Notice a lot of commercials for payday loans of late? Does the pawn shop downtown seem to be thriving? What about that rent to own furniture place that promises no payments til 2012?
These businesses are actually part of a growing trend that was unwittingly given a massive shot in the arm by the global downturn of 2008-2009. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation estimates that half the worlds population has little or no access to basic banking services. And the US isn’t immune; the FDIC says that one-quarter of all people in that country are “unbanked or underbanked.”
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Shares of Selectcore (TSXV:SCG) are on the march; rising from $.20 cents on May 2nd to close at $.69 cents today, more than tripling the company’s market cap in just five sessions. So why the move? On May 5th, SelectCore received approval for its Iridium brand MasterCard from the United States Patent and Trademark Office. The Vaughan, Ontario company, which was established in 1999, has its roots are in selling prepaid telecom to an established network of retail convenience and grocery store locations. Selectcore has grown its revenue from $37 million in fiscal 2006 to over $103 million in 2010.
The prepaid wireless market is a good place to be. Telecom industry research firm Atlantic ACM estimates that this sector will grow from $19.3 billion in 2010 to $25.3 billion by 2015. But those numbers are dwarfed by the size of the prepaid credit card market. An independent research report commissioned by MasterCard estimates that market will surpass $440 billion by 2017, which is more than four times its estimated 2009 value of $120.2 billion
Selectcore’s Iridium joins the company’s other financial offering; ReCash, a voucher that can be loaded with cash and transferred instantly to another customer’s card via text message, online or by dialing a toll-free number.
Selectcore says the their new financial offerings are helping to improve the thin margins the company has experienced with prepaid wireless. In the fourth quarter of 2010, after non-operational, one-time year-end adjustments, gross profit was $1.76-million, an improvement of 223 per cent over the same period in 2009. President Ryan Deslippe says that Iridium, ReCash and “new product launches to be announced in 2011, will be key drivers of high-margin profitability.”