Lyn E. Haralson
In the 1980s, prepaid cards, as they were called, first emerged in the long-
distance telephone service market. By the mid 1990s, large retailers realized the cost-saving possibilities of stored value cards and began issuing them in place of traditional, paper gift certificates. Over the past decade, the stored value card market has grown exponentially. Today, stored value cards are being used for many purposes, including payroll, general spending, travel expenses, government benefit payments, retailer-specific spending, and employee benefit and reward payments. Card issuers include financial institutions, individual retailers,
government agencies and nonbank financial service providers.