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State-run healthcare exchanges to accept prepaid debit cards

August 31, 2013

Many younger shoppers and consumers have begun to rely on electronic cards to help them make their purchases, helping to solidify the need for all retailers and managers to have top-of-the-line payment processing technology at their stores and on their websites.

Many younger shoppers and consumers have begun to rely on electronic cards to help them make their purchases, helping to solidify the need for all retailers and managers to have top-of-the-line payment processing technology at their stores and on their websites. The widespread demand for this capability has recently been illustrated by the acceptance of prepaid debit cards as a form of payment accepted for the recurring billing that comes along with healthcare expenditures.

The overwhelming demand for the inclusion of prepaid debit cards in the list of payments accepted at state-run healthcare exchanges has caused the Department of Health and Human Services to require that issuers accept the cards as a mode of payment, according to a report issued earlier this week.  

One out of every four uninsured Americans who are eligible for federal insurance coverage don’t currently have a bank account, according to a report issued earlier this year by Jackson Hewitt. Many of these individuals likely use prepaid debit cards to make cash-less payments even as they don’t have their own bank account. 

Bill McCracken, the CEO of Synergistics Research Corporation, told Marketplace Healthcare that his research suggests an increasing number of millennial and Generation Y shoppers are using pre-paid debit cards in lieu of both cash and traditional banking methods. 

“What’s interesting is that there’s been a fairly dramatic shift from even four, five years ago to today, as to what the prepaid card user looks like,” McCracken told the news source. 

As such, the state exchanges have ensured that consumers will be able to use whatever form of payment they prefer – specifically including electronic and prepaid cards.

An alternative mode of electronic payment
It seems that for many younger consumers, prepaid debit cards are a way to achieve the ease associated with electronic payments while still remaining free of the restrictions and fees often placed on them by banks. Christina Tetreault, an attorney with Consumer’s Union, told Marketplace Healthcare that a large segment of the population is turning to prepaid debit cards due to the fact that they feel dissatisfied with traditional banking programs, illustrating a need for business owners to diversify their payment processing capabilities to accept as many electronic cards as possible. 

“There is a segment of the population that is very angry about the financial crisis and is looking for alternatives,” she said, speaking to the news outlet. “And with the economic downturn, there are a lot of people who have scarred credit who are turning to alternatives.”

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