Apriva teamed up with Arizona State University to jointly launch the ASU Deals campus program. The app for the program was built on AprivaLife, a cloud-based mobile commerce platform. The program is expected to deliver coupon, loyalty and location-based services to help students and faculty connect and save at local area merchants.
Apriva stated, "The ASU-branded mobile application makes it easy for customers to discover new places and great deals around campus, while enabling local businesses to capitalize on the benefit of mobile marketing to target new and repeat customers in the area."
CashStar Inc. launched new gift card programs in several Los Angeles area restaurants, including Bestia, République, Broken Spanish, Redbird, Petty Cash Taqueria, Otium and The Rose Café, among others. Guests can purchase plastic and digital gift cards from participating restaurant websites as well as on site.
"These restaurants are well-known for their elevated dining experiences, so it makes perfect sense that they extend the guest experience beyond the walls of the restaurant and across all customer touchpoints," said Ben Kaplans, President and Chief Executive Officer of CashStar. "Guests now have flexible and personalized gifting options, allowing them to easily gift the brands from their mobile devices and desktops in addition to in-restaurant card purchases."
Atlanta-based prepaid product and services provider InComm recently showcased its InComm Switch payment processing solution at the NRF National Convention & Expo in New York. The product handles core payment processing needs, is fully Payment Application Data Security Standard 3.0 compliant and can be licensed or integrated on a software-as-a-service basis.
According to InComm, a large U.S. pharmacy chain uses InComm Switch to handle daily loads of up to 5 million prescription adjudications. The technology can also help reduce the burden of processing seasonal surges in gift card activations and redemptions. The switch engine additionally powers the InComm Enhanced Payment Platform, OTCNetwork, an over-the-counter benefits disbursement and redemption network.
The Mercator Advisory Group report, 12th Annual U.S. Prepaid Cards Market Forecasts, 2015-2018, offers an analysis of the load, growth and market dynamics in various prepaid card segments. The report identifies key segments expected to rise and fall, and discusses the economic, political and consumer influences likely to shape the prepaid market in the years to come.
"Events in 2016 will likely make it a watershed year for the prepaid industry, and the future of many segments will hinge on regulations," said Ben Jackson, Director of Mercator Advisory Group's Prepaid Advisory Service, and author of the report. "Prepaid providers should be evaluating their business and looking for ways to diversify."
While the report anticipates that continued uncertainty in the regulatory environment could stymie progress in certain segments, it predicts growth in open-loop prepaid loads and campus cards as these programs gain popularity.
London-based Prepaid Financial Services Ltd., a full service e-money institution, prepaid card issuer, BIN sponsor, program manager, technology provider and acquirer licensed across the SEPA region, recently expanded its banking solution in the Eurozone. PFS said the enhanced platform will allow prepaid accountholders to automate payments via electronic wallets.
"The move to extend our banking solution is a further strategic step for PFS, having recognized that many of our European clients want to combine the ease of use of a basic bank account with the flexibility and functionality of a prepaid card," said Noel Moran, CEO at PFS. The ability to switch a card or account in real-time will benefit users, Moran added.
PFS clients will have the ability to block certain types of transactions or spend at different merchant category codes. "PFS is now a total payments provider in effect, with acquiring services for e-commerce merchants, issuing of prepaid cards and now the launch of our banking product in GBP and Euro across 19 countries," Moran said. "It enables us to provide everything a consumer or business needs, all through one provider."
PrestigePay LLC recently introduced its complimentary Early Access program, which allows cardholders faster access to federal government benefit payments. The company estimates its program will reduce recipient access time by four business days for government assistance payments for Social Security, Disability, Supplemental Security Insurance and Veterans Compensation/Pension programs, among others.
"Receiving payments early makes a big difference in the lives of people who depend on these benefits for their day-to-day expenses," said Thomas Aronica, CEO at PrestigePay. "It can mean the difference between making a car payment on time and the vehicle getting repossessed, or the difference between making rent and receiving an eviction notice."
Unlike traditional rapid funding options, PrestigePay's program is not a loan or cash advance. According to the company, cardholders gain immediate access to the full amount of the benefit payment as soon as the amount is loaded onto the card, without additional fees being charged. The PrestigePay Visa Prepaid Card program also features complimentary Concierge Department service, which provides a team dedicated to customer fulfillment.
Thanks Again, a cross-border airport coalition loyalty program, plans to further strengthen its position by enhancing its products and expanding globally in 2016. The program provides frequent business and leisure travelers with reward points on top of points already earned from the hotel and airline loyalty programs they are enrolled in.
Marc Ellis, CEO of Thanks Again, said, "Thanks Again's mission is to make travel more rewarding – and being present in more markets across the globe will help us do that on a larger scale." The company said its expansion program will focus on adding partners in Canada, Latin America, Caribbean and Asia Pacific; finalize its partnership with MasterCard Worldwide in China and India; and refresh its partnership with Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, one of the world's busiest airports.
In April 2016, backed by CRM and loyalty technology provider Comarch Inc., TA plans to unveil an enhanced product suite to its member and channel partners. Included with the suite will be a beacon-enabled mobile app featuring proximity-based messaging and other customer engagement tools, a business intelligence dashboard to help airports aggregate and manage user data, and additional travel rewards such as airline miles, hotel points, Visa prepaid cards and other airport perks.
Two German-based companies jointly launched an e-money gift card program in Croatia. In the agreement, payment provider Wirecard AG expanded its partnership with discount supermarket chain Lidl, which operates an estimated 10,000 stores in 27 countries. The new program will extend the alliance beyond the 3,200 German Lidl stores already served by Wirecard.
Wirecard said it will issue and process the new e-money gift cards in kuna, the Croatian currency. And Wirecard's e-money gift card will be an accepted form of payment in all local branches of Lidl throughout Croatia as well as on the chain's website. Lidl plans to open stores in the U.S. market soon.
"Our unique business model intelligently combines the latest software technology with banking services, enabling us to capitalize on all services we offer," said Anne Signorino Gelo, Managing Director of Wirecard Retail. "We cover the full spectrum in the area of gift cards, including e-money cards for high street retailers, e-commerce functions and digital cards for mobile payment."
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