Moves are underway at both the federal and state levels to restrict what goods and services food stamp recipients can purchase with electronic benefit transfer cards. The Welfare Integrity Now for Children and Families Act of 2011 (HR 3567) passed the U.S. House of Representatives on Feb. 1, 2012, and a Florida bill (SB 1658) introduced in January 2012 passed out of the Florida Senate's Children, Families, and Elder Affairs Committee.
Three New Jersey legislators sponsored a bill designed to limit fees charged on general purpose reloadable (GPR) prepaid cards and require GPR card providers to disclose certain information to consumers. The bill, A 2144, allows monthly, reload, money transfer, pay-by-check, ATM cash withdrawal and card replacement fees, but would forbid a host of other fees, including annual, overdraft, usage at the POS, inactivity/dormancy and balance inquiry fees.
An American Express Co. prepaid card offers the second lowest yearly fees, according to payment card comparison website NerdWallet.com. The AmEx Bluebird GPR card costs $69 in total yearly fees, NerdWallet.com found. In comparison, UniRush Financial Services LLC's Baby Phat Prepaid RushCard Pay Monthly card costs $387 per year in fees, the comparison site reported.
For the 2012 Paybefore Awards, South Africa-based DrawCard, part of Paycorp Holdings (Pty) Ltd., won in the Best Emergency/Insurance/Non-Government Benefits Prepaid Program and the Best Non-U.S. based Prepaid Program categories for the DrawCard Santam Insurance Claims Card.
Additionally, the Health SolutionsPlus card won in the Best Health Care/Health Benefits Prepaid Program category. Health SolutionsPlus was launched in March 2011 by Canadian group benefits provider The Great-West Life Assurance Co., in conjunction with Visa Canada and health care benefits card processor Evolution1.
The second annual Prepaid Awards India was held Feb. 15, 2012, in London. The winners were Itz Cash Card Ltd. (Best Prepaid Non-Gift Program and Leading Prepaid Organization), Indian Oil Corporation Ltd. (Best Prepaid Gift Program), HDFC Bank Ltd. (Best Prepaid Travel Program), QwikCilver Solutions (Best Prepaid Service Provider) and Anand Shrivastav, Chairman and Managing Director at Beam (Industry Contributor).
MasterCard Worldwide launched a global initiative called the MasterCard Mobile Money Partnership Program geared toward financially underserved consumers worldwide – over 2.5 billion people. The program is designed to enable consumers to make mobile phone payments at brick-and-mortar and online merchants worldwide, as well as transfer funds and pay bills.
Comviva Technologies Ltd., Sybase Inc. subsidiary Sybase 365 and Utiba Mobility Inc. will provide stored-value accounts to offer mobile top-up, bill payments and person-to-person payments within the program's network.
General purpose reloadable card provider nFinanSe Inc. reported that its board of directors approved a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission to deregister its common shares. The Tampa, Fla.-based company said having publicly traded common stock did not benefit the company or its small number of shareholders. NFinanSe expected the savings derived from deregistration to be "financially meaningful" to the company.
Itz Cash Card Ltd., in association with IDBI Bank Ltd. and MasterCard, unveiled the Freedom Prepaid Card – called India's first co-branded GPR card. The card, emblazoned with IDBI Bank and Itz Cash Card logos, as well as the MasterCard brand, is being targeted at India's youth market, who traditionally pay for goods and services with cash. India's youth population represents 47 percent of the country's 1.21 billion population, the companies said.
NetSpend Holdings Inc. Chief Executive Officer Dan Henry said eBay Inc. subsidiary and alternative financial services provider PayPal Inc. chose NetSpend to be the program manager, distributor and processor for PayPal's MasterCard-branded GPR card. The card must be linked to a PayPal account to give cardholders full access to the card's online functionality and features. The card is issued by The Bancorp Bank, a subsidiary of The Bancorp Inc.
U.K.-based prepaid voucher provider Ukash said its International eMoney payment method is now available in Denmark through 195 7-Eleven Inc. stores. Ukash said the Denmark launch follows the Norway launch in February 2010 and the rollout into Sweden in December 2009.
InComm bought its former partner Medagate Corp., which the distributor characterized as the only operator of a national, closed-loop, over-the-counter health care benefit payment platform. Medagate's technology platform, the OTCNetwork, enables health care payments at the POS.
Canada-based prepaid telecommunication company SelectCore Ltd. purchased Canadian payment processor Conquest Financial Services for $4,760,000. SelectCore estimates that the Conquest acquisition will generate approximately $1.2 million in annual profit for the company.
Prepaid International Forum elected Robert Courtneidge to Chairman of the international trade association. Courtneidge, Global Head of Cards & Payments at U.S. law firm Locke Lord LLP, succeeds interim Chairman Ken Howes, who steered PIF in the wake of the death of Christopher Reddish in a June 2011 sailing accident.
Additionally, the PIF named four new directors to its board: Craig James, CEO of Neopay Ltd.; Judith Rinearson, a partner at Bryan Cave LLP; Peter Sidenius, Director, Edgar Dunn & Co.; and Paul Stanley, CEO at Retail Decisions Inc.
Prepaid debit card program manager Global Payout Inc. established an in-house information technology department to spearhead its new mobile wallet payment platform and tapped Brett Morgan to lead the effort as Chief Technology Officer. The company said Morgan has extensive experience in the development and implementation of software platforms in the construction, health care and gaming sectors.
Mobile parking payments and services provider QuickPay Corp. hired parking industry veteran Gregory J. Stormberg as Chief Operating Officer and Head of Business Development. Stormberg brings 27 years in the commercial parking and transportation industry to his new role of forging national partnerships with municipalities, operators and universities.
Michele Sullender, named one of 2010's "10 Most Powerful Women in Prepaid" by Paybefore, became Vice President of Product Strategy at InteliSpend Prepaid Solutions LLC. Sullender is the secretary of the Network Branded Prepaid Card Association and brings over 10 years of consumer and business prepaid product development experience to her new VP role.
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