Google Inc. has made prepaid card functionality central to its mobile wallet pilot program for near field communication-enabled mobile contactless payments. On its website, the search engine giant said its mobile wallet will support the Google Prepaid Card and private-label gift cards offered by participating merchants, as well as Citibank's MasterCard Worldwide-branded credit card called the Citi Platinum Select MasterCard.
Google said the virtual Google Prepaid Card is an option for consumers who do not have a Citi MasterCard. Once consumers activate the Google Prepaid Card in Google Wallet, Google loads a courtesy amount of $10 onto the card. When consumers reload the virtual card, they pay no fees for at least until the end of 2011, Google noted.
Jim Tingey, President of First California Bank's Electronic Payment Services Division, said he welcomes regulation of the prepaid debit card industry. In a keynote address delivered June 2 at the 2011 American Payroll Association Annual Congress in Salt Lake City, Tingey said, "We believe increased regulation will help deliver a safe and sound product into the market and bring the prepaid debit card industry into the mainstream."
Following the Attorney General of Florida office's May 19, 2011, declaration that it had subpoenaed five prepaid card providers, charging them with possibly engaging in deceptive and unfair business practices, law firms have begun investigating the business practices of the prepaid card industry. Seattle-based Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro LLP said it is probing whether such practices are being employed by companies in states other than Florida. And New York-based Bronstein, Gewirtz & Grossman LLC is examining whether NetSpend Holdings Inc., in particular, violated federal securities laws.
Continental Prison Systems Inc., doing business as EZ Card and Kiosk, landed a 10-year contract with Rikers Island prison in New York City. The country's second largest prison, with a reported inmate population of 14,000, will implement kiosks that issue prepaid cards during the booking and inmate releasing processes.
According to rebate card program provider Parago Inc., corporate-funded rebates were estimated at over $8 billion returned to U.S. households in 2010. Parago said the typical U.S. household saves approximately $150 annually in rebates.
Prepaid card provider SelectCore Ltd. said its new patent-pending technology for its ReCash network will allow merchants nationwide to become ReCash agents with no capital or hardware investments necessary. Transactions can be processed using existing POS devices over a traditional debit payment network, the company added.
White-label reward program and gift card processor SparkBase said it closed on over $3 million in Series A funding led by the North Coast Angel Fund, the Ohio TechAngels, and Blue Olive Partners. The funding will be used to accelerate the development and deployment of SparkBase's technology platform and mobile innovations.
Through American Express Co.'s pact with Providence-based auto club AAA Southern New England, the card brand will deliver a co-branded reloadable prepaid membership card to over 2.8 million members in Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island. Upon renewal of annual memberships, AAA members will receive the cards and will be given the option of activating the prepaid card functionality.
E-commerce fraud management company CashRun inked a deal with paysafecard, a European prepaid card provider for e-commerce merchants. The partnership is designed to help e-merchants gain access to the unbanked and underbanked, which will result in an increase in website foot traffic and revenue, the companies said.
Atlanta-based InComm inked a deal with Don Quijote, Japan's largest discount store chain, for the distribution of prepaid cards in Japan. The discount retailer will use Incomm's POS activation technology, Fastcard, at all of its retail locations, Incomm said.
In a commentary, Ubika Research said an investment firm acquired a "significant interest" in Mint Technology Corp., a payroll processing and prepaid financial products and services provider that is rapidly growing with nearly 200,000 prepaid cards in circulation in the United Arab Emirates.
DirectCash Payments Inc., an ATM and prepaid card provider in Canada, appointed Brian Kathol as its Chief Financial Officer. Kathol brings to his new position over 25 years of experience in accounting, corporate finance, financial management and business analysis.
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