U.K.-based PSE Consulting said the European prepaid card market is moving toward critical mass. By 2017, the market will reach 160 billion euros (over $200 billion) in annual spend, representing 6 billion transactions, according to research conducted by PSE. The consultancy expects about 65 percent of spending on prepaid cards in the market in 2017 to come from the "Germanic region" of Europe, along with the U.K., France and Italy.
It was reported in the Manila Standard Today that the Philippines' Department of Justice endorsed a proposal put forth by a member of the South Asian country's congress to require prepaid cell phone buyers to register their phones with authorities as a crime prevention method. Senate Bill 2644 would require prepaid phone purchasers to register the subscriber identification module cards to help the Philippines' law enforcement community fight extortion and other crimes, according to the news outlet.
Research conducted by The Global Prepaid Exchange indicates that players in India's prepaid card market have reason to be optimistic. The global association forecasts that the market opportunity for prepaid cards in India will be $ 9.3 billion in 2011, with travel, gift, payroll and government benefit cards leading the way. The consulting firm predicted large growth for gift (30 percent), payroll (20 percent) and government benefit (15 percent) cards.
Socialwise Inc.'s BillMyParents subsidiary signed professional skateboarder Rob Dyrdek to a multiyear contract as a spokesman and brand ambassador to communicate the advantages of the teen spending prepaid card program through commercials, on the company's website, in viral video campaigns and through social media initiatives.
Smart Transaction Systems' GiftCardGreatness.com touted mobile gift cards as a way for small merchants to increase business. The company said "m-gift" cards, which are sent via text messages to recipients' cell phones, help businesses capture revenue they might otherwise have lost by offering relevant products to specific customer segments, such as teens and last-minute gift-givers.
Prepaid card processor SelectCore Ltd. said its new ReCash service is Canada's "first ubiquitous cash reload network for prepaid stored-value cards." For the initial rollout, thousands of Canadian retailers with SelectCore-owned VeriFone Inc. terminals will become ReCash "branches" and "tellers."
Safeway Inc.'s gift card mall subsidiary Blackhawk Network heralded the expansion of its partnership with U.K. retailer Argos Ltd. and its intent to put gift card malls in stores throughout the United Kingdom, including Ireland.
MoneyGram, text message provider Iris Wireless LLC and Philippines-based telecommunications company Globe Telecom agreed to provide global prepaid mobile top-up services to Filipinos living in the United States for mobile money transfers to friends and family in the Philippines.
NetSpend Holdings Inc. inked deals with auto insurance companies First Acceptance Corp. and The General Automobile Insurance Services Inc. NetSpend said its general purpose reloadable cards can be used by the companies' unbanked policyholders to pay insurance premiums electronically.
The Western Union Co. teamed with mobile telecommunications company Etisalat Group to introduce the Western Union Mobile Money Transfer service in 18 countries where Etisalat operates: Asia, the Middle East and Africa.
Zeevex, an InComm company that offers an open, virtual currency platform for retailers, signed agreements with online game publishers Goozex Inc., 2Pay Inc., Snail Games USA, Quest Online LLC and Gamania Digital Entertainment Co. Ltd. Zeevex offers a distribution network at over 50,000 retail locations in the United States where Zeevex's virtual currency prepaid cards are sold.
Hotgate Technology Inc., through its subsidiary Shanghai Hongsheng Net Telecommunications Company Ltd., agreed to purchase (QBA) for approximately 10 million renminbi (China's official currency). QBA is a prepaid card issuer in Shanghai.
China-based two-dimensional barcode technology, product and solutions provider Syscan Technology Holdings Ltd. purchased Country Praise Enterprises Ltd. for HK$150,000,000 (in Hong Kong dollars). Country Praise, which issues prepaid cards in China, operates in Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen and Chengdu, among other cities.
Juan Agualimpia was promoted to Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer at MoneyGram. His new responsibilities include global branding, marketing and product management.
Travelex Global Business Payments added two executives to its management team. Andrew Wiseman was appointed to lead Global Products and Marketing and Nick Masterson-Jones was named CIO and leads development of Travelex's payment platform, GEO.
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