The Green Sheet Online Edition
August 10, 2009 • Issue 09:08:01
Prepaid in brief
Wire transfer remittance attractive
According to a survey by the Association for Financial Professionals, 95 percent of 331 financial services professionals said remittance information in wire transfers would be valuable to their organizations. According to the AFP, companies do not receive sufficient information on wire transfers to post the payments to the correct amounts without manual intervention.
While 91 percent of wire transfer recipients - the main beneficiaries of remittance information - indicated they would use the new data to receive and post incoming wires, 61 percent said they would include remittance information in outgoing wires, the survey said.
Holiday buying trends for 2009
In a report entitled Gift Card Buying Trends: Shopper Intentions and Purchaser Behaviors 2009, Dublin, Ireland-based Research and Markets stated that gift card purchases continue to increase even in the face of the economic downturn. The report explores who buys gift cards, when, where, why and how.
It compares shoppers' intentions pre-holiday 2008 with their holiday gift card purchase behaviors to determine what was actually spent, the types of cards bought, and the occasions when gift cards were given and received, as well as to predict what may be in store for the 2009 holiday shopping season.
Visa glitch charges cardholders quadrillions
According to Visa Inc., a programming error at Visa Debit Processing Services in July 2009, resulted in inaccurate charges being posted to some Visa prepaid card accounts. As reported on CNN.com, certain users of the prepaid cards discovered a $23 quadrillion charge on their statements.
"The technical glitch, which impacted fewer than 13,000 Visa prepaid transactions, has been corrected, and erroneous postings have been removed," Visa said. "Importantly, this incident had no financial impact
on Visa prepaid cardholders." Visa added that it has taken the necessary steps "to ensure this error doesn't occur again."
InComm adds patent
Prepaid processor and POS solutions provider InComm received notice in July 2009 from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office that the company's patent for the System and Method for Authorizing Stored Value Card Transactions was issued. This latest patent protects a computer-implemented method for POS activation, deactivation and redemption of prepaid or stored-value cards via POS terminals.
iKobo assists in global payouts
iKobo Money Transfer, a product of processing technology manufacturer M2 Global Ltd., introduced the iKobo for Business, a new mass payment service designed for small and medium- sized businesses. The payment service offers U.S. companies a way to distribute funds globally, including commissions, payouts, incentives and rewards, to multiple affiliates on a recurring basis using iKobo Visa Inc. prepaid debit cards.
MoneyGram expands services in Canada
Money transfer specialist MoneyGram International will offer its services to thousands of additional Canada Post Office locations by the end of 2009. In addition to network expansion, MoneyGram will introduce its MoneyGram Rewards customer loyalty program in Canada, which offers fee discounts and form-free money transfers.
PaySpot unveils new brand
PaySpot Inc., a subsidiary of Euronet Worldwide Inc., unveiled a new, worldwide brand under the name epay. The epay division is a payment and cash collection network and electronic mobile top-up transactions processor. Epay offers a portfolio including top-up or recharge services for prepaid mobile airtime, prepaid debit cards and e-wallets, bill payment services, road tolls, and money transfer and gift card marketing and distribution.
Fly Away without cash
Starting Aug. 1, 2009, Calif.-based shuttle company Van Nuys Fly Away will accept only credit and debit cards for bus ticket purchases. Passengers can swipe-and-ride to Los Angeles International Airport with their Visa, MasterCard Worldwide, American Express Co. credit and debit cards. Discover Financial Services cards will not be accepted. The switch to cashless is expected to save the company approximately $220,000 annually.
Veritec registered as third-party Visa processor
Mobile banking prepaid card solutions developer Veritec Inc. was registered by Fresno-based Security First Bank in Visa's Third Party Registration Program. Veritec is now a registered ISO, allowing the company to promote and sell Visa-branded card programs, as well as provide back-end processing services for programs on behalf of Security First.
VIPGift a valuable CAST member
Prepaid solutions and consumer incentive program provider VIPGift LLC launched its Customer Acquisition Sales Tool, an administrative software application that enables merchant level salespeople to "close the deal" with indecisive customers, while allowing managers to adjust promotional incentive terms and rules. As a result, companies can maximize their customer acquisition and selling opportunities and minimize overall sales costs.
UniverCity Online HYPEs itself
HYPE UniverCity Online partnered with Visa to offer the Prepaid Visa Rush reloadable debit card to its members. The interest bearing HYPE Rewards Scholarship Account also gives instant cash-back rewards to help parents and students save money for college every time they make purchases at the HYPE Web site. Cardholders can also send and receive money in real time on HYPE UniverCity.
JPMorgan, WSEA extend EBT alliance
JPMorgan Chase & Co. renewed its 13-year agreement with the Western States Electronic Benefits Transfer Alliance (WSEA) to distribute benefit payments via electronic benefits transfer (EBT), direct deposit and prepaid cards. Through its continued partnership with JPMorgan, WSEA can supply "needy" families with convenient, safe and easy-to-use EBT and debit cards that allow recipients to access their benefits and payment programs.
MoneyGram expands Thai footprint
MoneyGram formed an alliance with CIMB Thai Bank Public Co. Ltd. and will offer its money transfer services at nearly 150 CIMB Thai bank branches. The addition of CIMB Thai increases MoneyGram's footprint in Bangkok, Thailand, by nearly 20 percent. According to the World Bank, an estimated $1.8 billion was sent to Thailand in 2008 by the increasing number of Thai people studying, traveling and working abroad.
O2, NatWest help those on tight budgets
Mobile services provider Telefónica O2 UK Ltd. partnered with retail bank NatWest to introduce O2 Money cash cards and "fee-free" Visa prepaid cards Cash Manager and Load & Go. The cards are designed to help consumers manage their budgets by sending real-time balance updates to the cardholders' mobile phone.
Multichannel payments expedited
Multichannel bill payment processor TIO Networks Corp. teamed with marketing firm Budget PrePay Inc. to process TIO bill payments at more than 5,000 of TIO locations in 45 states. Budget will leverage TIO's transaction bill payment automated programming interface to gain access to TIO's processing entities, which include wireless, utility and cable bill issuers.
Kids get home safe with Taxi on Demand
TransCard LLC deployed a prepaid transportation card program with Chattanooga, Tenn.-based prepaid card provider Taxi on Demand. TOD cards are issued in denominations of $35, $50, $100 and $200, which provides cardholders with taxi-specific services anywhere, anytime in the United States.
UKash, epay sign global deal
Online payment specialist Ukash signed a deal with epay, a division of Euronet Worldwide, to distribute UKash vouchers across the epay retailer network in Australia and Europe. The deal reportedly means Ukash and its holding company Smart Voucher Ltd. are accessible for either direct-to-consumer or "white-label" solutions (a product or service produced by one company that other companies rebrand) on six continents.
3-D gift card introduced
Versatile Card Technology, a U.S.-based manufacturer of payment cards, and Stored Value Solutions launched the TerrainCard. Versatile said the new card construction - a "multilevel" card front and a flat back - opens up opportunities for designers to add a degree of perspective and dimension to card designs that were previously not possible. Designs can include one or more raised levels with beveled or sloped edges.
Alliance expands European NFC, contactless technology
Dublin, Ireland-based mobile prepaid, gift card and loyalty solutions provider Zapa Technology selected payment software solutions firm Postilion, and S1 Corp., to provide the payment platform for its European card processing services. Zapa will make use of contactless and near field communication technologies to drive customer acquisitions, including its Zapa TAG, an NFC sticker on a mobile phone that collects loyalty points or holds stored value.
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