The U.S. Federal Reserve Board released the final rules to restrict the fees and expiration dates on certain types of gift cards. The rules, which amend Regulation E to implement the gift card provisions of the Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility and Disclosure Act of 2009, are designed "to protect consumers from certain unexpected costs and require that gift card terms and conditions be clearly stated," the Fed said.
The final rule:
Click here for more information about the Final Gift Card Rule.
The Canadian division of financial consultancy Deloitte & Touche LLP lists prepaid cards as one of the biggest trends affecting the Canadian payments industry. Prepaid cards will be increasingly used for recurring payments, according to the Deloitte report entitled Charting a new course for the credit card industry.
"The pay ahead payment concept of prepaid cards (as opposed to the pay later concept of credit cards) is on the rise as a way to distribute rewards or benefits to particular classes of consumers, and especially as a way of delivering government payments to individuals," Deloitte said.
Prepaid cards, along with mobile payments, transactions accomplished through social networking sites and other emerging payment vehicles, will usher in a "new generation of card and payment services – many of which will directly benefit Canadian consumers," said Pat Daley, Leader of the Deloitte Canada's Corporate Strategy Consulting and Payments Practice.
Card Activation Technologies Inc. filed a lawsuit against 10 large retailers, including Nordstrom Inc., Blockbuster Inc, and Macy's Inc., claiming the companies infringed on CAT's patented POS technology for the activation and processing of prepaid card transactions, such as for gift, phone and other stored-value cards.
Continental Prison Systems Inc., doing business as EZ Card & Kiosk, reported the completed installation of and training for EZ Technology products and services at the Ingham County, Mich., jail. Two kiosks were deployed at the facility – one that assists jail staff in receiving the cash and coins from inmates being booked into jail, and the other for friends and family to load money onto inmates' accounts.
Currencies Direct Ltd. released the MasterCard Worldwide-branded Euro MasterCard. The card, developed by Currencies Direct and payment processor CorporatePay Ltd., is issued by Newcastle Building Society and is accepted at retail establishments and ATM locations within the Eurozone.
Ignacio Hernandez, Managing Director of Currencies Direct, said that, as a travel card, "it not only provides great value for money but makes an important contribution to our core customer pledge – to provide money without frontiers."
GPP card processor eCommLink Inc. released the eCommLink Market Ready program to enable companies to sell and distribute their own prepaid cards. Many companies may have large clienteles or retail footprints but lack the means to act as card program managers, according to Vicente Mota, Senior Vice President of Sales at eCommLink.
"The eCommLink Market Ready program is designed to enable these companies to quickly enter the prepaid market by combining their sales and distribution expertise with our own proven knowledge of the prepaid debit space," he said.
Through its Campus Solutions division, Heartland Payment Systems Inc. rolled out Acceluraid – what the processor called the first electronic aid distribution platform to be integrated into a campus card system. With Acceluraid, Heartland's campus identification card, the OneCard, allows students electronic access to financial aid funds.
ISO and network-branded prepaid card provider iCARD Systems reported that it now offers over 150 merchant-specific gift cards and accepts corporate orders of bulk gift cards through its website.
Central National Bank subsidiary Interactive Transaction Services Inc. now processes financial aid refunds for North Central Missouri College students. CNB issues the cards that that run on Heartland's OneCard platform.
Money transfer specialist MoneyGram International reported that it expanded its agent network in Vietnam by 30 percent, introduced MoneyGram services into 930 Chinese banks and extended its services nationally by 40,000 new outlets.
PreCash Inc. introduced Billocity, a bill pay delivery service that uses virtual card accounts to facilitate payments online and over the phone. Billocity's patent-pending process offers payment for billers in the insurance, utilities, cable and satellite, wireless, and local phone industries, PreCash said.
Qatar Islamic Bank (QIB) introduced the QIB Hadiyati Visa Prepaid card. QIB said it is the first Islamic financial institution to offer a Visa Inc.-branded prepaid card that is compliant with Sharia, the Islamic law code practiced by Muslims.
"This new product fulfills a need of a large number of our customers and answers the demands of the growing Qatar market, keeping stride with the evolution of the way in which people do business," said Ahmad Mashari, General Manager, Business Domestic Group at QIB.
Mobile payment company RegaloCard said Almacenes Siman, a department store chain in Central America, joined the RegaloCard mobile payment network. With store locations in El Salvador, Guatemala, Nicaragua and Costa Rica, RegaloCard called the addition ideal because the RegaloCard mobile payment network allows Central Americans living in the United States to send money home.
The Smart Card Alliance Healthcare Council released a brief that calls for two-factor authentication with smart card technology to protect the identities and information of health care consumers.
The brief, entitled Medical Identity Theft in Healthcare, describes how two-factor authentication with smart card technology can allow patients and providers to securely access personal health information.
Euronet Worldwide Inc.'s software division Euronet USA and fraud management firm Plus Technologies & Innovations Inc. partnered to market each other's products. Euronet's customers get Plus Technologies' real-time payment processing fraud prevention and anti-money laundering compliance solutions; Plus Technologies' benefits from Euronet's payment hub solutions platform.
MasterCard allied with next-generation e-commerce company Next Jump Inc. to start a website called MasterCard MarketPlace, which offers MasterCard cardholders merchant-funded discounts and special benefits from a network of thousands of U.S. merchants.
TenderCard partnered with Giftango to offer virtual gift cards via email and mobile phone. "Giftango's solution allows us to extend the TenderCard platform into mobile and email delivery immediately and at a price point that makes sense for our clients," said Aaron Sorgman, CEO of TenderCard.
Bar code and mobile banking firm Veritec Inc. signed an agreement with female-owned, New York City-based processor PreVay to market the Visa blinx On-Off card that enables employers to pay unbanked and underbanked employees electronically. The cards also offer mobile phone money transfers.
E-commerce and mobile payment technology company ViVOtech Inc. said its loyalty, coupon, and prepaid software platform, as well as its ViVOpay 8000 series consumer payment devices, will support the membership card aggregator and storefront service of mobile payment provider Taggo Pte. Ltd.
To reduce payment settlement uncertainty and operational risk, foreign exchange and international payment specialist Travelex acquired Inetco Insight from business transaction manager Inetco Systems Ltd.
Travelex reported that it is experiencing exponential growth in its payment processing business, necessitating its need for a service to manage Travelex's processing, meet Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard compliance, and establish "realistic" service level agreements with client banks and large merchant customers.
FSV Payment Systems Inc. tapped George Coutros for the position of Chief Operating Officer. Coutros will manage FSV's overall operation and help shape the company's strategic direction. Coutros has over 20 years in the financial services sector as a senior executive with companies such as Bank of America Corp. and Equifax Inc.
Stored-value card provider ProfitPoint Inc. appointed Ward Schultz as its new COO and Chief Financial Officer. Schultz, named the 2008 Philadelphia Business Journal's CFO of the Year, served as Citi Prepaid Services' CFO and was CFO at Ecount when it was acquired by Citi in early 2007.
At ProfitPoint, Schultz will run the day-to-day operations, including finance and, in time, the technology aspects of the business as well, ProfitPoint said.
Mark D. Wingate joined FirstView LLC as COO, Card Services Division. Wingate will assume overall responsibility for FirstView's card business. He was formerly Senior Vice President, Worldwide Sales and Marketing at Certegy Inc. www.ezcardandkiosk.com/
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