Everyone has dealt with the incentive that failed to feel like a reward. Examples: The prepaid gift card one’s cable provider is desperately trying to get them to take. Or the sign-on bonus offered by a phone provider worth a month of free service loaded onto a gift card. The consumer isn’t opposed to getting free money, Ingo Money CEO Drew Edwards said in a recent conversation with Karen Webster, it’s that the prepaid gift card doesn’t work for them, nor the process to collect it. It’s supposed to be an incentive, he said, but it actually functions as a layer of friction that consumers would just as soon avoid.
A similar problem, he said, happens in instant payments. They are becoming the hot new feature that an increasing hoard of digital challengers are offering up. The problem, Edwards and Webster agreed, is that these players are only offering instant payments as a feature for their own properties. Apple Card rewards pay instantly — to the users Apple Cash card; gig employers pay instantly — to their own prepaid card or digital wallet. The examples go on and on, Edwards said, but what they all have in common is they aren’t really instant payments, no matter how fast the money moves. Because the money isn’t moving to the right place.
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