With the launch of the Maine Automated Payment (MAP) Card, the Maine Department of Labor began moving its unemployment benefits payments from a paper check system to a prepaid card program. The Visa Inc.-branded MAP Card is designed to replace unemployment checks for unemployment claimants who have not signed up for direct deposit, the labor department said.
Grameen Foundation reported Citicorp's Citi Foundation donated $125,000 to the microlending nonprofit organization. Grameen said $100,000 will allow the nonprofit to expand staffing at microfinance institutions in poor communities worldwide, while the additional $25,000 will support Grameen's broader strategic initiatives.
In conjunction with online game payment service Malaysian MOL Access Portal Berhad (MOL), alternative electronic payment provider PayPal Inc. unveiled the MOL PayPal - The Digital Card in Malaysia. It represents PayPal's first co-branded prepaid card for the region.
The Agent Products Group of Meta Payment Systems reported its Prepaid Gift Card Program became the first program to gain compliancy with the Credit Card Accountability Responsibility and Disclosure Act of 2009 (the Credit CARD Act), well ahead of the Jan. 31, 2010, deadline.
Blackhawk Network reported that Canadians can now earn Air Miles rewards through gift cards purchased from Safeway Inc. stores in Canada. Consumers earn one reward mile for every $20 of gift cards purchased in a single transaction, Blackhawk said.
CardSmith rolled out a campus card program for the New England Conservatory. The card is called the Penguin Pass ID card and is powered by CardSmith's software-as-a-service transaction processing platform and card program management solution.
The Center for Financial Services Innovation said it will undertake the first annual Underbanked Industry Scan. The survey is meant to chart the underbanked marketplace to help organizations succeed in serving that market more effectively.
MoneyGram International Inc. reported that, in the second quarter of 2010, the company launched its 200,000th agent location and paid down $60 million in debt. Other Q2 developments include expansions in Russia, Nigeria, France, Morocco, Kazakhstan, United Arab Emirates, Guatemala and Paraguay.
Online gift card exchange provider Plastic Jungle was chosen by Silicon Valley media company AlwaysOn as an AlwaysOn Global 250 award winner. Plastic Jungle was selected by the AlwaysOn editorial team and payments industry experts based on five criteria: innovation, market potential, commercialization, stakeholder value and media buzz.
Plastyc Inc. launched a service designed to give prepaid cardholders with browser-enabled cell phones the ability to write checks, transfer money and locate nearby retail locations to reload cards using Plastyc's iBankUP and UPside prepaid Visa services.
QuikTrip Corp. expanded its QuikTrip Rewards Debit Card program by utilizing Tempo Payments Inc.'s affinity debit card platform. The Discover Financial Services-branded QuikTrip Rewards Debit Card allows for discounts on fuel purchases of 5 cents per gallon at QuikTrip stations
Private-label stored-value processor SparkBase said it developed and tested integration of its gift, loyalty and rewards network to social networking sites like FaceBook, Twitter, and FourSquare. Doug Hardman, CEO at SparkBase, said integrating social networking is "key to long-term growth for our ISOs and their merchants."
The Western Union Co. launched account-based money transfer (ABMT) services in Korea and India. The move comes on the heels of Western Union's agreements with Industrial Bank of Korea and the State Bank of India - both already Western Union agents, the company said.
Prepaid Card Holdings Inc. subsidiary Bank Freedom entered an agreement with MoneyGram for reloading prepaid debit cards at over 40,000 MoneyGram agent locations in the United States.
Online game publisher Rixty Inc. partnered with Embee Mobile Inc. to expand its coin redemption options. Rixty said online gamers can exchange loose change at over 20,000 locations for a prepaid Rixty card or virtual RixtyCode, which players can then use to make in-game purchases or, now, mobile top-ups using Embee Mobile's telecom network.
U.K.-based software developer Serif Ltd. tapped incentive card provider Parago Inc. to collaborate on the development and delivery of incentive solutions to drive Serif's expansion in North America. Serif expects to raise its profile by offering incentive cards powered by Parago for individuals who purchase Serif's professional and home software.
Western Union and Family Dollar Inc. inked a deal for Family Dollar to offer Western Union's in-lane money transfer service, goCASH, in 6,500 Family Dollar stores. While transactions take place at the POS, senders complete transactions by calling Western Union customer service representatives, Western Union said.
WiredBenefits Inc. partnered with Trustnode Inc. to create a web-based solution for the administration of employee benefits programs. WiredBenefits is a provider of prepaid health-care and other employee benefit solutions, while Trustnode powers an online, interactive benefits education and enrollment platform.
Private equity firm Genstar Capital LLC acquired health-care benefits payments company Evolution Benefits Inc. Financial terms of the purchase were not disclosed. It was reported that Evolution Benefits' Chairman and CEO Robert E. Patricelli, and the entire senior management team, would remain with the company.
London-headquartered prepaid service provider Ixaris Systems Ltd. appointed John Chaplin as President. Chaplin has over 20 years of experience in the payments industry, including stints at First Data Corp. and Visa.
Karen Witts was named Director at Nairobi, Kenya-based mobile network operator Safaricom Ltd. Witts was nominated for the position by Vodafone Kenya Ltd., whose parent company Vodafone Group PLC has a 40 percent share in Safaricom. Vodafone and Safaricom launched mobile money transfer service M-PESA in 2007.
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