Card Activation Technologies Inc. retained law firm Stinson Morrison Hecker LLP for prosecution of its patent infringement cases. The firm joins Orum & Roth LLP as representatives of CAT in several cases pending. The controversy involves CAT's patented POS technology for the activation and processing of transactions using debit-styled cards, including gift, phone and other stored-value cards.
CAT received a favorable report and recommendation on the claims in its patent infringement case against quick service restaurant giant McDonald's and others; the case is pending in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division. Counsel Mark Roth of Orum & Roth said his firm believes the ruling will "help solidify our position on all parties' infringement of the patent involved in Card Activation's various lawsuits."
Roth added, "As a compliment to the strength and positive encouragement of the beneficial and favorable ruling, we welcome Stinson Morrison Hecker to the team, as they will dramatically broaden and enhance our defensive capabilities in protecting our patent."
MoneyGram International reached an agreement with the Federal Trade Commission to increase its fraud prevention measures with new systems and processes in response to the FTC's allegations that MoneyGram agents knowingly processed money transfers for consumers who were victims of third-party scams. The FTC also claimed that some agents were active participants in the scams, not just conduits for the funds transfers.
Pamela H. Patsley, MoneyGram Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, stated, "While we don't agree with the FTC's allegations regarding our fraud prevention in the past, we can agree on fraud prevention today and in the future. We don't want our customers being victimized by third-party fraud.
"What we are announcing today with the FTC is our commitment to enhance our already comprehensive efforts to combat fraud and ensure our customers can continue to rely on MoneyGram for safe, reliable money transfer services."
MoneyGram will also remit $18 million into an FTC-administered account to refund consumer losses from third-party fraud. The FTC estimated consumer losses far exceeded the $84 million reported to them by victims.
3V Transaction Services Ltd., a Dublin, Ireland-based prepaid service provider, will launch its Virtual Visa Voucher product in Canada, issued by Peoples Trust Co., in early 2010. The 3V Voucher will be distributed by VendTek Systems Inc.
Campus card services provider CardSmith launched its Campus Cash program in the Boston metropolitan area. The card can be integrated into the existing campus identification card programs of CardSmith's higher education customers in Boston, Cambridge and Newton, Mass. Students at participating colleges and universities can access their prepaid spending accounts at network locations in and around the schools.
Commerce Online Inc. launched branded, prepaid debit and identification cards for licensed medical marijuana dispensaries and collectives operating in California and Colorado.
"Presently, most of these operations only accept cash, as well as pay cash to suppliers to the collectives, subjecting operators and collective members to theft, unregulated and potential criminal activity," said Kyle Gotshalk, CEO of Commerce Online.
JPMorgan Chase & Co. expanded its commercial card services in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. The company's Treasury Services introduced several new product offerings and service enhancements in those regions. More new product offerings are expected to roll out in early 2010.
Prepaid Card Holdings Inc.'s CEO Bruce Berman agreed to not claim a salary for the balance of 2009. He had previously waived his 2008 salary and accepted a 70 percent decrease in salary in February 2009. Prepaid Card Holdings filed a lawsuit against Robert Christiansen, its former CEO and Director in Sept. 2009 for fiduciary abuse. Berman said he is making this sacrifice "in order to not affect the company's operational cash flow from this legal action this year."
The Members Group added simple message service alerts to its ATIRAreload card offering for TMG's credit union clients. Cardholders may elect to receive text message alerts based on pre-determined event triggers, such as low balances, reloading and purchases. The service comes at no additional charge to cardholders, TMG said.
TSYS Acquiring Solutions' President Bob Philbin spoke on the CEO panel at the annual Lydian Symposium, a closed-door roundtable held in New York City. This year's theme was What's Next in Payments. Warren Buffett, Chairman of Berkshire Hathaway Inc., was the keynote speaker.
As part of a UniRush LLC promotion, RushCard user Ebony Pleas won $10,000. Cardholders who received a direct deposit on their cards between May 1, 2009, and July 31, 2009, were automatically entered to win the cash prize in the Prepaid Visa RushCard's Visa Prepaid Debit Card Direct Deposit Promotion.
"These sweepstakes are a great incentive for our members to use direct deposit and manage their money well," said Ram Palaniappan, General Manager of the RushCard.
FiCentive Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Payment Data Systems Inc., entered into an agreement with Redpack S.A. de C.V., a global package and delivery company in Mexico, to create the Redpack-branded Mi Promesa cards. U.S.-based cardholders can reload Mi Promesa cards and also fund the FiCentive cards of family members.
FixYa Ltd., a San Jose-based product support service, will now offer its community of technology experts the option of payment via the FixYa Prepaid MasterCard powered by Payoneer Inc., provider of online corporate payment solutions. The FixYa cards are reloaded monthly, provided experts earn a minimum of $50 that month.
Global Currency Inc., the exclusive North American licensee for UniCache products and services, will partner with TengoInternet Inc. to enable the distribution of 8,000 UniCache NonBank Centers throughout the United States and Canada. TengoInternet provides wireless Internet service for the outdoor hospitality industry.
Inside Contactless partnered with Adelya, a software-as-a-service company specializing in contactless and mobile loyalty programs, to provide Adelya with technology to transform mobile phones into contactless loyalty cards. The two companies also rolled out more than 300,000 loyalty cards embedded with Inside Contactless's PicoPass stickers to clothing store chain Tape à l'oeil locations throughout France.
MoneyGram renewed its agent agreement with Duane Reade Inc., a drugstore chain based in New York City. Duane Reade locations that presently offer MoneyGram money transfers, money orders, and ExpressPayment services for urgent bill payment and reload options for prepaid debit cards, will now be able to offer MoneyGram's Utility Bill Payment services.
NetSpend formed an alliance with Grupo Financiero Barri, a nonbank financial services provider, which caters to the Hispanic community in Texas, to offer a rechargeable, jointly branded and general use prepaid card in 200 Barri branches. To kick off the program, Barri customers who buy the card and deposit a minimum of $20 will receive an additional $10.
In other news, NetSpend partnered with Winn-Dixie Stores Inc. to provide New Orleans Saints-branded prepaid Visa cards to Winn-Dixie customers. The stores are located in the greater New Orleans area and are issued by Inter National Bank of McAllen, Texas.
NetSpend also signed a three-year renewal with Little Rock, Ark.-based Acxiom Corp. after experiencing strong marketing results with Acxiom's Web-based data quality services.
Through a partnership with Prepaid Resources Inc., Prepaid Media LLC (doing business as Paybefore) made Prepaid Resources' Pearls Provider Referral Listing Service available through Paybefore's Web portal at www.paybefore.com. Pearls acts as a clearing house and matchmaker for prepaid programs.
Ukash will make its first foray into North America, partnering with VendTek Systems Inc. under its Now PrePay brand. Ukash will be available from 4,000 POS terminals in Ontario. Ukash plans to expand to include a total of 15,000 Canadian locations by the end of 2009.
Additionally, a partnership between Ukash and Payzone UK Ltd. will allow MasterCard Worldwide's MasterCard rePower to be reloadable at 18,000 Payzone outlets across the U.K. beginning in 2010. Payzone, a branded consumer payments acceptance network, also provides mobile top-up, bill pay, ticketing and money transfer services.
Doug Blasiman joined Omni Prepaid LLC as Chief Operations and Finance Officer. Omni credits Blasiman with launching the first anonymous, branded, prepaid open-loop gift card through banks, retail stores and check cashing locations. He also reportedly holds numerous prepaid patents.
Barclaycard hired Jim Wadsworth as Head of Strategic Product Management for Prepaid. Wadsworth is tasked with growing the company's prepaid card business in both the public and private sectors.
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