Prepaid card services provider Green Dot Corp. is fixing to make its mark all over the payments industry map. Conceding to pressure from major investor Harvest Capital to bolster its bottom line and shore up its flagging stock price, the company announced on Wednesday its plans to roll out several new products and move into the lending business.
Topping the list is a new Walmart MoneyCard, which joins Green Dot’s Green Dot Everyday Visa in the cadre of prepaid products available at WalMart stores. WalMart is Green Dot’s biggest retail partner. Also slated for rollout are prepaid card options to be sold by other Green Dot retail partners. These include the Green Dot Everyday Prepaid Card and the Green Dot 5% Cash Back Visa Debit Card. In a statement issued when the announcement was made, Green Dot management noted that by April, the company expects “substantially all” of its top-selling retail chains nationwide to have these new products in stock. The company also said in the statement that all three products tout “superior features for customers and superior unit economics for Green Dot, compared to all previous Green Dot offerings.”
But there’s more. In April, Green Dot expects to launch a new, reportedly more secure MoneyPak reloadable product. While the original MoneyPak was highly popular, fraudsters’ use of the product for nefarious purposes was such that Green Dot stopped offering it one year ago. All Green Dot prepaid cards will be plugged into the GoBank PTP technology platform in keeping with an objective to offer more features, as well as to heighten operating efficiencies.
Green Dot is also moving beyond the prepaid market as a means of generating revenues. In a conference call with analysts, Chairman and Chief Executive Steve Streit said the company intends to expand its ties to the 50 percent of all U.S. households that have annual incomes of less than $50,000. “Green Dot isn’t a prepaid card marketer, nor a prepaid card program manager,” Streit is reported to have observed. “Green Dot is big, growing, ubiquitously distributed, and increasingly famous fin-tech powered branchless bank.”
According to the company, its Green Dot Bank subsidiary has received approval from bank regulators to issue a secured credit card. Additionally, an initiative to roll out Green Dot Money, an online service, is in the early stages. Green Dot hopes to harness Green Dot Money to generate placement fees by connecting lenders with potential unsecured borrowers who use Green Dot prepaid cards.
Finally, in another push to get into new lines of business and generate new revenues, there’s Green Dot’sTPG tax-refund processing service. While this venture will generate most of its revenues during the first half of the year, it should still, in our opinion, help Green Dot attain the goals it has set regarding its cbottom line.
Green Dot has indeed taken a bit of a financial hit lately. The loss of MoneyPak, the transition from older products to newer ones, and higher commissions paid to Wal-Mart had a somewhat negative impact on the company’s key operating and financial metrics, with fourth-quarter cash transfers down by 22.3 percent year-over-year, to $9.71 million, and the active card count down by 4.7 percent, to 4.5 million. Fourth-quarter losses totaled $5.9 billion, compared with a $785,000 loss a year earlier, on revenues of $150.9 million, up by 0.2 percent from $150.6 million. Net income for all of 2015 came to $37.3 million, down by 1.4 percent from $37.9 million in 2014, on revenues of $694.7 million, up 15.5 by from $601.6 million for the same period the previous year.
On a more positive note, gross dollar volume increased by 5.9 percent, to $5.44 billion, and purchase volume, to $3.87 billion. Whether the introduction of entry into new payments waters, will be enough to counter negative trends at Green Dot, remains to be seen. But with so many spots now filled in on the payments map, it doesn’t seem conceivable that there won’t be at least one winner somewhere.