The Green Sheet Online Edition
March 23, 2009 • Issue 09:03:02
Prepaid in brief
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Online gaming potential discussed
Atlanta-based prepaid card distributor InComm sponsored the InComm Partner Alliance in February 2009 to facilitate industry networking and strategic planning opportunities in the online gaming industry.
InComm said with nearly 200 percent growth in game card sales annually and a list of more than 60 top-tier gaming partners, the company is leveraging its expertise to emphasize the potential profitable relationships for merchants, vendors and processors within the $8 billion vertical market. InComm is also exploring monetizing the gaming space with retail prepaid cash cards and prepaid gaming currency cards, as well as in opportunities in the virtual goods arena.
Teen prepaid market hot
Mintel Comperemedia, a division of prepaid payment consultancy Mintel International Group Ltd. which monitors direct mail, e-mail and print advertising, observed that prepaid cards such as Visa Inc.'s Buxx or MasterCard Worldwide's Myplash are hot items to market to teens. These cards contain a fixed value, allowing parents to monitor spending. "Prepaid cards give teenagers a chance to learn fiscal responsibility without risk of debt or excessive fees," said Susan Menke, a Senior Finance Analyst at Mintel.
"Our research found that most teens are ready, willing and eager to learn more about managing their finances," she added. "Schools - and financial service companies - should equip teens with the financial skills they need for future success."
Phone company gets court backing
T-Mobile USA Inc. said it had obtained a final judgment and permanent injunction against two companies that made bulk purchases of T-Mobile's prepaid phones and accessories and then resold them. T-Mobile maintains the practice is harmful and misleading to consumers. The order was given by the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York.
The judgment permanently enjoins DK Wireless Inc. (doing business as Wireless Touch and Talk 2 Me), IA Communications Inc., and its principal, Ajay Mehta, from trafficking in T-Mobile prepaid wireless phones. T-Mobile was also awarded $5 million in damages.
Gift card network for little guys
In an effort to help small and mid-sized merchants who continue to do business without selling gift cards or promoting their companies online, Lakes Communication Services formed The Ultimate GiftCard Network. This program is designed to help merchants exploit gift cards' marketing potential and gain a more meaningful presence and greater footprint in the e-commerce space.
Springbok launches new program
Springbok Services Inc. unveiled a new, customized program which enables merchants to package branded prepaid cards inside greeting cards and personalize them with text and graphics tailored toward recipients.
Benefits of the Springbok Greeting Card include greater corporate branding opportunities, a positive impression among cardholders and improved return on investment due to lower costs incurred from working with multiple vendors.
Paper payroll checks - gone
Urban Trust Bank, which caters to a large underbanked population, is offering First Data Corp.'s Money Network payroll card and related prepaid products to Urban Trust's businesses and consumers.
First Data said, in lieu of paper checks, wages are deposited to payroll card accounts via direct deposit, and employees use them just like debit cards, but without the need for PIN numbers.
Travel card for New Zealand FI
Financial institution Westpac New Zealand Ltd. launched the Westpac Travel Card, a Visa-branded prepaid card that allows travelers to control their budgets by loading cards with preset amounts chosen by cardholders.
Westpac's card is not linked to any bank account, but PIN numbers are required to access funds and improve data security.
Global to shoulder Altair's burden
M2 Global Ltd., an online processing information technology company, formed a business relationship with Altair Technologies Ltd. to manage Altair's processing capabilities, including the operation of its data centers. This move will reportedly allow Altair to focus more resources on expanding its card product lines and strengthening its delivery and customer service departments.
Prepaid for GPS system
Risk management company Mando Brand Assurance Ltd. tapped corporate prepaid solutions provider Citi Prepaid Services to provide a customized prepaid card solution for TomTom International BV, the global positioning satellite company.
Companies advance concepts
South Dakota-based Meta Payment Systems teamed with reloadable prepaid debit solutions company NetSpend Corp. to offer the iAdvance Line of Credit to NetSpend cardholders. According to Meta, iAdvance offers consumers the opportunity to establish short-term, small-dollar lines of credit and have the money immediately loaded onto their NetSpend prepaid cards.
Payoneer goes with Guru
Payroll program manager Payoneer Inc. and Guru.com, an online marketplace that connects businesses with professional freelancers, banded together to provide freelancers the option of receiving job payments on reloadable Guru.com prepaid MasterCard cards.
Program advantages are said to include eliminating delays and administrative costs associated with traditional payment methods. Also, cardholders can spend or withdraw funds in their own currencies without the need for bank accounts.
PHT stakes claim with Visa
Medical payment processor Preferred Health Technology Inc. and Visa signed an agreement that makes Visa the preferred payment brand for PHT's A-Claim payment solution. The A-claim technology enables health care providers to verify insurance eligibility, adjudicate claims and accept credit, debit or prepaid cards for payment at the time of service, or authorize recurring payments. According to PHT, a unique component of A-Claim's system is Visa's AuthorizeFirst process, which allows patients and health care providers to agree on pre-authorized payments.
Church, sales directors added
Loyalty card marketer VIPGift.com, a subsidiary of VIP LLC, promoted Vicki Church to Vice President of U.S. Sales. Church has been with the VIPGift sales force since 2003. In her new role Church will oversee the company's sales activities.
Additionally, the company added three new sales directors: Scott Jacobs, Claire Dittrich and Sheryl Shewman.
O'Connor joins Coinstar's board
Coinstar Inc.'s board of directors appointed Daniel W. O'Connor as a new Independent Director, which fulfills Coinstar's 2008 commitment to add a shareholder representative to the board. O'Connor currently serves as the President and CEO of industry growth and transformational strategy consulting firm Retailnet Group. O'Connor will work with other board members to expand Coinstar's retail offerings.
New COO for Green Dot
Green Dot Corp. reported that Will Stowell joined the distributer as Chief Operating Officer. Sowell previously served as the Vice President of Prepaid Products at retail finance program provider GE Money.
Trusko to lead NBPCA
The Network Branded Prepaid Card Association, a nonprofit organization that supports the growth and success of those cards, introduced Kristen Trusko as its new President and Executive Director.
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