Times of India
March 5, 2012
cards have become the latest retail tool to keep consumers hooked
to brands. They offer convenience and safety, because customers
don't have to carry cash, and they often come with a variety of
offers , including discounts.
Brands like Cafe Coffee Day, Pizza Hut, Provogue, Kaya, Fastrack,
Gili and a host of others have launched prepaid cards. A prepaid
card works like a debit card with a PIN number that can be redeemed
at the brands' outlets. The cards in India are based on the closed
loop model - that is, they can be redeemed only at the brand's
stores. "When I have money loaded on the card, the tendency
to come to the same place is higher," says K Ramakrishnan,
marketing president at Cafe Coffee Day. The brand's card Cafe
Moments , launched this month, offers a 5% bonus on cards with
a value of Rs 100 to Rs 499, 7% on Rs 500 to Rs 999 and 10% on
Rs 1,000 and above.
A prepaid card obviates the need to pay cash every time, and
it also enables faster accumulation of bonus points or other offers
. Prepaid cards in India are currently being used more as gift
cards. Some brands have used it to launch a promotion or a service.
What the prepaid gift card did for Kaya was to generate incremental
walk-ins ," says Suvodeep Das, marketing head at Kaya Skin
Clinic. In Kaya prepaid cards, currency can be reloaded in multiples
of Rs 500 to up to Rs 2 lakh. Kaya sells about 250-300 gift cards
Global Prepaid Exchange recently estimated that the size of the
organized prepaid gift card and gift voucher market in India is
Rs 2,000 crore and would grow to Rs 8,000 crore by 2015. "The
acceptance of gift cards in proportion to vouchers has increased
significantly," says Pratap T P, chief marketing officer
at QwikCilver Solutions , a provider of prepaid card solutions.
However, Devangshu Dutta, CEO of retail consultancy Third
Eyesight, says growth in prepaid cards would be restricted by
the fact that they can be used only at a particular brand's outlets.
"Also, a customer cannot claim the minimum residual value
in the card. He will have to top it up to redeem it," he