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Kevin McAdam, head of prepaid at allpay Limited

 Society has developed a thirst for speed and ease of payment, originating with online payments and direct debits, followed by the birth of contactless. The use of contactless payment is on the increase, with recent research highlighting the technology’s prevalence over cheque payments. Equally, at allpay Limited we’ve seen an increased demand for contactless, with upwards of 90% of new orders requiring contactless functionality. Moreover, while not a mandatory requirement, many local authorities are seeking contactless in their tenders, most notable in the last 4-6 months. This proves that the market is shifting towards faster payments which require minimal input.

For tenants living in social housing who are elderly or infirm, minimising the room for error is key – especially if they lack access to, or an understanding of, certain technologies. Contactless eliminates the need to remember a PIN number, resulting in small payments being processed with minimal intervention and stress. Transactions are processed quickly, easily and with peace of mind.

As a result, prepaid card payments are evolving to facilitate contactless. Both prepaid and contactless cards enable easy, swift and secure transactions, but are not in competition.  Rather, moving forwards, the two payment methods are integrating to optimise ease for the payee and the speed of transactions. Our future goal at allpay Limited is to issue debit free, re-loadable prepaid cards with all the security benefits, as well as contactless capabilities.

The next step towards further facilitating payments is providing access to universal credit via prepaid cards from the government. Universal credit is less restrictive as, instead of paying for one specific outlet, payees would have autonomy over how the money was spent. Of course the pre-set limit of £30 maximum would remain. Yet, this versatility is an appealing prospect for those reliant on prepaid cards, with contactless capability an additional bonus.

Access to universal credit via prepaid has already been tested by the Kent Council, with a largely positive response. The trial demonstrated that prepaid cards have the potential to promote financial inclusion and independence, helping people manage their money and debts and widening options for financial management. On this basis, the evaluation concluded that it would be feasible for the Department of Work and Pensions to carry out a more extensive trial of using prepaid cards to support vulnerable claimants. We pride ourselves on the convenience we offer our customers by providing a wide range of payment solutions. With this in mind, we aim to be at the forefront of all new developments in the prepaid space.