Green Dot Wants to Be the Bank for On-Demand Workers

© Can Stock Photo / arosoftGreen Dot Corporation is best known for its prepaid cards, but its growth opportunities are coming from faster payments and the on-demand or gig economy, its CEO said yesterday.

CEO Steve Streit, who has had an exciting year, said in the company’s earnings call yesterday that Green Dot’s success with Uber means it has opportunities with other on-demand workers as well. Green Dot’s product suite is centered around a number of prepaid cards sold in retail outlets such as Walmart and CVS, and its mobile bank account, GoBank.

Green Dot currently operates two programs with Uber. One is the GoBank account for Uber drivers, and the other is the Instant Payout service, which pays out to any bank account. Both initiatives launched in 2016. Streit noted that enrollment in both programs was “growing nicely”:

The Any Debit program in particular has scaled very fast, with millions of transactions completed so far. The program is a real hit with drivers and we are very pleased to serve as the bank of Uber for these innovative offerings.

The Green Dot asset stack is really quite unique and special; deep fintech and payments expertise, high-scale comprehensive program management, and a well-capitalized bank that can move as fast as our Silicon Valley partners. We think we have real opportunities in this whole 1099, faster payments, instant money processing space, and we’re pursuing our strategy to address opportunities as we see them. We believe that our money processing division, the same division that owns MoneyPak and our swipe reload network, can become a big driver of growth for Green Dot over time.

Streit also discussed Green Dot’s two credit programs, which are both in their infancy. One is a secured credit card, to help prepaid customers develop their credit history, and the other is Green Dot Money, a marketplace of loans from outside lenders.

We have to recognize that as we come up with credit programs, of how do you come up with a credit program that on one hand provides enough liquidity to matter? [It] can’t be where you are making $20 in a loan or something. It’s got to be enough liquidity that matters to the customer, but done in a way where you can feel certain you’ll get paid back in a way the customer can afford to pay you back without all kinds of predatory fees and penalty fees, which, as you know, is not something that Green Dot does. And how do you make that all work? We think we have some good ideas to do it. And having a bank charter and having capital and a healthy balance sheet puts us in a position to do that, I think, better than almost any company in our space.

Speaking of predatory fees, Streit also discussed the October CFPB rule on prepaid products and how it might affect Green Dot:

Our initial view is that Green Dot will emerge unscathed with no material financial or operational impacts to our business. It’s gratifying to know that prepaid can now graduate from the perception of some as a fringe product living outside the main stream of banking, into the mainstream of regulated bank accounts, and in so doing, finally allow us to move past a long period of regulatory uncertainty.

In passing, Streit also noted that 70% of Green Dot’s visits come from mobile devices, and 67% of card loads come via direct deposit. The company’s target of “underbanked” customers are heavier users of mobile than those who do not use alternative banking services.

Green Dot’s revenue on the quarter was $154.6 million, up 5.6% over the previous year.

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