Stored-value card

From Academic Kids

A stored-value card represents money on deposit with the issuer, not unlike a debit card. One major difference between stored value cards and debit cards is that debit cards are usually issued in the name of individual account holders, while stored value cards are usually anonymous.

The term stored-value card is usually a misnomer, as most indicia of the cards' value are maintained on computers affiliated with the card issuer.

The value associated with the card can be accessed using a magnetic stripe embedded in the card, on which the card number is encoded; using radio-frequency identification (RFID); or by entering a code number, printed on the card, into a telephone or other numeric keypad.


Typical applications

Typical applications of stored-value cards include transit system farecards, gift cards, and telephone prepaid calling cards.

Transit system farecards

Transit system farecards are popular with passengers because they eliminate the need to fumble with money when entering (or exiting) buses, subway trains, etc.

Many transit system operators have implemented farecards because they can accurately track system usage; they are useful for charging different fares depending on the distance traveled; they can automatically discount fares for seniors and persons with disabilities; and passengers can in some cases replace them if they are lost, stolen, or damaged. The tracking characteristic has implications for privacy: if a card can be matched to an individual passenger, its usage history can reveal when and where the passenger has travelled.

Gift cards

Gift cards have all but replaced gift certificates, can be purchased in various values, and are good at various shopping, dining, and entertainment establishments. They are usually anonymous and no refund is available if they are lost or stolen. Also, issuers profit from the interest or float that is earned between the time of purchase and the time of use. Gift cards are sometimes referred to as "closed loop" cards in the business as they can only be used at the merchant who issued it.

In some cases, gift cards are rechargable. This means that many purchases are made with gift cards, which a customer then recharges when they get low. This spares both parties the difficulties of dealing with small change.

Store value credit cards

A Store value credit card is similar to a gift card. They feature a credit card logo such as Visa or Mastercard and can, unlike gift cards, be used anywhere a Visa or Mastercard may be used. They are very similar to a debit or check card except that they don't require a checking account to be issued one. They have been heavally marketed as a safe and responsible means for parents to give their children some spending power which is why they sometimes are referred to as teen cards. These cards are also sometimes referred to as "closed loop" cards. Stored value credit cards are usually not anonymous. They have to be enrolled under the cardholder's name and are mailed by the issuer to the cardholder's address.

See also


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