General purpose reloadable (GPR) prepaid card provider nFinanSe Inc. sued prepaid card distributor Interactive Communications International Inc. (InComm) for allegedly blocking retailers from having access to nFinance's GPR cards. In the lawsuit filed Oct. 31, 2011, in the U.S. District Court – Northern District of Georgia, nFinanSe said Atlanta-based InComm is blocking access to force nFinanSe to join InComm's Vanilla Reload Network.
According to the complaint, InComm attempted to coerce nFinanSe into a "price-fixing conspiracy" when it told nFinanSe it would not distribute nFinanSe's GPR cards unless nFinanSe agreed to join the distributor's reload network, on which $3.95 is charged cardholders to reload prepaid cards. Tampa, Fla.-based nFinanSe charges a $2.95 reload fee.
The lawsuit said InComm's actions violate federal antitrust laws and constitute a breach of the companies' distribution agreement. An InComm spokeswoman said the distributor does not comment on pending litigation.
In response to prepaid card providers seeking clarification on the new anti-money laundering provisions imposed on the industry, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) issued Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) in regard to the Prepaid Access Final Rule, which was issued in July 2011.
The rule updates and integrates prepaid products and services into the regulatory framework of the Bank Secrecy Act of 1970. FinCEN said the rule directs providers and sellers of prepaid access to file suspicious activity reports, collect and retain customer and transaction data, and maintain anti-money laundering programs. The FAQs, entitled Final Rule – Definitions and Other Regulations Relating to Prepaid Access, can be found at www.fincen.gov/news_room/nr/html/20111102.html .
Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan filed lawsuits against two companies accused of deceptive marketing practices concerning prepaid calling cards targeted at Chicago area immigrant communities. One lawsuit claims Chicago-based NTI Inc. provides up to 50 percent fewer international call minutes than advertised, while the other suit alleges that Carlsbad, Calif.-based Nobel Tel LLC sells cards that include extensive and hidden fees.
U.K.-based Advanced Payment Solutions Ltd. won in the Best Prepaid Program Manager category at the 2011 Prepaid Awards. APS chalked up the win to its innovative and unique product offerings, which include credit building and small-dollar loan functionality.
American Express Corp. launched its first campus card program at the University of North Florida. The Osprey1Card can be used on campus and off campus anywhere AmEx is accepted, the card brand said. The card is powered by Cardsmith LLC.
Keystone College, a private institution in La Plume, Pa., switched its campus card program to the software-as-a-service model of CardSmith. The new Key Kard, which is used as an identification and payment card on campus, was installed by Cardsmith in summer 2011.
CashStar Inc.'s Dell eGifting Program was recognized at the 2011 Prepaid Awards in the Best Prepaid Gift Program category. Computer manufacturer Dell launched its virtual gift card program with CashStar in May 2010 as part of the company's Mother's Day promotion.
Check guarantee company EZCheck added SparkBase's Paycloud mobile wallet to its gift and loyalty card program. The mobile wallet enables consumers to enroll in merchant loyalty and rewards programs using Apple Inc. iPhones and smart phones that run on Google Inc.'s Android operating system.
Global payments processor Fidelity National Information Services Inc. (FIS) reported the signing of over 80 new prepaid card processing agreements in 2011. FIS said prepaid cards are becoming increasingly popular with consumers and government entities worldwide.
Payment processor Fiserv Inc. integrated its ACCEL/Exchange payment network with Prepaid Solutions from Fiserv. The integration is designed to enable financial institutions to more effectively deliver prepaid products to customers and target new segments via ATMs and remote deposit capture.
With the introduction of the Universal Visa Prepaid Card, InteliSpend Prepaid Solutions LLC entered the Canadian market. The card is designed to deliver employee rewards and consumer promotions.
Prepaid and loyalty card processor i2c Inc. signed an agreement to provide prepaid card processing services for Insperity Expense Management, a division of business advisor Insperity. In early 2012, the division is expected to launch a GPR card for Insperity ExpensAble Corporate customers.
Program manager Prepaid Solutions Inc. inked a deal with Norwegian Cruise Line to deliver the maritime payroll card OceanPay to the cruise line's fleet of 13 ships. PPS said OceanPay lowers overhead costs and increases payment efficiency and convenience for ship crews. Oceanpay is reportedly being used on over 200 ships globally.
In cooperation with Green Dot Corp. and GE Capital Retail Bank, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. expanded the Walmart MoneyCard line of products with three new offerings: the Visa Gold MoneyCard, MasterCard Family Edition MoneyCard and MasterCard Bill Pay MoneyCard. The MoneyCard line will undergo a package redesign in the fourth quarter of 2011, Wal-Mart said.
With its partners in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, MasterCard Worldwide unveiled the DXB Connect card, billed as the first network-branded prepaid card aimed primarily at airport clientele. Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank is issuing the card in conjunction with Jade Payments, Global Processing Services and Dubai International Airport.
MoneyGram International teamed with convenience store operator Cumberland Farms to integrate MoneyGram's new in-lane Xpress money transfer service into the c-stores. The solution allows consumers to pay for money transfers at the time they make retail purchases, and then initiate money transfers later when it is convenient for them – online or by phone.
Prepaid calling card processor SelectCore Ltd. integrated PayPal Inc.'s payment engine into the processor's recently launched Facebook Social Time platform. The platform allows users to top up airtime on prepaid mobile phones.
Mike the Pike Productions Inc. agreed to sell online prepaid payment platform ServeNation to a private company for $350,000 in cash and 27.5 percent ownership in ServeNation. Executives at ServeNation estimate the platform can achieve $100 million in sales in the next three years.
SVM LP added Robert Gadek and Casey Swartz to its management team to drive growth and expand its offerings in virtual gift card technologies. Gadek is now Vice President of Global Business Planning and Development at SVM, while Swartz is welcomed as Human Resources Manager at SVM.
Gil Hooper was appointed to the board of directors of payroll and general spend program provider Global Payout Inc. The company said Hooper, Chief Executive Officer of Boundless Payment Solutions Inc. and managing partner at 3G Consulting, adds international sales and marketing experience to its board.
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