If you've got the green but not the plastic, Green Dot would like to help. The company offers prepaid debit cards through approximately 59,000 retail locations in the US. The MasterCard- and Visa-branded reloadable cards function like credit cards for purchases and cash withdrawals. Green Dot, which has more than 4 million cards in circulation, partners with PayPal, Wal-Mart, Walgreens, 7-Eleven, and other retailers to enable its customers to add funds to their accounts. The company's products are designed for people who aren't able or choose not to utilize traditional credit card and banking services. It makes most of its money from new card, monthly maintenance, and ATM fees. Green Dot went public in 2010.
The company's debut on the market exceeded its own expectations, raising nearly $165 million. Although the initial public offering (IPO) of secondary shares raised a significant amount, Green Dot did not keep any of the money for itself. Instead, the money was distributed to existing shareholders, the most prominent being Wal-Mart. Prior to the IPO the retail giant took a minority stake in Green Dot -- a move that cemented the pair's partnership. Green Dot gets more than 60% of its revenues through sales at Wal-Mart, for which it is the exclusive provider of the store-branded MoneyCard product
Unlike its nearest competitors, which focus on check cashing and payday loans, Green Dot has partnered with three of the top five retailers and other mainstream companies such as Radio Shack, Kmart, and Rite Aid. It also offers co-branded cards. The company's growth has stemmed by an increase in both its network and customer usage by offering improved services.
In addition to serving the underbanked community, electronic payments companies have also attracted fully banked consumers seeking to safely shop online using separate accounts. Using prepaid cards as a companion to their primary accounts also allows users to control spending and prevent overdrafts. As the electronics payments industry evolves and competitors continue to introduce new products such as contactless cards, Green Dot is exploring its various technological options. In addition to technological innovations, card companies like Green Dot are also focusing on maintaining a stable and secure technology infrastructure.
The company makes about half of its money in card revenues, which include new card and monthly maintenance fees, optional extras including additional cards, and ATM fees. Interchange fees (charges paid to the company when its cards are used) and cash transfer fees make up the rest of Green Dot's revenues. The company saw growth in all three areas in 2010 and 2011.
Green Dot converted to a bank holding company through its 2011 acquisition of Bonneville Bank (now Green Dot Bank), which operates a single branch in Utah. As a bank holding company, Green Dot could cut operating costs by issuing cards directly to customers rather than going through third-party banks. However, the company has no plans to pursue lending beyond the bank's pre-acquisition levels. Green Dot is also participating in a pilot program through which it distributes federal tax refunds to prepaid debit cards through the bank.
In another move to become more vertically integrated, the company in 2012 acquired certain processing and hardware assets of eCommLink for some $2.5 million. The move will allow Green Dot to bring its transaction processing in house, rather than rely on third-parties such as TSYS, with whom the company has an outsourced processing agreement that expires in 2013. In another deal, Greent Dot acquired mobile app start-up Loopt for some $43 million. The deal will help Green Dot attract and retain customers and help advance the company's technology capabilities.
Chairman and CEO Steven Streit owns 12% of the company's stock. – less