Growth stocks are a great way to make life-changing wealth from the stock market. While many top growth stocks can cost hundreds of dollars (or more), occasionally, you'll find great companies with stocks trading under $20 a share.

One growth stock with high potential is Marqeta (NASDAQ: MQ), which currently trades around $19.50 a share. Marqeta looks to bring card payments into the digital age, and it is chasing a huge market -- the $30 trillion card-issuing space.

A person uses a credit card to check out at a bakery.

Image source: Getty Images.

Card issuing for the modern age

Marqeta describes itself as the "modern card issuing platform." The fintech creates customizable spending cards for various companies, including Square, DoorDash, Alphabet's Google, and Goldman Sachs.

The company competes against established competitors like Global Payments and Fiserv. However, Marqeta's advantage is its speed and flexibility of payments. The company prides itself on creating spending cards in a fraction of the time of traditional card issuers. Companies also like the customizability of Marqeta's cards, which can help them meet specific needs for their business.

Here are three examples where Marqeta is innovating.

1. DoorDash uses Marqeta to cut down on fraud

One company that finds Marqeta's flexible solutions appealing is DoorDash. DoorDash essentially acts as a middleman between its customers and restaurants. When you place an order on the app, a Dasher goes to the restaurant and many times has to pay for the order through the restaurant's point-of-sale system. However, giving a Dasher a card with a fixed spending limit -- say $500 or $1,000 -- can open up the door to potential fraud.

Marqeta fixes this. By offering a feature called dynamic spending controls, the Marqeta-enabled card issued to Dashers makes just enough cash available to spend on a specific order at the specific restaurant the customer ordered from. Dynamic spending controls is just one solution Marqeta has created, allowing mobile-ordering apps to operate seamlessly in the digital age.

2. Marqeta has spending cards using cryptocurrencies

Another area Marqeta recently entered into is issuing crypto spending cards with companies like Coinbase Global and Shakepay. This card lets customers spend from crypto accounts, just like a regular debit or credit card. It also allows them to earn rewards and it automatically adjusts a customer's credit spending limit based on the user's crypto balances.  

One key feature that cryptocurrency companies like about Marqeta's cards is its just-in-time funding feature. This allows those cryptocurrency companies to build out card products that are authorized in real-time based on a user's available cryptocurrency balance. Best of all, because this is done with Visa in partnership, these cards are accepted anywhere Visa is taken.  

"This is one of the bleeding edges of innovation in fintech and these new cards are providing even more points of access to and utility for cryptocurrencies," explained Chief Technology Officer Randy Kern when discussing the crypto-powered cards. "We're excited to see that our platform can help these companies build out full service digital banking capabilities alongside the card itself."  

3. Buy now, pay later companies use Marqeta to expand their merchant base

Marqeta is also working with buy now, pay later (BNPL) companies like Afterpay and Affirm. Marqeta creates virtual cards that connect to users' BNPL accounts, which can be used just like a regular credit or debit card.  

Marqeta's card offering helps BNPL firms to provide their services to more merchants. That's because BNPL companies currently have to onboard a merchant to make their payment plans available. However, with Marqeta's virtual cards, retailers can easily take Marqeta's cards the same way they accept Visa or Mastercard. This streamlines the checkout process for consumers while giving BNPL firms easier access to more merchants.  

A cashier takes a card payment at a coffee shop.

Image source: Getty Images.

High demand is driving growth in this key metric

Marqeta is processing more transactions year over year. During the third quarter, total processed volume, or the total amount of payments processed through its platform, net of returns, came in 60% higher than last year, to $28 billion. Its total processed volume is $78 billion for the first nine months, up 89% from last year.  

However, losses are increasing, too. Through three months, losses are $81 million. Last year it lost $22 million. Losses have increased due to higher compensation expenses. Specifically, stock-based compensation is up to $106 million this year, up from $19 million last year. 

This compensation is higher for a couple of reasons. For one, the company went public earlier this year. As a result, it has recognized share-based compensation for equity awarded to employees before going public, resulting in higher stock-based compensation expenses than last year. In addition, the company is spending more on technology and employees as it expands its reach -- which is to be expected as the company scales up.  

Analysts see double-digit percentage growth next year

In 2022, analysts expect Marqeta to see revenue grow 33% from 2021's full-year expected revenue and 127% from its 2020 revenue. Analysts also see Marqeta improving upon its bottom line, with earnings per share coming in at a $0.27 loss per share, improving 2021's expected EPS of a $0.37 loss per share.  

Marqeta is innovating on the spending card space and many companies have already turned to it to create their own cards. What I like is how wide-ranging its reach is, with clients including established companies like Goldman Sachs and young technology disruptors like Square and Affirm. Marqeta can be thought of as the plumbing for the digital age of finance, helping to connect more apps than ever before. The company is early in its growth story, and best of all you can grab the stock at under $20 a share.