from the Philadelphia Fed
General-purpose reloadable (GPR) prepaid cards have long been associated with unbanked and low-income individuals. A discussion paper from the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia broadens the perception of GPR cardholders by studying the current adoption and usage rates of GPR prepaid cards.
A GPR prepaid card is a payment option that can often be used instead of more traditional debit or credit cards for financial transactions. GPR card users can deposit money onto the card and use the card to pay bills and make ATM withdrawals. The difference between a GPR card and a debit card is that a GPR card does not link to a personal checking account.
Because GPR cards can be used for electronic distribution of funds, the U.S. Treasury Department and some employers use these cards to transfer benefits and earnings to unbanked individuals. Despite their early use as a product for lower-income and unbanked consumers, however, GPR products are now gaining broader appeal and uptake.