banking solutions. As the industry evolves, prepaid’s core capability will continue to power the newest fintech developments aimed at improving customer experience and B2B payments delivery.”

The CPPO is a not-for-profit organization and the collective voice of the open-loop prepaid payments industry in Canada. It is the only association solely focused on this growing industry and is supported by major financial institutions, card networks and other industry players. The CPPO is focused on awareness and education so that consumers and businesses can have the best experience with these popular products. For further information, visit

Mercator Advisory Group is the leading independent research and advisory services firm exclusively focused on the payments and banking industries. We deliver pragmatic and timely research and advice designed to help our clients uncover the most lucrative opportunities to maximize revenue growth and contain costs. Our clients range from the world’s largest payment issuers, acquirers, processors, merchants and associations to leading technology providers and investors.

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