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The Center for Financial Services Innovation, a financial services consultancy for the underbanked community, said four new organizations - Green Dot Corp., Meta Payment Systems, LexisNexis Risk and Information Analytics Group Inc. and NetSpend Corp. - joined its Innovators and Responsible Credit Round-tables meeting.
The meeting, held on Apr. 29, 2009, in Chicago, focused on the impact the current economy has on consumers.
They explored emerging opportunities around financial savings products; learned how companies use "alternative data" for account management and risk mitigation; discussed prepaid card strategies; and exchanged perspectives.
A study by financial market research consultancy Taylor Nelson Sofres, a subsidiary of Kantar Group Co., and MasterCard Europe found that prepaid card usage in Europe is part of the most significant shift in spending behavior since World War II.
"There has been a seismic shift in the way consumers of today are making their spending and saving decisions," said Javier Perez, President of Master Card Europe.
"The new consumer research findings also demonstrate yet again the opportunity and growth potential for prepaid and debit cards, given that 360 billion transactions a year in Europe are still made in cash."
Emirates NBD, the largest banking group in the Middle East, collaborated with MasterCard Worldwide to launch the Middle East's first wrist watch equipped with a MasterCard PayPass contactless payment feature. The watch is being issued as a supplementary device to MasterCard credit cards.
Stored-value and prepaid debit card company FSV Payment Systems Inc. successfully integrated its PaycheckPLUS! Payroll Card reloading capability with Western Union Co. outlets. With PaycheckPLUS!, consumers can receive their pay through direct deposit instead of receiving paper checks. Funds can be added to the payroll card at any Western Union location.
Payment solutions firm Giesecke and Devrient GmbH presented the first functioning prototype of its new Instant Issuance Kiosk for payment cards at the Visa Europe Member Days in Berlin. The kiosk is a self-service machine that dispenses prepaid, debit and contactless cards to be used at brick-and-mortar and online retailers.
Gulf Oil LP selected SVX Prepaid as their preferred supplier of prepaid solutions for its 1,400 gasoline retail centers in the Gulf-branded network. SVX will offer its full line of services, including prepaid wireless cards from national, regional and international carriers, stored-value debit cards, prepaid MasterCard, Visa Inc. and Discover Financial Services programs, long-distance phone cards, and custom-branded gift cards and cell phones.
ICC Worldwide Inc. now offers a fee-based commercial service to third-party clients wishing to sell prepaid calling cards and mobile phone recharge products in the European telecommunications market.
The service uses ICC's Web-based software products and its network for delivery. Rich Lauer, ICC's President and CEO, said that the company's service, when offered on a transaction basis, can be a significant revenue source.
IDT Corp., a multinational holding company specializing in the telecommunications and energy industries, was selected by Friendster, the top social networking Web site in Asia, to launch The Friendster Loop, a prepaid calling card designed for the site's member community. The Friendster Loop card is available in the United States, the U.K., Canada, the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore.
Online entertainment company KingsIsle Entertain-ment Inc. introduced a gift card program for the online game Wizard101, which reportedly has surpassed two million registered users. Wizard101 gift cards are available in $10 increments at all 7-Eleven Inc. stores nationwide.
Mobile payment solutions provider Obopay Inc. launched the Obopay Family Account that allows parents to send money to family members using mobile devices. The prepaid MasterCard-branded card, issued by Bancorp Bank, is designed for teenagers to make payments in-person, online or by phone with any merchant that accepts MasterCard debit cards.
Prepaid card solutions firm Springbok Services Inc. introduced Springbok EZspend, which enables clients to e-mail prepaid rewards and incentives directly to recipients with none of the delays inherent in card-based accounts. EZspend programs can be customized with a company's name, colors, graphics and logos. In addition, account holder Web sites can be configured to drive online traffic to merchants' Web sites.
Smart grid technology company BPL Global Ltd. teamed up with prepaid payment processor Exceleron Software Inc. to comarket Exceleron's software-based Prepaid Account Management System worldwide. PAMS provides new prepaid options for utility companies to reach consumers. PAMS reportedly reduces energy consumption and improves operating productivity by integrating with a utility company's metering, customer service and payment systems.
Music company EMI Group Ltd. partnered with Myplash, a Visa prepaid card program, to offer artist-themed cards to consumers coupled with an awards program through which cardholders can redeem points for artist merchandise as well as discounted downloads and special promotions.
The card provides access to online transactions that have previously been difficult for teenagers who do not carry credit cards. It is available in Safeway Inc. stores nationwide.
Prepaid processor and POS solutions company InComm signed an agreement with Ndoors Interactive Inc. to process its online gaming transactions. Ndoors is the tenth gaming partner InComm has signed within the past two months. With revenues from online games expected to exceed $11.5 billion by 2011, InComm plans to continue monetizing the gaming space with retail prepaid cash cards and prepaid gaming currency cards.
Payment services provider MoneyGram International and underbanked services specialist NetSpend Corp. collaborated to increase transaction volume in MoneyGram's U.S. locations. Through this relationship, NetSpend prepaid debit cardholders can load their cards in a real-time, single-step transaction at any one of the 40,000 MoneyGram ExpressPayment locations nationwide.
Union Bank of Nigeria PLC formed an alliance with Travelex Global Financial Services to issue the Travelex Cash Passport Prepaid Visa International Currency Card. The deal will enable Nigerians to pay for travel with a convenient and secure payment card.
Payment solutions provider Comdata Corp. promoted Joseph B. Daly to Executive Vice President and General Manager, Enterprise Solutions. Daly is responsible for sales and operations for Comdata's health care, merchant and prepaid solutions.
Prepaid solutions firm VIPGift LLC welcomed Gavin Delany as its new Vice President of Marketing. Delany, an industry veteran in the loyalty marketing and travel industries, will work with company President Richard Char to expand VIPGift's business development, product management and growth strategies.
ATM, prepaid and debit solutions provider DirectCash Income Fund tapped Henrik J. Lombard to be the company's new Chief Financial Officer for its subsidiary DirectCash Management Inc. and DirectCash's other divisions and holdings.
Prepaid debit card solutions provider TransCard LLC hired Candy Whitley as Senior Vice President of Retail and Government Sales to help grow the company's geographic, market segment and vertical market footprints.
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