NetSpend has announced the availability of the first “virtual” card to be tied to an existing prepaid debit card account and a suite of online financial management and budgeting tools including a visual spending history report, online budgeting application and budgeting “report card.” NetSpend says these new products and applications "provide a level of convenience and security currently not provided to the estimated 50-100 million underbanked consumers in the United States."
“What we’ve seen in the ten years we’ve served the underbanked consumer is that they typically manage their cash flow very carefully. As soon as they are paid, they pay their bills and other obligations—every dollar counts and overspending simply isn’t an option,” said Dan Henry, chief executive officer at NetSpend. “The NetSpend virtual card and online financial management tools bring a level of convenience and security that allows them to not only plan their spending, but monitor and safeguard their money as well.”
A first in the prepaid debit card industry, the NetSpend virtual card acts just like an additional card on the account and is available to current cardholders through the company’s online account center at NetSpend.com. The virtual card can be created or deleted on demand, can be accessed—or created—via a mobile phone and can be used for any card-not-present transaction. The virtual card is designed to add a level of security and convenience for NetSpend cardholders. Because it can be instantly deleted after a purchase, the virtual card adds an extra layer of protection for account holders who are shopping online or on the phone. Its instant issue functionality allows it to also act as a temporary backup when a customer loses their physical card—eliminating the waiting period to receive a replacement.
Visual Spending History
Government figures show that many households with total income of $50,000 or less—a prime demographic for the prepaid debit industry—are spending more than they bring in. The visual spending history helps to manage a cardholder’s money by automatically categorizing all transactions into an easy-to-read pie chart. This simple presentation helps them see where they have been spending their money and to browse and search expenses by month, category or merchant.
Budgeting Application and “Report Card”
Taking the information from the visual spending history to another level, the NetSpend budgeting application and “report card” helps customers set spending limits by category and to monitor their money throughout the month through cardholder-set spending targets. Expenses are automatically categorized in real-time and the cardholder can set up free text or email alerts that notify them when they are close to—or over—budget in each of their categories. The “report card” feature then shows the user how realistic their goals are based on their budgeting and spending history.