In the recent past, the prepaid credit card space in Canada has been shrinking, with some of the former titans of the industry, such as Mogo, folding entirely.
Another would-be disruptor has succumbed to the forces of the market, and has been gobbled up by a larger competitor. This time, the victim is the Stack Prepaid Mastercard, which will be discontinued on September 11, 2023.
Let’s take a look at exactly what’s happening, and how we got here.
Stack Prepaid Mastercard to Be Discontinued
On August 11, 2023, cardholders of the Stack Prepaid Mastercard were informed by email that the card is being discontinued as of September 11, 2023. As of this date, Stack Prepaid Mastercards will no longer function.
Similarly, it’ll no longer be possible to load funds onto Stack cards as of August 18, 2023.
In the email, Stack recommends that cardholders either spend down their remaining balance, or ask to withdraw it, either through the app or through online chat support, before the suspension of operations.
Any remaining funds will be returned to cardholders via e-transfer within 45 days of card cancellation, be that on September 11, 2023, or any time before.
The September 11 end date gives cardholders a 30-day window to remove all funds from their accounts.
In the email, Stack recommends that customers who wish to continue using prepaid products instead switch to the Koho Prepaid Mastercard moving forward.
As an incentive, former Slack cardholders can use the promo code KOHOSTACK when signing up for a new Koho Prepaid Mastercard. This will include one free month of Koho Premium, which among other benefits, provides no foreign exchange fees and up to 4.5% interest on cash deposits.
It’s worth noting that Stack suggesting a preferred partner to switch to is hardly novel, as the exact same thing happened earlier this year with another prepaid card at the end of its life.
In April 2023, the Mogo Prepaid Visa finally ran out of the probably fictitious trees it claimed to plant, and encouraged customers to sign up for an EQ Bank Card instead. At this point, Mogo’s parent company shut down its prepaid business to focus on other financial services instead.
It’s interesting to see prepaid companies obtain the customers of enterprises that fold without buying the underlying brand and assets. The future will tell if this becomes the norm, or if the number of prepaid products on the Canadian market will stabilize.
What Happened to the Stack Prepaid Mastercard?
In some ways, the final nail in the coffin for Stack could be seen for a while now, and it’s not much of a surprise. However, it’s also a bit of a tragedy, since the product had a lot of potential at the beginning.
When the Stack Prepaid Mastercard launched, it was lauded as a product that offered innovative features, such as no foreign transaction fees, low ATM fees, and what was (at the time) a sleekly designed app with excellent smartphone integration.
As time went on, though, Stack struggled to stake its claim in an increasingly competitive corner of the market for the same Gen-Z and millennial customers that other prepaid cards, and even traditional credit cards, also worked to cater to. This resulted in a slump in growth, and thus a drop in revenue.
The Stack Prepaid Mastercard launched with lofty promises to disrupt the traditional fee-based structure, which is so common amongst old-school Canadian financial institutions.
Unfortunately, in the face of its waning growth and eventual acquisition by CreditSesame, a US-based financial services company, the company introduced the very fees it had vowed to overcome, including on foreign transactions.
In short, Stack became a product that contradicted the core of its original identity, and failed to offer a value proposition to consumers superior to that of other prepaid products on the market.
It’s a shame, though not a surprise, to see this prepaid pioneer finally close shop.
The Stack Prepaid Mastercard is shutting down, with all cards set to deactivate on September 11, 2023. As of August 18, 2023, it’ll no longer be possible to load funds onto cards.
To extract previously loaded funds, it’s best to spend down the card’s balance, or request a refund via chat. Former cardholders can also receive a free month of Koho Premium by using the promo code KOHOSTACK when applying for a Koho Prepaid Mastercard.
Stack was one of the first innovators in the Canadian fintech and prepaid card space. While it’s sad to see the company close in large part due to stagnant growth and the re-introduction of fees, it succeeded in permanently introducing a new product category to the market.