In a Feb. 20, 2012, corporate blog post, mobile payment venture Isis reported that a general purpose reloadable (GPR) prepaid card, as well as loyalty cards, will be included in its mobile wallet. The blog labels the GPR card as the "Isis Cash card."
The blog said the wallet will also provide users personalized offers, account details and purchase records. According to another Isis post, the combined reach of the three mobile telecommunication companies involved in the venture – AT&T, T-Mobile USA and Verizon Wireless – will give Isis access to over 200 million wireless phone subscribers, representing 75 percent of U.S. wireless phone users.
Gift card mall innovator and Safeway Inc. subsidiary Blackhawk Network said a jury in the United States District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin found that the Pleasanton, Calif.-based gift card distributor infringed on a patent owned by its rival, Atlanta-based prepaid card distributor InComm.
Blackhawk said the lawsuit, originally filed in October 2009 by Interactive Communications International Inc. (InComm) and its affiliated company e2Interactive Inc., related to eight lines of source code that were part of Blackhawk's gift card activation platform. Blackhawk said those lines of code were never used and have been removed from Blackhawk's platform.
In February 2012, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) clarified that, even if money services businesses (MSBs) are domiciled beyond U.S. borders, they still must comply with U.S. anti-money laundering (AML) regulations if they do business in the United States. FinCEN said its new definition of MSB, now including prepaid card providers under its Prepaid Access rule, recognizes that technology allows entities to conduct business from anywhere in the world and still reach the U.S. market.
The new MSB definition is contained in FinCEN's Final Rule published July 2011. The Final Rule, which updated the AML provisions of the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA), went into effect in September 2011, but FinCEN extended the compliance deadline to March 31, 2012, for some of the provisions.
Prepaid card producer and marketer Arroweye Solutions Inc. reported a record year for card production volume in 2011. Arroweye said its payment card business grew by over 40 percent in 2011 and it set a single-day shipment record of almost 100,000 cards in the fourth quarter of 2011.
Portland, Maine-based virtual gift card platform provider CashStar Inc. published a report that showed nearly 80 percent of retailers surveyed experienced growth in virtual gift card purchasing in 2011. The survey was based on feedback from over 250 retail brands in CashStar's network.
Louisville, Ky.-based prepaid card processor Ceridian Stored Value Solutions (SVS) was named to the International Association of Outsourcing Professionals' 2012 Global Outsourcing 100. It is the seventh year in a row SVS has been recognized by the IAOP, an association headquartered in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., and serving the $6 trillion global outsourcing industry.
At a popular nightclub in Mumbai, India, Itz Cash Card Ltd. celebrated the launch of the ItzGift network, which offers retail-branded closed-loop gift cards to Indian consumers. The cards are available online and via retail outlets in India.
The Members Group added instant issuance technology to its suite of prepaid card services. The Des Moines, Iowa-based ISO said the new addition will give banks and credit unions the ability to offer instant issue prepaid cards to financially underserved consumers.
Gibraltar-based program manager Transact Network Ltd., which operates over 100 prepaid card programs in Europe, won the inaugural 2012 Paybefore Awards Europe trophy in the Breakout Prepaid Company of the Year category.
TransCard LLC Chief Executive Officer Craig Fuller said prepaid card activations at the prepaid card program manager had risen 61 percent since the beginning of 2012. He attributed this to the company's adoption of a new business model that helps financial institutions offer prepaid products to commercial and retail banking customers.
Regulatory compliance consultancy Card Compliant LLC joined with IDology Inc. to leverage the identity verification provider's identity proofing solutions to meet FinCEN's new AML regulations that affect prepaid card businesses.
First California Financial Group Inc., the holding company of First California Bank, said its Electronic Payments Services division was awarded a five-year contract with Santa Barbara Tax Products Group LLC to provide the functionality behind the loading of tax refunds on prepaid cards for TPG customers.
Wireless telecommunication company France Telecom-Orange and Visa Inc. launched mobile prepaid services, such as person-to-person money transfers and bill payments, for Orange Money customers in Africa and the Middle East.
Building on a partnership that resulted in a prepaid wristwatch in 2011, MasterCard Worldwide and online alternative financial services firm Vincento Payment Solutions Ltd. embarked on a new collaboration to integrate MasterCard's PayPass Tap & Go near field communication technology into Vincento's Kalixa prepaid cards.
Orlando, Fla.-headquartered prepaid calling card provider NetOne International and Coquitlam, British Columbia-based Voice over Internet Protocol services firm PortaOne Inc. teamed to improve call quality and customer service.
Houston, Texas-based prepaid card company PreCash Inc. completed an agreement with Sprint Nextel's Sprint Prepaid Group, which operates both Boost Mobile and Virgin Mobile USA, to design a mobile bill payment application for prepaid wireless phone customers.
Alternative financial services company Tata Capital Ltd. and India-based online bank Axis Bank joined forces to roll out the Tata Travel Card. The companies said the Visa-branded card can be denominated in over nine different currencies and used at more than 26 million merchant outlets and 1.9 million ATMs worldwide.
Prepaid card program manager Trycera Financial Inc. joined with alternative credit reporting agency Education for Homes LLC to provide credit building services and budgeting tools to unbanked consumers seeking to become home owners.
Green Dot Corp. entered into a definitive agreement to acquire mobile technology firm Loopt Inc. Green Dot said the deal, expected to close by the end of first quarter 2012, will provide the prepaid card pioneer with the technology to develop its own mobile wallet.
MasterCard hired Steve Grigg to serve as president of the card brand's subsidiary, Access Prepaid Worldwide. Grigg was formerly Chief Information Officer at Travelex. MasterCard acquired Travelex's prepaid card program management branch in 2011 and renamed it Access Prepaid.
Chicago-based private-label payment solutions firm Ezic Inc. expanded its management team to grow its gateway service offerings to resellers and merchants. David Holman brings over 10 years of sales experience in the payments industry to his new position as Vice President, Sales. Information technology veteran Randy Bishop takes on the role of Software Engineer and will work on expanding Ezic's new product development initiatives. And Lisa Puchalski, Ezic's new Marketing Manager, graduated from Illinois State University with a bachelor of science degree in marketing.
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