The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) is proposing that general purpose reloadable (GPR) prepaid cards and certain kinds of gift cards be included on Currency and Monetary Instrument Reports (CMIRs) used to report the transportation of funds across U.S. borders.
According to FinCEN, CMIRs must be filed to report the international transportation of monetary instruments – coins, checks, traveler's checks, promissory notes, money orders and bearers of bonds – that, in aggregate, exceed $10,000. FinCEN recently updated anti-money laundering regulations to include prepaid cards among those monetary instruments.
Integrated Technological Systems Inc., a Nevada-based technology company, sued Green Dot Corp. and NetSpend Holdings Inc., alleging the prepaid card providers are infringing on ITS' money transfer patent. Seattle-based law firm Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro LLP filed two lawsuits on behalf of ITS. The lawsuits were filed in the United States District Court for the District of Nevada and ask the court to prevent the prepaid card companies from infringing on the patent, as well as award damages to ITS.
On Oct. 9, 2011, California Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed a state bill that would have forced employers that offer employees prepaid payroll card programs to also provide employees free banking services. In vetoing SB 931, Brown said the bill would impose numerous and costly requirements on paycard providers and likely result in banks and employers eliminating the service, to the detriment of the workers the bill aimed to protect.
Campus card provider and program manager CardSmith launched the Bee Card, a multi-functional ID and payment card for the University of Baltimore. The card will offer students cashless access to campus facilities and services, including the bookstore, campus offices, copy center, parking services and shuttle, and select off-campus merchants.
Citigroup Inc.'s Global Transaction Services expanded its commercial card business into five new markets in the Europe, Middle East and Africa region, including Bulgaria, Egypt, Pakistan, Kenya, and Nigeria. As part of that expansion, Citi Prepaid Services entered Egypt, Pakistan and Bahrain.
Windstar Cruises, operators of three sailing yachts in Europe, the Americas and the Caribbean, selected telecommunication technology company CTI Group Inc. for its SeaPay maritime prepaid payroll card. The program will be used by the crews on the Wind Star, Wind Spirit and Wind Surf ships.
The Gold and Silver Coin Shop Inc., the owners and employees of which are featured in the popular reality TV show "Pawn Stars," launched the limited edition Modern Cash Prepaid MasterCard that offers no activation or monthly maintenance fees if cardholders deposit at least $2,000 monthly on the cards. Affinity card provider Redwood Hills Financial Group Inc. is managing the program.
The Members Group, a payment solution aggregator and integrator based in Des Moines, Iowa, created a new client-service department, the TMG Retail Payments Team, to address an influx of financial institutions now offering TMG's ATIRA-brand suite of Visa Inc.-branded prepaid card products. The suite includes two general purpose reloadable, open-loop gift and payroll card programs.
PreCash, a Houston-based processor and prepaid card provider, helped deliver 5,704 meals to support the Houston Food Bank. Seventy PreCash employees volunteered their time to sort, inspect, clean and box donated items.
Among the winners at The Prepaid Awards ceremony held Oct. 6, 2001, in London, were Oberthur Technologies (Best Prepaid Manufacturer), Paycorp Holdings (Pty) Ltd.'s DrawCard (Best Corporate Prepaid Card), ElectraCard Services (Best Global Prepaid Service Provider), Kiwibank Ltd.'s Loaded for Travel (Best Prepaid Travel Program).
Prepaid card program manager The Tyburn Group Inc. unveiled the MasterCard Worldwide-branded FlexBlue payroll card. For employers, FlexBlue eliminates paper check costs and reduces overhead, while unbanked employees benefit from no check cashing fees and increased convenience in receiving pay, The Tyburn Group said.
AccountNow Inc. inked a deal with MoneyGram International to become the first online agent offering MoneyGram's money transfer services. The agreement enables AccountNow customers to send funds to any MoneyGram location in the world via AccountNow's website.
Blackhawk Network, the Pleasanton, Calif.-based Safeway Inc. subsidiary, agreed with Green Dot to offer the Monrovia, Calif.-based company's GPR prepaid cards through Blackhawk gift card malls. Green Dot expects its GPR cards to be available at 10,000 gift card mall locations over the next 24 months.
NetSpend expanded its reload network to include over 6,000 7-Eleven Inc. store locations nationwide. A 7-Eleven representative said the deal with NetSpend is only the beginning of a partnership that will expand the convenience store chain's prepaid financial services program.
Two-dimensional barcode developer Veritec Inc. signed an agreement with card processor Secopay Inc. to offer the blinx On-Off card as a money transfer service to banked and unbanked consumers. Veritec said the solution will allow users to turn cards "on or off" via phones or the Internet.
The Western Union Co. said its MoneyWise GPR cards will be available at 7-Eleven store locations nationally by early 2012. The agreement positions 7-Eleven as the largest retail seller of MoneyWise prepaid cards in the United States, Western Union said.
Blackhawk Network acquired San Francisco-based gift card exchange provider Cardpool Inc. to expand services to consumers. The addition of Cardpool provides users of Blackhawk distributed products a way to exchange gift cards online.
Lesley Hastings, Director of New Client Partnerships at The Members Group, was elected to the board of directors for the Northwest Card Association. Hastings, who joined TMG in July 2010 from her role as a national account executive at Western Union, is an expert in prepaid card processing.
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