Google Inc. reported on its corporate blog that it is ending its Google Prepaid Card experiment on Oct. 17, 2012. The search engine giant said it is discontinuing the card because it recently moved Google Wallet to the cloud to allow users to store any credit or debit card in the wallet.
The prepaid card was a component of the initial Google Wallet strategy heralded in May 2011 and rolled out that September. But as of Sept. 17, 2012, cardholders will no longer be able to add funds to the Google Prepaid Card. One month later, the card will disappear from the mobile wallet application.
In related news, Green Dot Corp. became one of the first card issuers to have a place on Google's new cloud-based mobile wallet. As part of opening Google Wallet to all card issuers by moving the service to the cloud, Green Dot was cited by Google as among the first issuers to provide card art for the new wallet.
Prolexic Technologies, a distributed denial of service (DDoS) protection and mitigation firm, reported it mitigated several DDoS attacks against Entropay, a provider of virtual, Visa Inc.-branded prepaid card accounts in Europe. Prolexic said the increasing popularity of the Entropay online platform resulted in it becoming a target for DDoS attacks.
Ixaris Systems Ltd.-owned EntroPay engaged Prolexic for DDoS detection and protection. "With this service, DDoS attacks are detected by monitoring on-premise equipment," Prolexic said, adding its cloud-based service routs the network traffic from DDoS attack victims to Prolexic's DDoS mitigation infrastructure.
Almost 65 percent of parents are concerned about the money management skills of their college-aged children, according to a MasterCard Worldwide survey. The report also said that two out of every five parents believe their children will run out of money in the first month of college. Those statistics bolster the conclusion reached by the MasterCard Student Transition survey that debit and prepaid cards help ease parents' fears that their children will go into debt as freshmen at college.
BillMyParents Inc., the teen payment solutions brand of Socialwise Inc., and autism science and advocacy organization Autism Speaks collaborated to promote financial education and independence for autistic teenagers and their families through the MasterCard-branded BMP SpendSmart prepaid card.
Contact Solutions LLC, a provider of cloud-based customer self-service solutions, joined the Network Branded Prepaid Card Association. "The NBPCA is pleased to welcome Contact Solutions, a company committed to helping continuously improve that customer experience for millions of prepaid cardholders," said NBPCA President and Executive Director Kirsten Trusko.
Social network services provider ēdo Interactive scored $15 million in Series C financing from VantagePoint Capital Partners, Robert W. Baird & Co. Inc.'s Baird Venture Partners and other investors. Nashville, Tenn.-based ēdo said it will use the funds to accelerate adoption of its Prewards platform.
Addison, Texas-based ISO Encore Payment Systems is encouraging small to midsize businesses to stock up on gift cards for the holiday shopping season. By offering merchant-specific gift cards, merchants can expect a "hike in revenue and customer loyalty," Encore said.
Emeryville, Calif.-based Marqeta Inc. launched its online-to-offline (O2O) payments platform. Marqeta said the platform aggregates each consumer's deal vouchers, rewards and gift cards on one physical payment card that can be used at the POS; merchants incentivize cardholders to shop at their stores by loading extra funds onto the cards.
London-based e-commerce platform provider Payza said its Bangladesh operation has experienced "unprecedented growth" in the number of international remittances flowing into the developing South Asian nation. In recognition of Payza's success, the country's central bank, Bangladesh Bank, raised international money transfer receiving limits from $500 to $2,500 per transaction, according to Payza.
At FinovateFall 2012, held Sept. 12 and 13, 2012, in New York City, PreCash Inc. demonstrated FlipMoney, called the first "viable" mobile wallet app for the underbanked. FlipMoney combines mobile remote deposit capture with bill payments. A physical, network-branded prepaid card is part of the service.
UniRush LLC-owned RushCard debuted its first Spanish-language television commercial featuring the Dynasty Prepaid Visa RushCard and all-star baseball player Alex Rodriguez. In the commercial, Rodriguez ties the recollection of his hard-working Latina mother to the advantages of the Dynasty card.
Contactless payment technology developer DeviceFidelity Inc. teamed with European acquirer Vincento Payment Solutions Ltd. and MasterCard to roll out moneto in the U.K. market. The moneto mobile wallet app allows smart-phone users to link bank accounts or credit cards to fund moneto prepaid accounts that are used to pay for goods and services at the physical POS.
Employee health, wellness and rewards program manager InteliSpend Prepaid Solutions LLC tapped business intelligence (BI) technology support and training company Instant Access to improve InteliSpend's operational efficiency. Instant Access, owned by WCI Consulting, uses BI software provided by SAP to manage InteliSpend's internal analytics, business opportunities, profitability and cardholder data. InteliSpend is an independently run company under the Maritz Inc. umbrella.
Vienna, Austria-based paysafecard group teamed with food, drink and retail product distributor Agrokor Group to enter the Croatian market with a PIN-based prepaid voucher service. Through the partnership, paysafecard vouchers are available at 1,500 Tisak kiosks across the Central European country.
Via its partnership with The Western Union Co., MasterCard expanded its rePower reload network by 45,000 Western Union agent locations in the United States. With the addition of Western Union's network, MasterCard boasts the largest open-loop reload network in the United States, with over 100,000 locations.
Think Finance, a developer of next-generation financial products for the financially underserved, welcomed Robert L. Johnson to its board of directors. Johnson is the founder and chairman of The RLJ Companies, including RLJ Financial which markets alternative financial solutions to underserved consumer and business communities. Johnson founded the Black Entertainment Network.
Concurrently, Kathy Boden Holland, formerly President of RLJ Financial, joined Think Finance as Executive Vice President of Corporate Development.
Navtej Singh, Head of Direct Payment Products at HDFC Bank, became Chairman of the Prepaid International Forum's India chapter. Singh succeeds Kusal Roy, Head of Cards & Personal Loans at ICICI Bank, whose annual term ended. Singh's appointment coincides with the election of the PIF's new executive committee:
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