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The Green SheetGreen Sheet

The Green Sheet Online Edition

May 27, 2013 • Issue 13:05:02

Prepaid in brief

The Green Sheet, Inc. NEWS

Google enters transit card market in Kenya

Google Inc. launched a near field communication (NFC) -enabled prepaid transit card in the African nation of Kenya. The BebaPay card, marketed by Top Image, which also markets Safaricom's M-Pesa mobile payments solution in Africa, is for use on Kenya's bus system. According to the BebaPay website, the cards can only be used on Citi Hoppa buses in Nairobi, the capital city of the East African nation.

According to an April 30, 2013, post on the Google Africa Blog, Google partnered with the largest bank in East Africa, Equity Bank, for the card. Users purchase the BebaPay card from major mass transit hubs in Kenya and reload the cards at Equity Bank branches and agent locations. The maximum load value on the cards is 10,000 Kenyan shillings (about $120). Bus operators accept BebaPay fare payments on smart phones.

Michigan senator seeks EBT card restrictions

Michigan state Sen. Rick Jones, R-Grand Ledge, said he will introduce legislation to ban the use of state-issued electronic benefit transfer (EBT) cards at strip clubs and liquor stores in Michigan. "It is an obscene use of tax dollars meant to feed hungry children and provide the necessities of life," Jones said in an April 29, 2013, statement. "Booze and strip clubs need to be off limits to welfare money."

Jones told SellingPrepaid that Michigan's EBT card program for the Michigan WIC Bridge Card lacks oversight, with casinos reporting EBT cards being used to gamble away tens of thousands of welfare dollars, while college students without financial needs can sign up for the program and receive $200 a month loaded on the cards.

New report sheds light on U.S. underbanked

To better define the approximately 51 million underbanked individuals in the United States, FactorTrust, which analyzes underbanked consumer data, issued the inaugural FactorTrust Underbanked Index. Based on information gleaned from consumer-initiated credit inquiries and trade-line data from a variety of financial services companies, and augmented with other third-party data, FactorTrust found that females make up 62.05 percent of underbanked loan applicants, although average loan amounts for males was slightly higher: $559.99 to $530.57.

FactorTrust also reported that 33.06 percent of the underbanked have at least a bachelor's degrees and that those with degrees outperformed on repaying loans by 11.5 percent over loan applicants with high school educations or less. Additionally, the average length of employment for underbanked consumers is 2.10 years, with the top employment sectors being retail (24 percent) and government (17 percent), according to the company.

The Green Sheet, Inc. ANNOUNCEMENTS

Spyke becomes Ingo

Mobile prepaid remote deposit capture provider Chexar Networks Inc. rebranded its funds guarantee network, the Spyke Network, as Ingo – The Good Funds Network. Chexar said the new name better expresses the company's expansion efforts beyond check guarantee capabilities.

Core names challenge finalists

Core Innovation Capital released the names of the finalists who will compete in the Third Annual Core Innovators Mega Challenge to develop the best financial services solution for the underbanked in the United States. Finalists include iSend, PayPerks Inc., Mitek Systems Inc., LendUp, OpenCoin, SaveUp Inc. and Yattos.com.

i2c hits transaction plateau in LAC

Redwood City, Calif.-based prepaid card processor i2c Inc. reported it has processed over $1 billion in payments over the past year on cards issued by partner banks in the Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) region.

Prepaid charging under renovation

Espoo, Finland-based telecommunication solutions firm Tecnotree Corp. is engaged in modernizing the existing prepaid charging systems in Latin America. The company said it received a $2.1 million order from a group of telecommunication operators in Latin America to upgrade the systems.

New call center opens

Henderson, Nev.-based prepaid card program manager 3Pea International Inc. unveiled a new call center open 24/7. 3Pea said the fully staffed center features state-of-the-art call termination and origination, interactive voice response and customer relationship management technology.

Western Union collects four awards

Global money transfer specialist The Western Union Co. won four separate awards for its stored-value programs. The awards were: Best-in-Category Award for the MyWU Prepaid Card (PayBefore Europe); The Gold Medal PYMNTS.com Award for Best Prepaid Innovation; Best Network-Branded Gift Card (PayBefore in the United States); and The Banking & Payments Asia Trailblazer Award for Product Excellence in Prepaid Payment.

The Green Sheet, Inc. PARTNERSHIPS

Gyft processes prepaid for BitPay

Mobile gift card platform operator Gyft teamed with bitcoin payment processor BitPay Inc. to facilitate bitcoin purchases of gift cards on smart phones powered by Google Inc.'s Android operating system. Gyft said customers can buy mobile gift cards using bitcoins and redeem them at over 50,000 physical retail locations across the United States.

paysafecard added to network

Austria-based paysafecard group integrated its prepaid voucher service paysafecard with the CashBox platform of subscription billing firm Vindicia Inc. As a result, online merchants using CashBox will be able to accept paysafecards as payment for the purchase of digital goods and services.

Reliance goes social

Mumbai, India-based telecommunication provider Reliance Communications teamed with the India chapter of microblogging site Twitter to launch a bundled prepaid plan for Reliance subscribers in India. Reliance prepaid phone users receive unlimited Twitter access without incurring extra data consumption charges.

Take prepaid to the track

Sightline Interactive, a subsidiary of gambling industry-focused payment company Sightline Payments, and acquirer Vantiv Inc. launched Loyalty Card Plus in collaboration with U.S. Off-Track subsidiary PINpocket LLC. U.S. Off-Track is a betting service for thoroughbred, harness and greyhound racing. PINpocket is a money services business that helps customers manage their funds at online racing merchants. Loyalty Card Plus will be integrated into PINpocket's online platform.

New team all smiles

Mobile gifting network operator Transaction Wireless is working with Hewlett-Packard Development Company LP on the TwoSmiles by HP initiative. TwoSmiles combines greeting cards with gift cards.

The Green Sheet, Inc. APPOINTMENTS

Law firm hires CFPB attorney

U.S.-based law firm Venable LLP named Allyson Baker a partner in the firm's Washington, D.C., office. Baker was formerly lead counsel at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's Office of Enforcement, where she helped formulate agency policies regarding investigations and litigation.

SelectCore makes executive changes

Toronto-based prepaid card processor SelectCore Ltd. appointed Kevin Taylor to General Manager, SelectCore LAC, after serving as interim Chief Executive Officer and a board director. Meanwhile, Joe Mclean was named Senior Advisor and will no longer serve as a director. SelectCore's board determined that a reallocation of responsibilities and geographic focus was required to support SelectCore's expansion, anticipated growth and new contracts in the LAC region. end of article

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