The office of Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum reached a settlement with Locus Communications Inc., a Florida-based provider of international prepaid calling cards. The settlement comes after Locus was sued for allegedly engaging in illegal marketing of its long distance prepaid calling cards. As part of the settlement, The Hispanic Institute, a nonprofit organization, which assisted McCollum's office in its investigation into prepaid calling card industry practices, will receive $105,000 from Locus. An investigation by the Attorney General's Economic Crimes Division determined Locus offered "unlimited" minutes which were not, in fact, unlimited.
Locus also reportedly rounded up calls to three-minute increments, failed to specifically disclose actual fees and surcharges, and, on at least one advertisement, marketed its product in Spanish but printed the fees and surcharges disclaimer in English. Locus is the 13th company to reach a settlement with the Florida attorney general over issues related to the prepaid calling card industry. The agreement requires the company to cease any potentially deceptive advertisements, provide 100 percent of the minutes advertised and submit to three years of auditing by the attorney general's office. Locus will also provide $35,000 per year for three years to The Hispanic Institute to support its investigative and monitoring efforts of the industry.
Card Activation Technologies Inc., owners of a patented POS technology for the activation and processing of gift, phone and other stored value card transactions, settled its lawsuit against Sears Holdings Corp, parent company of Kmart and Sears, Roebuck and Co. Terms of the settlement remain confidential.
Through its Give a Little campaign, ACE Cash Express Inc. donated $943,874 in December 2008 to the March of Dimes Foundation in support of programs to improve the health of newborns. The record-setting amount - more than a $400,000 increase over 2007 - was raised through donations made by ACE customers.
Altair Financial Services International Plc accepted the award for Best Technology at The Oscard's Awards 2008 held in Paris. An international jury awarded Altair for its reloadable Contactless Prepaid Watch, capable of supporting offline transaction authorizations. Altair stated the watch provides customers a "new and exciting way to pay." Additionally, the product is intended to offer merchants a new revenue opportunity, increased throughput and improved customer loyalty.
Global payment services company MoneyGram International expanded its ExpressPayment agent locations in the United States to 40,000 with the rollout of its payment services at 6,200 CVS Caremark Corp.'s pharmacies and 2,250 7-Eleven Inc. store locations.
Since 2006, MoneyGram has reportedly almost doubled its number of ExpressPayment locations, which include Wal-Mart Inc. and Albertsons stores, as well as U.S. Bank branches.
In December 2008, UniRush LLC reported its Visa Inc.-branded RushCard surpassed $2 billion in cardholder deposits. The RushCard is "instrumental in providing access to those services that hundreds of thousands of people may not otherwise have," said UniRush founder and rap music impresario Russell Simmons.
First United Bank branches throughout southeastern Oklahoma and northern Texas began delivering prepaid payroll card services to local unbanked and immigrant employees of the bank's commercial customers. First United is providing these services through Interactive Transaction Services, a processing subsidiary of Central National Bank of Enid.
Givex Corp. and Tickets.com embarked on a joint venture called Uptix, a program for storing additional value on event tickets. Givex is a provider of closed loop card technologies including gift, loyalty and other stored value programs. Tickets.com supplies ticketing programs for live events. Integrating Givex technology with Tickets.com's ticketing solutions, the Uptix solution allows tickets to be used for redemption at various POS locations, such as concessions and retail stands.
International Business Ventures Group Inc. completed an agreement with FirstView LLC to provide MasterCard Worldwide-branded prepaid cards to IBV's over 8,000 Home Pals customers and affiliates.
Mobile money provider Monitise Plc and National Westminster Bank Plc will roll out a commission-free, international, mobile phone payment transfer service for NatWest's banking customers in the U.K. The service allows Polish migrants working in the U.K. to send money via mobile phones back to individuals in Poland.
Rechargeplus Global Ltd., and eCommLink Inc. formed a global alliance to combine the companies' prepaid debit platforms with mobile and merchant applications to serve the needs of the growing international money transfer market. According to eCommLink, migrant workers send hundreds of billions of dollars to family and friends residing in home countries. Since many places around the world often have little to no banking and technology infrastructures, the Rechargeplus card program - with payments processed by eCommLink - will utilize mobile phones and prepaid debit cards as the payment infrastructure to transfer money across borders.
FNDS3000 Corp. selected Raymond Goldsmith as Chairman of the Board of Directors. Goldsmith will assist CEO John Hancock and the management team on corporate positioning strategies to grow the company and increase shareholder value.
Fleet One LLC, a provider of fuel card programs and fleet-related payment solutions to businesses and government agencies, welcomed Brian McLarty, Patrick Eakins and Ashli Leonardo to Fleet One's sales team. Previously, McLarty was Territory Sales Manager for Colloid Environmental Technologies Co. in Indian Shores, Fla.; Eakins was the Regional Sales Manager for Comdata Corp. in its Factoring Division; and Leonardo was the Regional Sales Manager for Pegasus TransTech Corp.
Processor i2c Inc. named Carlos Pittier to the position of Director, Client Account Relationship Management. With more than 15 years of experience in Latin American and U.S. financial services industries, Pittier will be responsible for leading and managing i2c's relationships with strategic U.S. clients and all clients in Latin American countries.
Prepaid card distributor InComm hired Robert Skiba as Executive Vice President and General Manager of Stored Value, Financial Services and Loyalty Programs. Skiba will lead InComm's global strategy and development initiative.
Euronet Worldwide Inc. tapped Tony Westlake as CEO of its prepaid segment and named Nicholas L.A. Kennett as successor to Westlake's vacated position as Managing Director of e-pay Ltd., Euronet's prepaid subsidiary in the U.K. As CEO, Westlake will assume responsibility for the operational activities of Euronet's global prepaid operations. As the new Managing Director of e-pay U.K., Kennett will be responsible for managing the growth and profitability of e-pay U.K. prepaid operations while continuing to expand its technical and product portfolio.
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