NovoPayment, Inc., Latin America’s leading prepaid card service provider and program manager, today announced its regional forecast for electronic benefit transfer (EBT) cards for food vouchers in which it estimated a potential market of more than 47 million prepaid cards with an estimated purchasing power of more than US$50 billion annually by 2015. Such programs allow organizations to electronically manage the payment of these and other benefits to employees and recipients via branded prepaid cards.
“EBT programs provide public- and private-sector organizations with an accountable, cost-efficient and readily deployable solution for placing benefits in the hands of their employees and recipients,” said Anabel Perez, NovoPayment’s co-founder and CEO. Currently, NovoPayment provides EBT benefits to more than 4,000 companies through more than 500,000 active cards.
EBT programs are single- or multi-purpose open-loop programs that can be implemented according to each country’s legislation regarding the administration and provision of food and other benefits. Cardholders receive a MasterCard, Maestro, Visa or Visa Electron branded card programmed for use at pre-defined merchant categories, retain any unused benefits and can check balances and purchases 24/7 via phone, SMS or the Web. All cards come with PIN numbers and the name of the employer or payer.
“Administering benefits through a prepaid program is clearly a best practice and a great fit for our markets,” said Perez. “Prepaid provides a secure platform for governments and companies to gain efficiencies and tangibly demonstrate to their beneficiaries and employees a commitment to them and to modernization.” One key advantage of Novopayment’s food voucher program, she added, is an electronic platform that interfaces with employers’ payroll systems, allowing them to manage the program themselves.
The forecast is part of a larger regional study for prepaid cards covering 15 countries – Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Ecuador, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru, Mexico and Venezuela – that measured factors such as size of labor force, poverty rates, wages, banking and other metrics based on the company’s experience in the field.