Walk-in Bill Payments: The Prepaid Storm

Report Summary

Walk-in Bill Payments: The Prepaid Storm

Aite Group reveals that by 2010, over 1.3 billion walk-in bill payments will be performed in the United States, including cell phone top-up, up from about 1.0 billion in 2005. Walk-in bill payment processors will generate US$1.9 billion in revenues by 201

Gwenn Bézard
Co-Founder and Research Director

Boston, MA, March 13, 2006 – In a new report, Walk-in Bill Payments: The Prepaid Storm, Aite Group reviews the market opportunity and competitive trends in walk-in bill payment processing, including convenient bill payments, expedited bill payments, and prepaid mobile phone top-up. The research highlights how prepaid mobile phone top-up processing is contributing in reshaping the competitive landscape.

"Strong growth in prepaid mobile phone top-up volumes will contribute in reshaping the walk-in bill payment by turning top-up processors into a major distribution force. We expect further consolidation between mobile top-up processors and postpaid bill payment providers," comments Gwenn Bézard, a research director with Aite Group and author of the report.

While the report predicts strong growth for cell phone top-up at the point-of-sale, it also remarks that walk-in locations' share of total prepaid mobile top-up volumes will fall from 92% in 2005 down to 79% by 2010. Virtual top-up (when the reload is made directly from the handset using bankcards or ACH) will grow its market share as an alternative to the walk-in channel from 10% in 2006 to 21% by 2010.

The research also notes that while prepaid cell phone top-up is a boon for the merchant acquiring business, in particular Independent Sales Organizations (ISOs), it could create new challenges to the industry over time. "Although the prospects are still remote today, in-store and virtual top-up methods have the potential to lead wireless phone carriers or related players into merchant acquiring, threatening banks' and card networks' market positions," adds Bézard.

Twenty-two vendors are mentioned in this report, including: American Express, American Payment Systems (CheckFree), ACE Cash Express, Alliance Data Systems, Blackstone Calling Cards, Coinstar, Debisys (Emida), Discover, E-Time System, Fidelity Express, Global Express, PaySpot (Euronet), Incomm, IPP of America, MasterCard, MoneyGram, Pay-O-Matic, Precash, Pre-Solutions, Western Union (First Data), Visa U.S.A., and ViaOne Technologies.

This is a 41-page Impact Report. Clients of Aite Group's Retail Banking service can download the report.

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