American Express announced a prepaid card with 1% cash back today, calling the card the first and only one of its kind.
Debit reward cards became rarities after the Durbin Amendment slashed “swipe fees” earned by issuers in 2010. Retailers, who won out with Durbin, issued some brand-specific rewards cards, but consumers largely lost the general rewards that were once commonplace. Durbin also arguably caused some debit-specific startups, such as PerkStreet, to cease operation altogether.
Amex, fresh from the loss of its Costco business, which was captured by Citigroup-issued Visa cards, seems to be targeting lower-income consumers with a new prepaid Serve card offering 1% cash back on purchases. The average prepaid consumer can save $400 with 1% cash back, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, which estimates an average annual expenditure of nearly $42,000.
“With the American Express Serve Cash Back Card, we are defining a new standard in the prepaid industry and rewarding our customers where they’re already spending – on everyday items such as gas, groceries and clothing,” said Stefan Happ, chief commercial officer, enterprise growth at American Express.
Customers can see their cashback balances online or on the Serve mobile app and choose to redeem the value right away or hold onto the balance. Serve customers also have the opportunity to use direct deposit to their cards, use online bill pay, and withdraw cash free from 24,000 MoneyPass ATMs. The monthly fee for Serve cards is $5.95.Like This Post