How to Win a Gold Medal -- Power of Prepaid Day One Recap

April 10, 2018

While everyone has a desire for success, achieving it requires a lot of knowledge. In the first day of the Power of Prepaid conference, members were provided some of that knowledge from researchers and from individuals who have achieved one of the highest levels of success – Olympic gold medals.

Yesterday’s special session started with presentations by Kevin Morrison, Senior Analyst for Retail Banking and Payments at Aite Group, and Sue Brown, director of the prepaid practice at Mercator Advisory Group.

Mercator’s data showed that despite the attention paid to segments like gift, payroll, and GPR cards, the fastest growing segments in the open-loop prepaid market were Benefits, HSAs, and events and meetings cards. Segments including government assistance and unemployment cards have been declining. While the future looks bright for prepaid growth, it will vary segment by segment.

Aite’s research showed how there has been a blurring of lines and increased competition between open-loop and closed-loop cards as retailers offer reloadable cards. In an attempt to keep customers, retailers have been using their cards to foster customer relationships. In addition, third parties have even offered closed-loop cards, such as Amazon cards, as a payment to freelancers.

These presentations were followed by a presentation on prepaid cards and savings by David John, Senior Strategy Policy Advisor at the AARP Public policy institute. He presented research on how prepaid cards can facilitate emergency savings for low income individuals. This led to a lively discussion about the benefits and struggles of offering prepaid cards combined with savings accounts to low income individuals. If you are interested in this topic, David was interviewed for the Power of Prepaid Podcast, which can be found here: https://www.nbpca.org/newsroom/podcast/.

The day’s discussions were capped off when members got to speak with Sochi Olympic Gold Medalists Meryl Davis and Charlie White, who won the first gold medal for the United States in ice dancing.

They said that the key to success what understanding the lessons of failure. It was not about being perfect, but rather about learning what worked by understanding what didn’t work previously. By putting the lessons of setbacks to work, it becomes possible to create steady progress and steer towards success.

Being that they worked as partners, one of the topics they covered was how to work successfully with partners. They said the key was to deliver your best effort for your partner and let them know that you will bring your best efforts to the work.

Charlie and Meryl are Visa-sponsored athletes. They said the ability to work with a good sponsor was another important partnership because it provided foundational support that allowed them to train, travel, and compete. They said having a good company to work with was critical. In a sport where judges watch your every move and where what happens off the ice can affect the results on it, choosing partners carefully was important. It seems even ice dancers have to face their own regulators.

Choosing good partners, bringing your best to your work, and learning along way gives you the ability to deliver top level performance when it counts. They said that while there may be competitors who were stronger or had more natural talent, it was still possible to win if you could deliver your best performance at the right moment.

Business discussions are full of sports metaphors, and it is easy to see why when you think about the context of partnerships, performance, and learning from experience. The combination of information and principles should give members a good foundation for getting the most out of the rest of the conference.