The Green Sheet Online Edition
July 26, 2010 • Issue 10:07:02
Prepaid in brief
Springbok files for bankruptcy
Prepaid card processor and program manager Springbok Services Inc. filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on June 18, 2010. A phone recording left at company headquarters in Englewood, Colo., said Springbok's change in fortune was not anticipated and that most of the Springbok staff had been laid off.
The recording went on to say that of Springbok's three issuing banks - MetaBank, The Bankcorp Bank and KeyBank - only KeyBank continues to fund newly activated cards. A report by the Denver Business Journal said court documents showed Springbok had debts totaling $35.9 million, with KeyBank's parent company, KeyCorp, being owed $15 million.
Simmons sets the record straight
Russell Simmons, founder of prepaid card provider UniRush LLC, issued a statement to dispel misstatements he believes media outlets made in portraying his role in getting certain types of prepaid cards exempted from the Durbin Amendment to The Restoring American Financial Stability Act of 2010.
Countering statements in the Washington Post and Bloomberg Businessweek, Simmons said his motivation for lobbying members of Congress was not a selfish attempt to further the business interests of UniRush and its RushCard prepaid card product, but to protect the interests of financially underserved people who rely on prepaid cards as alternative financial tools.
The Visa Inc.-branded RushCard is a general-purpose, reloadable (GPR) prepaid card. It is the type of card exempted from the interchange regulations imposed by the Durbin Amendment because it was successfully argued that limiting interchange on GPR cards would force card issuers to raise fees they charge unbanked or underbanked consumers.
Comment window open for FinCEN proposal
Prepaid card stakeholders have until July 28, 2010, to submit written comments regarding proposed rule changes to the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network's (FinCEN) anti-money laundering (AML) regulations. To bring prepaid cards more fully into the fold of the AML provisions of the Bank Secrecy Act, FinCEN wants to substitute the term "prepaid access" for "stored-value" in its regulations, among other initiatives.
Comments can be submitted online or via written letter. To access the proposal, and the addresses for comment submissions, go to www.dwt.com/portalresource/FinCENProposal.
Alliance Data gets $1.5 billion infusion
Loyalty and marketing solutions provider Alliance Data Systems Corp. reported that it closed $1.5 billion in conduit liquidity facilities, resulting in an increase of $175 million in overall conduit capacity. Alliance said it will use the money to "fund growth and/or portfolio acquisitions."
Blackhawk website wins Stevie award
Gift card mall operator Blackhawk Network won the Stevie Award for Web Site or Blog - Financial Services for its website GiftCardMall.com. The 2010 American Business Awards, nicknamed "The Stevies," was held at the Marriott Marquis Hotel in New York City on June 21.
CardSmith integrates campus cards for St. John's
Campus card provider CardSmith implemented the St. John's College 1Card for St. John's College of Annapolis, Md. The card is designed to give St. John's students electronic payment access to campus services.
MoneyGram targets Morocco
Money transfer company MoneyGram International signed three new agents in Morocco. The World Bank estimated that $6 billion in money transfers was sent to Morocco in 2009, MoneyGram said.
Affinity card for medical humanitarians
Tempo Payments Inc. said the international medical humanitarian organization Doctors Without Borders will offer its supporters a MasterCard Worldwide-branded, affinity prepaid card processed by Tempo. When supporters use the Doctors Without Borders Debit MasterCard, the organization will receive a percentage of the transaction fee to help with medical aid globally.
Xoom.com helps disaster victims
Xoom.com, the money transfer arm of Xoom Corp., helped victims of Mexico's Hurricane Alex by waiving fees for money transfers sent to Mexico from the United States. The program ran from July 2 to July 7, 2010.
Western Union enters Japanese market
Under Japan's new Act Concerning Settlement of Funds, The Western Union Co. said it registered to operate international money transfer services in the Asian country, becoming the first money transfer provider authorized to offer "cash-to-cash" transfers across 200 countries and territories.
Alliance struck to 'augment' gift card
Retail Information Technology Enterprises and LAN Services LLC launched a new application designed to integrate in-store gift card offerings with online stores. The solution utilizes Microsoft Corp.'s Microsoft Dynamics Retail Management System platform to allow e-merchants to accept gift cards in brick-and-mortar locations or via web stores.
New teammates bring opportunity to Africa
Financial services company Societe Generale partnered with mobile money transfer specialist Obopay to make mobile payments available to the Republic of Senegal in western Africa. The new service is called Yoban'tel.
Lebofsky promoted at TopGrading
Payments employment agency TopGrading Solutions Inc. raised the rank of Larry Lebofsky to Equity Partner. Lebofsky joined the firm as an Account Executive in 2002 and became Vice President of the Payment Systems Division in 2008. His division represents the largest revenue generating division in the company, TopGrading said.
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