In July 2013, the first near field communication (NFC)-enabled mobile prepaid wallet was introduced in Europe. The moneto prepaid wallet, which operates with Apple Inc. iPhones, is first being deployed in the United Kingdom, with rollouts in other European countries expected in the coming months
The moneto wallet – the result of a partnership between U.K.- and Austria-based program manager Kalixa Group; Richardson, Texas-based mobile payment firm DeviceFidelity; and MasterCard Worldwide – integrates NFC technology into mobile phones using DeviceFidelity's patented microSD technology. The wallet also employs a combination of MasterCard's PayPass and DeviceFidelity's iCaisse technologies to enable tap-and-go mobile payments.
"The U.K. is one of the fastest growing prepaid markets in the world and is a leader in terms of NFC and contactless acceptance at the point of sale," said Ed Chandler, Chief Executive Officer at Kalixa. "By enabling iPhone users to make smart, simple and secure NFC transactions we are taking an enormous step towards making mobile money an everyday reality for consumers."
The wallet allows users to tap and pay for goods at thousands of retail outlets in the U.K. The service is also being configured for Android mobile phones.
Prepaid card industry companies, as well as unbanked-focused money transfer providers, landed on the Inc. 500/5000 list. CashStar Inc., Payoneer, and Blackhawk Network Holdings Inc. represented the prepaid card segment, while iSend and Xoom Corp. represented the money transfer category. The list, compiled by Inc. magazine, ranks privately owned companies by revenue growth over a three-year period. The top 500 ranked companies represent the top tier of the overall 5,000.
In order of ranking:
73. iSend: An international money transfer provider. With iSend, customers can send transfers transfer to refill prepaid cell phones, pay recurring bills and send gift cards.
103. CashStar: A virtual gift card network operator.
890. Payoneer: Payroll card provider for businesses with international workforces.
1864. Xoom: An international money transfers firm that filed for an initial public offering in February 2013.
3425. Blackhawk: Safeway Inc. subsidiary that distributes gift and prepaid card through grocery and retail locations.
Technology news site TechCrunch reported that Facebook is abandoning its physical gift giving program in favor of a virtual gift card scheme. TechCrunch said that digital gift cards and Facebook's proprietary gift card credit program comprise 80 percent of Facebook's gift giving sales.
Facebook Gifts launched in September 2012. The service tracked Facebook user behavior to offer users personalized gift giving suggestions. Gifts chosen by users, such as chocolate, stuffed animals and even liquor, could be physically shipped to Facebook recipients. But physical gift giving made up only 20 percent of sales, according to TechCrunch.
TechCrunch said Facebook found that targeting Facebook users with individual gift giving suggestions was not as popular as users choosing to give more general virtual gift cards to favored brands and businesses. Gift credits to Starbucks and iTunes were the biggest sellers on Facebook, the tech news outlet noted.
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