An online lost-asset investigation and recovery firm believes it is only a matter of time until every U.S. state passes legislation that allows state governments to collect funds from unused gift cards. Retailers will ultimately lose, as they will no longer be able to claim unused gift card balances as profit, but consumers will be the ultimate winners, as they will be able to collect those balances from the states, according to UnclaimedMoneyDiscovery.com.
The firm said an estimated $100 billion in unclaimed property is being held by the states. Gift card "breakage," which represents between 12 percent to 15 percent of the $65 billion total loaded onto gift cards annually, will make the unused gift card balance segment the largest in states' unclaimed property coffers, the firm noted.
Security technology company Gemalto NV collaborated with the Raiffeisen Banking Group Austria on what they call the world's first bio-sourced payment card. The prepaid card issued by Raiffeisen Bank is Visa Inc.-branded, near field communication- (NFC) enabled and Europay/MasterCard/Visa-compliant. The body of the card is composed of renewable material derived from corn.
The card is part of Gemalto's Clarista line of payment cards and comes in packaging that is also recyclable. Gemalto said the card's corn-based material is "recyclable and compostable through small-scale industrial units, and reduces the global ecological footprint of the production process."
A mass transit open payment pilot on the East Coast ended Oct. 20, 2012. Cubic Transportation Systems Inc., developer of the PATCO Wave & Pay Anywhere Visa Prepaid Card, said October 20 was the last day commuters were able to use the Wave & Pay card, other NFC-enabled contactless bankcards, or virtual cards via mobile wallets, to pay for parking at Port Authority Transit Corp. terminals and for fares on its high-speed rail line that runs between Southern New Jersey and Philadelphia.
Cubic officials said the pilot provided technical information on how to successfully deploy and operate future contactless transit payment systems, including data that suggests mass transit riders will use the same media for general spending as they do to pay for fares.
Doylestown, Pa.-based campus card provider and program manager CardSmith integrated campus card programs for Gateway Technical College campuses in Kenosha, Racine and Elkhorn, Wisc., and at technology centers in surrounding areas. The GatewayOneCard gives over 20,000 students access to services such as cashless printing/=m copying and dining.
The Center for Financial Services Innovation went live with the Financial Capability Institute website (www.financial-capability.org). FCI's website is an interactive, educational online portal designed to help nonprofit organizations integrate alternative financial products into service offerings.
In the third quarter of 2012, cloud-based customer self-service provider Contact Solutions LLC recorded its largest call volume and cardholder usage of its automated interactive voice response (IVR) solution. The firm said the addition of over 40 new IVR installations in the quarter contributed to its overall growth.
Prepaid card manufacturer CPI Card Group joined the Smart Card Alliance's EMV Migration Forum. CPI, a member of the Smart Card Alliance for over five years, has contributed to the alliance via education programs and market research.
Digital Life Technologies said its GoNow eWallet card will accelerate adoption of mobile wallets in the U.S. marketplace. The card is a reprogrammable mag stripe card that receives commands from e-wallets via near field communication technology resident on mobile phones. The card will be white-labeled and allow merchants to launch personalized, branded e-wallets. The card program is currently in two pilots, according to DLT.
Prepaid card distributor and Safeway Inc. subsidiary Blackhawk Network said its President of International, Dan Dmochowski, won the 2012 Executive of the Year Silver Stevie Award in the financial services category. Blackhawk noted that Dmochowski's leadership led directly to the company's global expansion.
E-gift card provider Giftango Corp. took home the Leading Prepaid Organisation, North America award at the 2012 Prepaid Awards ceremony held in London, Oct. 11, 2012. The recognition has spurred the company to continue to innovate in the digital gifting realm, said Giftango CEO David Nelsen.
London-based e-commerce platform and prepaid card provider Payza engaged security and compliance firm Trustwave for its security socket layer (SSL) certificates and online identities management. Payza said Trustwave's SSL Control Center 2.0 upgrades Payza's current SSL validation with powerful industry-leading tools and functionality to make its certificate management more efficient and cost-effective.
A well-known but unnamed Fortune 50 company that specializes in printing solutions chose Transaction Wireless for an e-gift card solution. The digital gifting company offers solutions for retail brands that include Groupon Inc., Lands' End, Overstock.com and Domino's Pizza.
Wal-Mart Stores Inc. unveiled Rapid Reload, a new service that combines the reload networks of Green Dot Corp., InComm and First Data Corp. The big-box retailer said Rapid Reload is available at over 3,800 Wal-Mart stores nationwide, where customers can add money to their general purpose reloadable (GPR) cards for a $3.74 fee per transaction.
The Western Union Co. inked a deal with fred's inc. to offer three Western Union-branded GPR cards via 645 of the discount retailer's stores in 15 states. The cards available are the MoneyWise, Gold Card and Telemundo co-branded cards. The cards are processed over MasterCard Worldwide's network, and cardholders can reload cards at any of 45,000 Western Union agent locations in the United States, or at any fred's Super Dollar locations, through direct deposit and money transfers.
Blackhawk tapped mFoundry Inc. to enable the distribution of gift cards via mFoundry's Fin X mobile payment platform. Smart-phone users whose financial institutions have deployed Fin.X can browse and buy gift cards electronically from any of the retail brands distributed by Blackhawk.
Vancouver, British Columbia-based online and mobile platform provider hyperWallet Systems Inc. tapped Iceland-based merchant acquirer Valitor to expand hyperWallet's footprint in Europe. HyperWallet selected Valitor because of its cross-border payments capabilities and ability to localize solutions by country.
Via its subsidiary Ingenico Prepaid Services, POS terminal manufacturer Ingenico SA collaborated with mobile prepaid telecommunication provider Orange to enable mobile phone customers to allow the contactless top-up of phone accounts at POS terminals.
Payment technology provider Yalamanchili International reported that Singaporean prepaid card giant EZ-Link Pte Ltd Co. will use Yalamanchili's platform to process payments for the contactless M1 Prepaid MasterCard. The card is co-branded by EZ-Link, MasterCard Worldwide and telecommunications firm M1 Ltd.
InComm acquired processor On-Line Strategies Inc. InComm said one reason for the purchase was OLS' ability to integrate its processes with legacy systems. OLS will operate as a wholly owned subsidiary of InComm.
Ramki Yalamanchili, founder and Chief Executive Officer of Yalamanchili, was named to the Prepaid International Forum's board of directors. The PIF said Yalamanchili brings to the association new perspectives and insight informed by his experience working in numerous prepaid markets around the world.
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