Consorteum Holdings Inc. has stated as its basic mission the providing of groundbreaking card, payment, and transaction processing solutions. In so doing, it is clearly taking advantage of the increased global need for more flexible approaches in consumer financial services (CFS), together with the availability of new technologies that allow for instant worldwide data communications. CFS providers in Europe and North America have begun to actively encourage the development of more creative transaction alternatives, and Consorteum has positioned itself to be a leading resource for such alternatives. The company sees itself as facilitating initiatives that bring together the best technologies, processes, and partnerships, to service a very well-defined user base.
Although Consorteum is initially targeting a number of key markets, a major focus has been users that are considered unbanked or underbanked, such as migrant workers who find themselves having to cash their pay checks at high-fee check stores. It can also include low income individuals who receive government benefits, but have an inadequate banking relationship to make easy use of the funds. In fact, it is estimated that perhaps 25% of the North American workforce can be considered unbanked or underbanked, a huge number.
Traditionally, banks have done little to meet the needs of this market, due to costs and risks. For example, it is very expensive to service customers via a branch teller when that customer is carrying a zero balance. And such users may not qualify for credit cards or mortgages, so banks have little opportunity to turn them into profitable long-term customers.
Consorteum addresses this growing need in a number of ways, such as working with employers and government agencies to allow the use of reloadable payment cards. Each pay period, funds are automatically deposited to the employee’s card account, which can be used like any cash card for retail purchases or at bank machines. Workers are given immediate access to their payroll funds no matter where they are located. Social assistance payments can be directly loaded onto prepaid cards, instead of issuing a large number of manual checks, saving the government money and making it easier for recipients.
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