How can a card be private?

Rowan —  July 6, 2011 — 8 Comments

You will often hear the term “private label” in the prepaid card space. Sometimes it is also called “white plastic” or “non-branded” or “closed loo”. Largely they all mean the same thing:

  • A card without a MasterCard/Visa/Amex/etc logo on the card
  • A card that is not processed via a MasterCard/Visa/Amex channel
  • A card that can only be loaded or redeemed at point of sale terminals which have been specifically configured to accept that card  (I’m excluding “white plastic MasterCard and Visa cards” for another post)

Cards from Starbucks to Amazon are private label cards. (another post comparing card programmes)

This has a few implications for your programme:

  • You are free of any MasterCard of Visa restrictions
  • The card will not automatically work at the point of sale. In each store or retailer’s case you will need to integrate into their point of sale system or terminal. That means having an interface into your chosen processing system, a channel such as open internet to pass the transaction along and technical expertise at the retailer to integrate into your chosen interface. This all takes a work and time
  • If the retailer does not have any technical expertise to integrate, the other option is to put down a stand alone terminal, already integrated into your processor’s interface that just processes your prepaid cards
  • Once live, your costs tend to be lower as you are not incurring MasterCard/Visa/Bank costs to pass the transaction onto your processor

Integrating multiple retailers is hard, so private label cards are better suited to single store or single retailer brand programmes




8 responses to How can a card be private?


    We have our own private label card, and it was much quicker to get started than a MasterCard, but it’s turned out to be a real pain paying out each of our branches in a manual recon process every 2 weeks.



    How do I know if a card number I choose isn’t already somebody elses credit card?



      It shouldn’t really make a difference if your cards aren’t being processed over your normal credit card processing systems, but if they are (maybe both your gift card and credit card machines are integrated into your POS), then you should choose a range that doesn’t start with any in use by any major credit cards. Numbers starting with “7” are usually ok. Take a look at

      S. Witch


    “Closed loo” cards? Maybe Helen Zille could learn from this.


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