A report from New Delhi, India-based research firm RNCOS said the rise in the number of middle-class households in India, as well as a shift in consumer spending patterns, will continue to spur the rise of prepaid card usage in the South Asian country.
According to Indian Payment Card Market Forecast to 2012, out of India's 1.2 billion population, only 20 percent of adults possess payment cards; therefore, the other 80 percent, many of them experiencing a rise in income, represent an attractive opportunity for prepaid card companies.
On Jan. 31, 2011, NetSpend Holdings Inc. signed a multiyear agreement with The Bancorp Bank Payment Solutions Group, whereby The Bancorp Bank division will serve as NetSpend's new issuing bank for both new and existing card programs.
NetsSpend said it had been in discussions with The Bancorp Bank since October 2010, with the two companies performing mutual due diligence, program assessment and technical integration planning. The deal is part of NetSpend's strategy to diversify over 15 percent of the volume generated by its noncorporate, employer-issued prepaid debit cards to one or more banks by the second half of 2011.
In January 2011, Washington State Sen. Mike Carrell, R-Lakewood, introduced a package of legislation designed to combat fraud, abuse and waste within state-run public-assistance programs. One of the bills, Senate Bill 5327, would reportedly limit the use of electronic benefit transfer (EBT) prepaid cards to locations deemed beneficial to the child of the parent receiving financial assistance.
"There is evidence of EBT cards being used at firearm dealers, liquor stores, tattoo parlors, tobacco outlets and strip clubs," Carrell said in a statement. "These cards are supposed to be used for the benefit of children – not adults – and children are not using these cards at strip clubs or to buy alcohol. We need to make certain the funds are being used in a manner intended by taxpayers."
Meanwhile, The Western Union Co. reported it donated over $8.5 million to 38 countries in 2010.
Socialwise Inc., the parent company of teen payment solutions brand BillMyParents, reported the BillMyParents Facebook Fan Page surpassed 100,000 fans. In other news, BillMyParents landed pro skateboarder and MTV celebrity Ryan Sheckler and champion motocross racer and rally car driver Travis Pastrana as spokesmen for the reloadable BillMyParents Prepaid MasterCard card.
Campus card provider and program manager CardSmith rolled out the Laker One Card, a student ID and prepaid card, at Southwestern Oregon Community College. A college spokesman said the institution expects to expand the card's use beyond on-campus food services.
International prepaid card processor FNDS3000 Corp. closed on $500,000 in working capital to support continued growth of the processor's prepaid card business in South Africa. FNDS3000 said prepaid cards are the fastest growing card segment worldwide.
Prepaid card distributor and processor InComm disclosed that it added over 1,500 grocery store locations to its distribution network in 2010. InComm attributed this momentum to the addition of top tier product partners, increased consumer demand for prepaid cards and innovative solutions that drive foot traffic.
MoneyGram International launched its first cash-to-Visa account program for remittances from the United States to Mexico. The program, arising out of MoneyGram's success in the cash-to-Visa service in Guatemala, allows consumers in the United States to utilize MoneyGram's network of 35,000 money transfer locations to send funds directly to Visa Inc. account holders in Mexico, the company said.
Everything Everywhere Ltd., a joint venture between telecommunication companies Orange UK and T-Mobile UK, made a pact with Barclays Bank PLC's prepaid card division Barclaycard to offer a contactless mobile phone payment solution for U.K. consumers. The new service will launch by early summer 2011, the companies said.
Western Union and InComm inked a deal to offer general purpose reloadable prepaid cards in the United States through InComm's retail locations. Also, the money transfer specialist and Banca Intesa Sanpaolo, reportedly one of the biggest banking groups in the euro area, entered an agreement to begin an ATM-enabled remittance program in Italy. Additionally, Western Union signed an agreement with PayPoint PLC to extend Western Union's network in the United Kingdom and Romania.
Visa agreed to acquire online game monetization platform provider PlaySpan Inc. According to Visa, the card brand will pay $190 million in cash for the privately held company, with potential future earnouts if certain performance milestones are reached.
PlaySpan's subsidiary PayByCash offers the Ultimate Game Card, a one-time use prepaid card that allows online gamers to purchase in-world game time or to enhance their abilities and experiences within virtual worlds.
Card Compliant LLC, regulatory compliance expert for the prepaid card industry, hired Hunt Barrett as Vice President of Sales.
Health care card program manager Evolution Benefits Inc. appointed Fred "Bud" Bockoven as a Vice President of Sales.
European prepaid card provider Transact Network Ltd. announced that Colin Greaves was named Chief Executive Officer and a member of the board of directors.
Social network services provider edo Interactive appointed Mark Marinacci as Chief Revenue Officer. Marinacci is the former Head of Retail Industry at search engine giant Google Inc.
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