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The Inventor of Prepaid Debit Cards Is Going Mobile

Steve Streit runs payment systems that are the backbone for Apple Pay Cash, Uber, Intuit, and more.
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Illustration: Sam Kerr for Bloomberg Businessweek

It was 2012, and payment systems entrepreneur Steve Streit could see that banking was moving to mobile. He also knew that his company couldn’t get there in time.

In what may have seemed like an unorthodox move, Streit, the founder and chief executive officer of the country’s largest prepaid card provider, Green Dot Corp., decided to acquire the failing location-based dating app Loopt for $43 million—not for its technology but for its talent. Loopt’s co-founder and CEO, Sam Altman, stayed on for a time to lead Green Dot’s mobile development program. (He went on to become president of the famed tech incubator Y Combinator.) Streit’s gamble paid off last year when he announced that Green Dot would power Apple Inc.’s new person-to-person payments offering, Apple Pay Cash.