The National Restaurant Association announced the hire of Jim Higgins as vice president of payments and financial services. In this newly created position, Higgins will develop and implement market and business development strategies for the NRA’s new and existing financial products and services, including the Edge Discover prepaid card program.


Jim’s focus on the next generation of banking, financial services, and payment products is a valuable asset as we look for new ways to provide our members with the tools and services they need,” says Phil Kafarakis, NRA’s chief innovation and member advancement officer. “We are pleased to draw on his wide-ranging experience in the financial services industry.”


The NRA’s Edge card program was designed to benefit restaurant employees who are looking for better ways to manage their finances, and easily and affordably access their cash when and how they want it. The Edge card allows restaurant employees to deposit their paychecks, load funds, and earn cash rewards on a general purpose prepaid card.


Higgins brings over 35 years of professional experience in the financial services industry to the NRA, including strategic planning, new product and service ideation, development, and launch. Most recently, Higgins headed a payments consultancy and served as director of prepaid products for Wal-Mart. He also has served in senior positions with US Bank’s Kroger Personal Finance division, Fifth Third Bank, and payment processing company Vantiv.


Higgins spent several years in management positions at Discover Card, including IT, international planning, product development, and as head of B2B products. He began his career at Sears Roebuck in their Credit Card Division, with management assignments in Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Illinois. Higgins is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin, with a BS in Business Administration.


Higgins will report to James Balda, the NRA’s senior vice president of innovation and business development.

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