Ceridian Stored Value Solutions (SVS) said a panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit affirmed SVS's 2011 victory in a patent infringement lawsuit filed by Chicago-based processor Card Activation Technologies Inc. SVS said the ruling vindicates SVS's position that its gift card technology does not infringe on CAT's patent.
In 2009, CAT sued several national chain store businesses, claiming they were using CAT's patented technology for the activation and processing of gift and other stored-value cards. CAT sought royalties from the companies for their card practices. Additionally, CAT wanted an injunction against the companies issuing gift cards until the companies obtained licenses from CAT.
SVS, the gift card processor for businesses named in CAT's suit, sued CAT in return. The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division, ruled in favor of SVS. CAT then appealed. The subsequent legal wrangling resulted in the December 2012 ruling by Judge Kent A. Jordan of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.
For many dedicated coffee lovers, the launch of the Starbucks Metal Card was bittersweet. On Friday, Dec. 7, 2012, the Starbucks Coffee Co. made the limited edition gift card available at online retailer Gilt.com. But, within moments of the launch, the 5,000 cards were reportedly sold out, leaving Starbucks devotees bitterly disappointed.
On the foodee website Eater National, blogger Amy McKeever reported that the stainless steel gift cards, each one loaded with $400 and sold for $450 apiece, sold out "instantaneously." She quoted Facebook and Twitter users lamenting the quick sell-out of the cards. On Dec. 8, reports surfaced that Starbucks Steel Cards were selling on eBay Inc.'s online auction site for more than double their value.
Square Inc. joined the mobile e-gift card world via Square Wallet. "Historically gift card programs have been complicated, cumbersome and expensive for businesses," the San Francisco-based mobile startup said. "Square enables businesses to seamlessly accept gift cards at no additional cost with no additional tools."
Square's mobile app allows users to search for retailers local to the person receiving the gift card, choose a card amount and email the e-gift to the recipient. The card art and gift amount are then loaded into the recipient's Square Wallet.
Prepaid card producer Arroweye Solutions Inc. reported record card production volumes in the second and third quarters of 2012. The company said demand for open-loop, network-branded cards accounted for the production levels. Arroweye's digital, on-demand card production technology allows consumers to customize prepaid cards online.
BillMyParents Inc., the teen payment solutions brand of Socialwise Inc., signed teen pop star Justin Bieber to promote the company's MasterCard-branded teen card. Bieber will produce videos that expound on responsible teen spending and offer "unique cardholder experiences."
U.K.-based Asperity Employee Benefits Ltd. selected e-gift card provider Giftango Corp. to manage Asperity's e-gift card program for its newly launched U.S. operation. Asperity said Giftango's platform will allow Asperity customers to benefit from a wider selection of retailers, as well as the instant delivery of rewards.
Prepaid card distributor InComm reported it implemented in July 2012 a no-fee model for its proprietary line of Vanilla prepaid products in Canada. Users of Vanilla MasterCard and Vanilla Visa cards in Canada pay no monthly maintenance and card replacement fees; the cards have no expiration dates as well.
MasterCard Worldwide expanded its rePower cash reload service to the United Kingdom. Users of the Kalixa prepaid card, managed by the CQR Payment Group, are the first cardholders that have access to the rePower network in the U.K. MasterCard intends to expand rePower to other European markets in the coming months.
The National Community Tax Coalition, which offers free tax advice to low-income working families, selected NetSpend Holdings Inc. to provide prepaid card services to NCTC clients beginning in the 2013 tax season. The agreement follows a successful NetSpend pilot program conducted in Chicago during the 2012 tax season, said the coalition's executive director.
U.K.-based Advanced Payment Solutions Ltd. said it will bring its call center home to help the U.K. economy. APS, which operates the Cashplus prepaid card program, did not specify where the call center had been located, but noted that the center would be relocated to Liverpool, England, where 300 new jobs would be created over the next three years.
Online gift card exchange operator Plastic Jungle Inc. launched a quick response code-based exchange program in 7,400 CVS/pharmacy stores in the United States. The service allows customers to use smart phones in-store to swap unspent gift cards for CVS/pharmacy gift cards. The service is also available online.
Mobile financial service provider Security First International Holdings Inc. entered the prepaid reload sector by rolling out M-Cash. The service allows American Express Co. prepaid card users to reload cards and have reload transactions billed to mobile phone bills. The "no cash" funding gateway is aimed at the 43 million underbanked consumers in the United States, the company said.
The U.S. Department of the Treasury said Social Security recipients who receive funds on MasterCard-branded Direct Express cards will soon be rewarded with "sweepstakes-based incentives." Direct Express users will receive rewards for engaging with PayPerks Inc.'s web- and mobile-based financial education platform. The service is in beta testing until early 2013.
E-gift network operator CashStar Inc. will offer its services in Australia and New Zealand via the area's gift card processor WEX Inc. CashStar said the partnership will allow Australians and New Zealanders to purchase e-gift cards online and personalize them with custom messages, photos and videos.
A collaboration between South Africa-based Hollard Insurance, MasterCard, claims processor ValueCard (Pty) Ltd., program manager Opengate and prepaid technology provider Tutuka resulted in the launch of the Hollard ClaimsCard. The card allows claimants to shop at retailers to replace goods covered by specific insurance claims.
India-based Yalamanchili became the prepaid platform provider for EZ-Link Pte Ltd. Co.'s AmEx-branded Imagine Card launched in Singapore in October 2012. The platform fulfills Know Your Customer requirements by allowing Imagine Card users to upload identification documents when registering cards online.
AccountNow Inc. reported in early December 2012 it had completed its acquisition of nFinanSe Inc. AccountNow said the acquisition expands the prepaid card provider's retail distribution by 15,000 locations.
U.S. Bank, the lead bank of U.S. Bancorp, said it is acquiring Florida-based prepaid card processor FSV Payment Systems Inc. to broaden the bank's range of prepaid programs for companies, governments and other financial institutions. The acquisition is expected to be completed in December 2012. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
BillMyParents board member William Hernandez was named President of the teen payments solution company. Hernandez brings over 30 years of experience in the global financial services sector to his new role of growing both current and future product categories and geographies.
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