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The Green SheetGreen Sheet

The Green Sheet Online Edition

May 13, 2013 • Issue 13:05:01

Prepaid in brief

The Green Sheet, Inc. NEWS

Blackhawk raises $230 million in IPO

Safeway Inc. subsidiary and gift card mall innovator Blackhawk Network sold 10 million Class A shares and raised $230 million in its initial public offering (IPO) on April 19, 2013, about $30 million more than the Pleasanton, Calif.-based company previously estimated. The trading day closed with Blackhawk shares trading at $26.01, up 13 percent from the initial $23 share price set by Blackhawk, and up from the expected range of $20 to $22.

At the IPO price, Blackhawk's market value would be approximately $1.2 billion. In its Securities and Exchange Commission filing for the IPO, Blackhawk reported its 2012 revenue was $959.1 million, up 28 percent from 2011.

Survey finds wide variance in prepaid fees

In a survey involving 24 prepaid cards, banking product comparison site Bankrate.com said fees vary widely by card and by how consumers use the cards. Bankrate.com found that the amount of fees cardholders pay is related to how often the cards are used. Bankrate said two-thirds of the cards investigated either charged no monthly fee or offered a fee waiver, which is typically contingent on how much money is automatically loaded onto particular cards.

But Greg McBride, Certified Financial Advisor and Senior Financial Analyst at Bankrate.com, said that the ability for cardholders to know the costs of the cards upfront is a beneficial feature. Many financial institutions offer "cards with low, fixed monthly costs," he said. "The ability to know the total monthly cost in advance is valuable to consumers, particularly with the decline in free checking accounts."

CFPB findings support prepaid's argument

Findings of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau concerning the small but growing payday loan and deposit advance loan markets in the United States seem to validate the position taken by the prepaid card industry that prepaid cards offer a better, low-cost option for unbanked and underbanked consumers than payday loans.

Included in the research was the examination of over 15 million storefront payday loans over a 12-month period. The CFPB found that fees for such loans generally ranged from $10 to $20 per $100 borrowed. "For the typical loan of $350, for example, the median $15 fee per $100 would mean that the borrower must come up with more than $400 in just two weeks," the CFPB said.

The Green Sheet, Inc. ANNOUNCEMENTS

Textbook payments get served

American Express Co. teamed with student textbook provider Chegg Inc. to allow college students to receive textbook refunds loaded onto AmEx's digital prepaid account program, Serve.

Beem links incentives to gift cards

U.K.-based mobile money provider Beem said it is intent on bringing incentive-based gift cards into the 21st century through virtual incentive cards stored and redeemed via Beem Mobile Money accounts. "The business proposition is premised on a widespread latent demand for mobile payments services and payment on the go," the company added.

Campus cards changing higher education

Costa Mesa, Calif.-based ISO CardFlex Inc. touted how prepaid campus cards benefit higher education institutions' business operations. Campus card programs facilitate student loans and allow students to make payments on and off campus.

CardSmith launches new app

Campus card program manager CardSmith released a new version of its PockeTracker verification and attendance mobile app. The versatile, third generation app could be used to track attendance at a class in the morning and then verify eligibility to enter a sporting or cultural event in the afternoon, CardSmith said.

Mobile prepaid RDC extended to bank

Check guarantee firm Chexar Networks Inc. made its mobile prepaid remote deposit capture service available to Regions Bank customers. Prepaid cardholders of the bank can now deposit checks remotely to prepaid accounts by scanning checks via smart phones.

New portal recharges PIN-lessly

Calling card provider IPsmarx Technology Inc. unveiled the PINless Recharge Portal. Arash Vahidnia, President and Chief Executive Officer of IPsmarx, said the new service will help domestic prepaid wireless vendors offer an international phone card and PIN-less calling service.

PayQuicker offers Visa paycards

Cloud-based wallet provider PayQuicker LLC stated it now can offer its clients a Visa Inc.-branded payroll card. PayQuicker said it manages programs for U.S.-based companies that pay independent and commissioned employees, agents, reps and affiliates both domestically and internationally.

The Green Sheet, Inc. PARTNERSHIPS

Catalina armed with ARM

Catalina Card Services Inc., a subsidiary of Catalina Payment Systems, Inc., chose ARM Insight Inc.'s Prepaid Management Platform (PMP) to manage Catalina's multiple prepaid debit card programs. PMP automates manual tasks, such as charge-back management, resulting in more efficient and compliant operations, the companies said.

RushCard Live goes live

Green Dot Corp. and UniRush LLC teamed to launch the RushCard Live Reloadable Prepaid Visa Card. The solution allows UniRush access to Green Dot's retailer network, while Green Dot raises its profile with a card that has strong brand appeal, the companies said.

New loyalty team for Latin America

Prepaid card processor i2c Inc. partnered with Bogota, Columbia-based loyalty program manager Aerocash SAS Solutions to provide i2c Engage, a real-time loyalty technology, to retailers and financial institutions in Latin America.

'Flat fee' card unveiled

Chattanooga, Tenn.-based prepaid program manager TransCard LLC joined with online virtual family bank FamZoo Inc. to provide "one predictable flat monthly fee" for multiple cards. The cards are linked together and accessed online via FamZoo's finance software designed to help parents teach kids financial literacy.

The Green Sheet, Inc. APPOINTMENTS

Mehta joins Menlo Ventures

Karl Mehta, former CEO and founder of game card pioneer PlaySpan Inc., joined venture capital firm Menlo Ventures as Venture Partner. Mehta will focus on investment opportunities and serve as an adviser in the financial services, mobile payments, e-commerce and gaming sectors.

Sowell named Chexar exec

Chexar hired Will Sowell to be its President and Chief Operating Officer. Sowell, former COO at Green Dot, will take primary responsibility for the day-to-day operations of the check guarantee company. end of article

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