INNOVATION + LEADERSHIP,TRENDS + INSIGHTS
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February 27, 2012
It's pitch black. Impressions of the flickering flames of the bonfire dance in anticipation on the children's faces. We are wrapped-up warm in woollen scarves and bobble hats. It is November 5th, Fireworks Night. I am seven years old.
My father, an unseen shadow behind us, is my hero. He holds the key to a night of delight. Cautiously, he plants the rockets firmly in the heavy, dead-leaf damp soil. He leans over and as the taper touches the strand of blue fuse, it sparkles—then flares up.
My hero jumps back and we watch, my family and I, awaiting the explosion of Chinese magic to excite our senses. Whoosh! Up it soars, the sky is alive with dancing colors and my world changes forever. My memory is etched with the experience of, "Lighting the blue touch paper and standing well back," as the small print on the box of fireworks stated so clearly back in 1967.
And that is what is happening in prepaid right now. Prepaid is a payments firework. In some places it is already lighting up the lives of the people it affects. Elsewhere the firework is still in the box, waiting to be planted in the soil, the blue fuse awaiting the spark that will allow the faces to be lit up, the needs satisfied with promise of prepaid.
As I sit here in Mumbai, having just opened the third Gift & Prepaid Retreat India for 210 delegates, I listen to Deepak Bhutra VP, Prepaid Cards in India and South Africa for MasterCard Worldwide, deliver a keynote presentation. As the Knowledge Partner for the event, run by my team at Gx with our local partner, Atos Worldline, MasterCard owns the fire beneath the prepaid firework in India.
The panelists are the country's leaders in prepaid. They discuss the business model. The infrastructure. The merchant-acceptance. The consumers' attitudes. How they can get the firework to take off: education, promotion, regulation, and innovation. And they explain how they are pulling together and aligning their resources through our Voices of Prepaid India market growth program.
In the audience I recognise the signs of the fuse being lit. And in the years ahead we will see prepaid being adopted in India, first as a whoosh, and then as an explosion, to improve the lives of many of the 1.2bn people living here.
And as I sit back and enjoy the spectacle, I realise with a smile that as I light the blue touch paper and stand well back, I have become my father.