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How to sell prepaid cards at your convenience store

Written by G Jason Schnellbacher

Topics: Prepaid

Updated April 22 2013 - Looking for how you can begin to sell prepaid cards in your convenience store or other high traffic location?  Heard that you can make some good money on this rapidly growing industry?  It is true.  According to industry adviser, Mercator,  the total dollars loaded onto prepaid cards will climb to $672 BILLION over the next three years with convenience stores in particular the fastest growing segment.   Consumers are purchasing prepaid cards more and more from “prepaid malls” inside convenience stores.  In busy locations, especially those with high percentage of under-banked and immigrant patrons, the revenue and profit opportunity is compelling.  The profits for selling prepaid are typically not as good as getting an ATM but most decent locations can make several hundred dollars extra every month.  Would you like to get in on the action?

This post is written for owners and manager of convenience stores and other high traffic retail locations interested in selling prepaid products and services retail in their stores. Information about corporate universal prepaid Visa cards for gifts and awards is on a different page.

How can you begin selling prepaid cards at your c-store?
Actually, it is super easy.  Prineta can help you open a “prepaid mall” in less than a week.  Prineta offers prepaid card point-of-sale rack displays stocked with the most popular prepaid cards to convenience stores and indirect wireless dealers for $30.


Generate additional income and increase foot traffic by offering customers the option to purchase prepaid phone top-up cards and reloadable Visa Debit cards

The commissions for selling prepaid cards can be pretty good (between 2-35% but average around 10% blended across all products sold) and convenience stores are the best place to sell them.  Think about it.  If your customers can “recharge” or “top-up” their mobile phone with minutes at the same time they pick up cigarettes or something else, 24/7/365 then its a win-win deal. If your primary demographic uses prepaid mobile phone services already then why not profit from the trend.

Sell Prepaid Mobile Phone Minutes

We can help you become a prepaid mobile phone service retailer so you can sell prepaid cards for the most popular prepaid phone providers; Cricket, Virgin Mobile, Boost Mobile, Net 10, Simple Mobile, T-Mobile, TracFone, AT&T Go Phone, Verizon, and regional providers.  With our program you can sell PayGo Re-Boost, Virgin Mobile Top Ups, T-Mobile Refill, GoPhone Minutes, Cricket PayGo, Net 10, and Simple Mobile ReUp and the commissions are good.  AT&T pays 14% commissions.

Sell Reloadable Visa Debit Cards

Reloadable Visa Debit Cards offers immigrants, guest workers, employers, parents, students, the budget conscious and those without a checking account with a convenient and risk free way of managing their money. Popular for company reimbursement, payroll direct deposit, or use as a reloadable cash card.  At 35% commission, you make $1.05 for every $3 card sold and $0.885 every time a customer reloads the card (based on 30% of $2.95).   That can add up for a busy c-store in the right location.

Think about it.  Banks are killing people with checking account fees these days.  For many banks, checking accounts are no longer free.  To avoid monthly fees and overdraft fees, more and more people are choosing reloadable Visa debit cards.

We often hear things like, “I don’t like the fees on prepaid debit cards… but I’d take the $3.95 monthly fee if it means I can avoid more or more $35 overdraft fees [on bank accounts].” Meanwhile others say, “I went through a lot of late fees with the credit cards, extra fees with the checking accounts. I was paying between $35 to $50 in fees every month, compared to $3.99 that I pay for a maintenance fee to get a prepaid card.”  Ask around and I am sure you will hear similar statements.

Sell International Long Distance Prepaid Cards

If you have a high percentage of migrant workers or foreign nationals in your c-store, then selling international prepaid cards might be a good idea.  Many immigrants like to call home with prepaid cards purchased from convenience stores. Commissions for international long distance phone cards are 14-29%.

Sell Prepaid Phone Service

T-Mobile, Tracfone, Verizon, Virgin Mobile, Airvoice Express, Airvoice GSM, Alltel, Beyond GSM, Blus Grass, Boost Mobile, Call Plus GSM, Hargray, I-Wireless, Jump, Locla GSM, Locus Platinum, Mojo, Movida, Net 10, Omni Prepaid, Omobile, Oxygen Wireless, Page Plus, Platinum Tel Combo, Platinum Tel Refill, Sti Mobile, Tuyo, Asia Direct, Cellular Long Distance, Global Reach, Jambo Africa, La Fiesta, Mi Pais Lindo, Patriot, Pennies Per Call, TelePronto, Telmex Multifon.

Sell Gift Cards from 450 National Brands and Make $0.80/ea

In addition to the aforementioned products, the Prineta prepaid program for retail merchants also includes the  opportunity to sell gift cards retail from iTunes, Amazon, and 450 national retailers.  It is complete FREE and part of the best prepaid program for convenience stores and other high traffic retail locations out there.  We have the hottest products so you can sell more and MAKE MORE MONEY.  

Now your customers that like to shop last minute can send family or friends on a date for dinner at the Outback Steakhouse and movies with AMC; or for the youngster that loves music, video games and electronic gadgets, you can never go wrong with iTunes or Amazon gift cards.

Not only are gift cards are the ultimate impulse buy for the last minute shopper they can be the most cost effective way to buy online for people without a bank account.

There is no inventory.  The gift cards are loaded in our application that runs on the prepaid payment terminal and it prints the coupon information onto the receipt then customers can take it directly into the store or take it home and order a gift card online and have it mailed to them for free.  Or for out-of-town gifts, customers can can email the eGift cards and the recipient can take the email into the store.  It is pretty simple really.  Basically, you collect the cash and the amount of the gift card will be debited from your business checking account the next day and the commissions for selling the cards are paid monthly.

Select Participating Brands:

iTunes,,,, Cheesecake Factory, Crutchfield, Home Depot, Starbucks, Target, Applebee’s, American Eagle Outfitters, Barnes & Noble, Bass Pro Shops, Bath and Body Works, Destination Maternity,, Journeys, Marriott, Olive Garden, PF changs, Panera Bread, LongHorn Steakhouse, Cabela’s and 450 others.

How to sell Prepaid Cards?

  • Customers visit your store and pick up cards of their choice
  • Accept cash, as accepting credit will only reduce your profit and increase your risk of losing a prepaid cash item.
  • You activate or top up the cards
  • Deposit the cash you collected daily in your designated checking account
  • Your designated checking account will be debited for the prior day’s prepaid sales total

Learn More about the Prepaid Opportunity

  • Sales of “open-loop prepaid cards”, issued by banks and credit card companies and able to be used at multiple establishments, are only going to go up as more consumers come to appreciate their benefits—and more c-stores come to understand the opportunities they offer.
  • Open-loop is a term used to describe general purpose cards that carry the American Express, Discover, MasterCard or Visa logo and can be used wherever those cards are accepted. Closed-loop cards, by contrast, can be used only in a single store or group of stores.
  • Currently, more than 17 million people in the U.S. don’t have bank accounts and that number could blossom as banks begin charging more for checking accounts and overdraft fees to make up for the reduction in swipe fees.
  • The total dollars loaded onto prepaid cards will climb to $672 billion over the next three years, according to the Maynard, Mass.-based Mercator Advisory Group’s Seventh Annual Prepaid Card Forecast. That’s more than double the $330.03 billion loaded onto these cards in 2009.  That’s billions with a capital B!
  • C-stores are increasingly making open-loop cards part of their product mix.  In addition to promoting the cards as bank account alternatives for people tired of overdraft fees and monthly account fees, selling prepaid can be a way to reduce credit card processing costs.  The interchange rate at which prepaid cards are processed is much more favorable than traditional credit cards and costs merchants less.
  • The top-selling periods for one-time load gift cards are graduation time, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, and then in November and December for the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays.
  • When most people think about open-loop prepaid cards, they often think about the under-banked or the under-served, but these are hardly the only people opting for them.  The cards are very popular for people that travel international and don’t want to risk having a debit card linked to their bank account stolen or compromised.  A prepaid card is much safer.
  • Prepaid users come from all backgrounds and demographics.  Of course there are the under-banked but the ranks also include people buying them as gifts, people on a budget trying to control their spending, and people who want to shop online without putting their credit cards at risk. There are many reasons why some prefer prepaid.
  • Many good general purpose reloadable debit cards will accept direct deposit from employers to keep load fees down and manageable
  • There is a fair amount of homework that needs to be done before you get started. Part of your success will hinge on how well you understand the consumers coming through your doors and then choosing what kind of prepaid card they want most.
  • The card displays should also be merchandised prominently at the point-of-sale so that regular consumers begin to identify them with the store.
  • Reloadable cards can become a continual source of income for a convenience store operator is if clients come in once a month or more add money to the card
  • C-stores are the fastest growing segment of the industry
  • Indirect wireless dealers are great places to open a prepaid mall
  • Prepaid wireless recharge top-ups are typically 80% of the prepaid revenue for more convenience stores
  • Prepaid wireless “pay-as-you-go” is 21% of the overall wireless market in America
  • Each prepaid subscriber tops up their phone and average of 1.2 times per month
  • There are over 357 million store visits for prepaid phone top ups annually
  • Next to tobacco and lottery tickets, prepaid is the third best selling category for most c-stores
  • Long distance phone cards and VISA gift cards pay the highest commission of all the card types
  • Bottom Line: We find that it’s often worth it for c-store chains to make the investment in time and space.

With credit to Convenience Store Decisions: Stacking the Cards in Your Favor.

Knowing your target end-user is the key. It is a well-known fact that economically challenged and foreign-born people are users of pre-paid cards in vast disproportion to the rest of the population.

Start a Prepaid Mall in Your C-Store

Prineta provides a unique set of prepaid solutions for a variety of retail locations just like yours. By simply providing these valuable payment products, you can generate additional revenue and increase foot traffic from customers seeking these essential services.  Our Prepaid Mall program offers consumers the ability to purchase various prepaid cards for themselves or for gifts!

Participating retailers can:

  • Accept payments for Domestic and International long distance services
  • Accept payments for wireless services to be loaded on mobile devices
  • Sell Visa® Reloadable Prepaid Debit cards
  • Sell a variety of gift cards from national retailers and restaurants or online companies

Benefits of Opening a Prepaid Mall

When you participate in the Prepaid Mall, your business can:

  • Gain additional revenue (How much money can you make? )
  • Gain increased and repeat foot traffic in your store(s)
  • Accept payments for prepaid cards and billers on multi-app terminals (along with credit/debit card transactions)
  • Display a nice counter top rack you can place near the cash register
  • View complete sales tracking reports at the terminal level
  • Utilize our “virtual warehouse” where an unlimited amount of inventory is provided to you – requiring no in-store prepaid card inventory

Free Terminal Available

If you sign up for prepaid AND either the bill payment center or bankcard processing then the terminal is free.  This new generation terminal supports credit card processing, prepaid, bill pay, and check verification all on a single terminal from a single provider.


What’s important to know?

  • The program is only avaiable to retail stores (no online stores)
  • The countertop prepaid racks cost $30
  • There is a $15 non-usage fees if you don’t sell anything in a month
  • The cost to reorder cards is $14.95
  • You have 90 days to meet $600 in sales; if not there is a $25 monthly charge
  • No need to change merchant account providers but we would sure appreicate a chance to earn your business
  • Long distance phone cards and VISA gift cards pay the highest commission of all the card types
  • Selling prepaid cards will convert your terminal into a revenue source instead of a cost center
  • Let your prepaid card sales offset your merchant account fees

There are Inactivity Fees

Don’t sign up if you aren’t going to use the service.  As of April 1, 2013 merchants that do not process at least 1 sale in a month will be assessed a $15 non-usage fee. The non-usage fee will be invoiced and automatically withdrawn from the merchant’s account on a monthly basis for the inactivity in the prior month (For example: If you do not process a sale in the month of April, you will receive a charge of $15 on your statement in the month of May). If a merchant’s account is deemed to have Non Sufficient Funds (NSF), there will be a NSF fee assessed in the amount of $35, and the account will be placed on hold.  The merchant will not be able to process any transactions until the balance is paid in full. At that time, the account will be reactivated.

Paperwork Required to Sell Prepaid Cards

  • Prepaid merchant application
  • ACH electronic deposit authorization
  • Voided check
  • Sales Tax certificate

Only Available in the United States

Available in the in New York (NYC-NY), Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco, San Jose, Sacramento, and Oakland in California, Houston, Dallas, San Antonio, and Austin in Texas, Miami, Orlando, and Tampa in Florida, Chicago in Illinois, Philadelphia and Pittsburg in Pennsylvania, Washington D.C., Cleveland, Columbus, and Cincinnati in Ohio, Detroit Michigan, Atlanta Georgia, Newark New Jersey, Charlotte and Raleigh in  North Carolina, All of Northern Virginia, Boston Massachusetts, Seattle Washington, Indianapolis Indiana, Memphis and Nashville in Tennessee, Phoenix Arizona, St. Louis and Kansas City Missouri, Baltimore Maryland, Milwaukee Wisconsin, Minneapolis / St. Paul Minnesota, Denver Colorado, and all-50 states.


Ready to Get Started?

You may also be interested in our other services for convenience stores:

Interested in having prepaid cards branded with your logo?  We  also do custom prepaid programs for large clients.  We can help you with closed-loop gift cards than can only be used at your store.  We can help you with one-time-load open-loop cards that can be used anywhere but cannot have funds added.  We can help you with open-loop Mastercard debit cards that can be used anywhere and can be reloaded.  We can even help you with open-loop cards with that can only be used at restricted list of unaffiliated merchants (like for a shopping center for example – an open-loop card that only works at the retailers in the shopping center and each merchant does not need special software on their point of sale system).  Just ask about our custom prepaid program for large merchants.

9 Comments Comments For This Post I'd Love to Hear Yours!

  1. Nathaniel Evans says:

    Need assistance starting a business

  2. Jesse Glasper says:

    Are there any minimums?

    • admin says:

      Hello Jesse.

      There are no minimums if you sign up for two of three services: prepaid, bill pay, or credit card processing.

      If you only sign up for prepaid, you will have 3 months to make sales of $600 total, and if you do not reach $600 in those 3 months (which is very rare — we’ve yet to have a customer be charged) you would be charged a $25 monthly minimum.

      Since our prepaid program is really designed for convenience and grocery stores, retail pharmacies and drugstores, check cashing places, and other high traffic retail locations minimums are not really an issue.

      Also note there is a $75 charge if merchants do not activate within 4 weeks of receiving the terminal and point of sale display. Most merchants are eager to get started so this is rarely an issue.

      We have more details about the program here.

  3. want to market the card

  4. I would like to know how can I become a retail seller of the gift cards. Please let me know what it would cost to sale the gift cards in my store.

    • admin says:

      The program is completely free to retail merchants in the U.S. and Canada with decent foot traffic; just submit an application and if approved by underwriting then you can be set up and making money in a few days.

  5. Ray Jenot says:

    We Are Currently operating An Ntelos And Directv Store In Dunbar Wv Would Like TO Expand Have Plenty Of Room
    Thanks Ray

  6. CM Network says:

    Good Afternoon,

    I have a small business, and I would like to sell prepaid cards utilizing my business logo. Can you give me advice on if this is possible?

    • G Jason Schnellbacher says:

      Hello. Thank you for commenting on

      We have a couple options where you can put your business logo on prepaid cards. We do private label cards and custom card programs. What’s the difference? Read this post:

      We will email you regarding our advice and what we would recommend based on the type of program you need (corporate load or general purpose reloadable), the number of cards you need, and your appetite for investment (all of the branded options require at least some upfront costs).

      For others reading this post, you can request a free consultation by emailing prepaid[at]prineta[dot]com.

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