The Chicago Transit Authority apparently listened to criticism that its upcoming MasterCard Worldwide-branded, general-purpose reloadable (GPR), contactless-enabled transit card was too expensive and eliminated fees on the card. In a study of the changes to the card, banking product comparison site Nerdwallet.com found that the CTA had eliminated withdrawal and live customer service fees.
According to a May 24, 2013, Nerdwallet.com blog, the CTA eliminated withdrawal fees for Ventra card users who use domestic, in-network, Allpoint-branded ATMs, which number around 1,000 in the Chicago area and over 40,000 nationwide. The CTA also eliminated the $2 live customer service fee.
NBA Basketball Hall of Famer and entrepreneur Earvin "Magic" Johnson is reportedly involved in a lawsuit concerning an alleged violation of contractual obligations for a prepaid debit card that bore his name. A June 20, 2013, report in The New York Post said Florida-based prepaid card provider Celebrity Cards International sued Johnson in Florida District court, claiming the former basketball player broke an agreement to market and sell the Magic Cash Card.
The suit claims Johnson violated the contract with Celebrity Cards when he partnered with OneWest Bank FSB of Southern California for the Magic Card from Magic Johnson, a MasterCard Worldwide-branded, GPR card product. The report said Johnson entered into the agreement with OneWest without permission from Celebrity Cards.
GPR prepaid card pioneer Green Dot Corp. reported that a class-action lawsuit against the company was thrown out of court on June 19, 2013. Two lawsuits were originally filed by the Law Offices of Howard G. Smithlaw and Glancy, Binkow & Goldberg LLP on behalf of Green Dot investors in the wake of the financial reforecast Green Dot made in July 2012. The amended forecast resulted in a 60 percent drop in Green Dot stock.
The two suits were combined into one class action claiming Green Dot violated federal securities laws by offering false and misleading earnings forecasts prior to the July 26 reforecast. In the reforecast, the Pasadena, Calif.-based company disclosed threats to its business model that would likely result in lower revenues than previously stated. But the United States District Court for the Central District of California dismissed the case "with prejudice," Green Dot said.
Richardson, Texas-based mobile wallet provider DeviceFidelity, manager of the moneto Prepaid MasterCard, teamed with the Dallas County chapter of the Susan G. Komen Foundation to support breast cancer research. By linking the moneto card to Komen Dallas County, 1 percent of transactions made with the card go to the foundation to fund research.
Silicon Valley-based prepaid card processor i2c Inc. said it had processed over 500 million transactions on its platform in the past 12 months, setting a new annual transaction volume record for the company. The milestone caps a year of rapid global expansion for i2c, which included opening a new data center in China, adding new clients across four continents and expanding its network of sponsor bank relationships, the company said.
London-based Ixaris Systems Ltd. unveiled the Ixaris Payments Server designed to enable banks to develop their own corporate prepaid programs with minimal capital expenditures. Ixaris said the corporate prepaid card market may be the most lucrative segment, with $385 billion expected to be spent in that market by 2017.
U.K.-based Polymath Consulting Ltd. launched its global prepaid processor database. Nearly 100 certified, open-loop prepaid card processors comprise the database designed to help companies find the right processor partners. The database can be accessed for free at www.polymathconsulting.com/openloopprocessors and via the members' area of the Prepaid International Forum website at www.prepaidforum.org .
At the 2nd Annual PX Prepaid & Payments Awards that took place June 6, 2013, in Toronto, prepaid card processor SelectCore Ltd. was recognized as Canada's Leading Payments Organization. SelectCore highlighted its Europay/MasterCard/Visa (EMV) card programs as one basis for its award.
San Diego-based virtual gift card network operator Transaction Wireless updated its gift card "view." The new view includes an updated merchant gift card icon fitted for mobile phones and links to merchants' social media pages.
International prepaid platform provider Yalamanchili launched the virtual E-Fast On Visa Prepaid Card in Vietnam, where penetration of Visa Inc.- and MasterCard-branded cards is low. Mumbai, India-based Yalamanchili said the program will help Vietnamese consumers make online purchases from international websites.
Through an agreement with AlexBank, the Egyptian subsidiary of the Intesa Sanpaolo Group, money transfer specialist The Western Union Co. increased its agent network in Egypt to three, with over 200 agent locations offering Western Union's services. Egypt accounts for over 40 percent of total remittance inflows to the Middle East and North Africa region, according to Western Union. Over 6 million Egyptians live abroad, the Englewood, Colo.-based company added.
Tangerang, Indonesia-based PT Visionet Internasional, a subsidiary of PT Multipolar Technology and part of information technology outsourcer the Lippo Group, teamed with Hong Kong-based mobile payment platform specialist MPayMe Ltd. for a mobile payment scheme in Indonesia. MPayMe's quick response code-enabled ZNAP platform will help businesses connect with consumers via prepaid and loyalty offers.
Prepaid card industry consultant Peter J. Quadagno became a partner at payments consultancy Bank Solutions Group LLC. Les Riedl, Senior Managing Partner at BSG, stated, "Peter brings to our firm immense payments industry experience as a prepaid card business industry executive, entrepreneur and consultant. He is one of the country's foremost authorities on the development and implementation of stored value, prepaid programs and EMV."
MasterCard named Jason Tymms as Prepaid Lead for the Asia/Pacific, Middle East and Africa region. Tymms previously headed the card brand's prepaid business in the Australia and Asia region, where he helped lead the development of the Australia Post, Qantas and National Australia travel card programs. Tymms was also integral to the rollout of the Air New Zealand program, the card company's first major prepaid card for air travel in the region.
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