A First Look into the Canadian Prepaid Market


Canada, the eleventh largest global economy, has a population of 34.5 million along with one of the world’s most developed banking markets featuring significant penetration of banking services and high consumer satisfaction. Debit cards are used frequently by the vast majority of Canadians, and credit card penetration is also high. Other significant factors include key market segments, Canadian consumers and organizations’ attitudes toward prepaid, major market players and the regulatory environment. In this environment, is there ground for prepaid cards growth?


Published on: April 9, 2013
Author: Terry Xie
Alternate Point of Contact: Amy Dunckelmann



Mercator Advisory Group’s latest report, A First Look into the Canadian Prepaid Market, examines the Canadian prepaid market with a focus on basic market characteristics, key players, regulatory frameworks, consumer behaviors, and some of the key prepaid segments. This report helps readers develop a high-level understanding of the Canadian prepaid card market so they can better position their strategies for involvement. An forthcoming benchmark of the Canadian prepaid market will provide additional colors and details of the market.

“The Canadian prepaid market is a market with unique characteristics,” Terry Xie, director of Mercator Advisory Group’s International Advisory Service and principal analyst on the report, commented. “The economy and population is about a tenth of the U.S. market but it is still one of the world’s larger markets. The banking market is highly developed, but there are a lot of demands for prepaid cards in certain areas. So prepaid card industry participants will need to be careful determining which market segments to get into and whom they will be facing while trying to compete in the relatively concentrated market.”



Highlights of the research include:

  • The rising popularity of prepaid cards in Canada across various segments
  • The increasing usage of closed-loop prepaid cards, proliferation of retail gift card programs, and the advances and offerings driving the growth
  • The status of open-loop card programs (which have emerged in recent years) and identification of the most common types
  • The early movers that are taking the lead, especially in the processing and program managing market
  • Proposed regulations that will put added pressure on issuers attempting to maintain profitability

The report is 26 pages long and contains nine exhibits.

Companies and services mentioned in this report include: Bank of Montreal, Berkeley Payment Solutions, Blackhawk Network, Canada Post, CashStar, Citizens Bank of Canada/Vancity, DirectCash Bank, First Data, InComm/Giftango, InteliSpend Prepaid Solutions, MasterCard, Moneris, People’s Trust, Royal Bank of Canada, Scotiabank, and Visa.

Members of Mercator Advisory International Advisory Service have access to this report as well as the upcoming research for the year ahead, presentations, analyst access and other membership benefits.



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