The fall edition of the Green Sheet Inc.'s quarterly publication GSQ will be a special report on the prepaid card industry. The issue will focus on the state of the industry, giving a topline view as well as the nitty gritty from the street. Patti Murphy, the Green Sheet's Senior Editor, is looking for insights and stories from the prepaid trenches. If you have information you'd like to share, contact Murphy at email@example.com.
According to a New York Post online article, Yuval Tal, Chief Operating Officer at online payroll card provider Payoneer Inc., has expressed fear for his and his family's safety after it was revealed that Payoneer payroll cards, MasterCard Worldwide-branded cards issued by MetaBank, were reportedly used to fund the Jan. 19, 2010, assassination of a leader of Hamas, a Palestinian militant group.
The leader, Mahmoud al Mabhouh, was apparently murdered in a Dubai hotel by what Dubai police described as agents of Mossad, the Israeli intelligence agency, a Wall Street Journal reported online. It was the Dubai police who made public the link between the Israeli assailants and Payoneer, the WSJ said.
Both online articles referenced material that pointed to Tal's former involvement in the Israeli Special Forces. The NYPost article said a report on Gulfnews.com indicated that it was while Tal served in an Israeli elite special operation that he developed ties with Mossad.
Continental Prison Systems Inc., doing business as EZ Card & Kiosk, said it completed phase-one installation and staff training at the Broward County Jail in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. Five EZ Technology-powered lobby kiosks have been installed, the company noted; it expects to add additional kiosks for the booking and bail process in later phases.
With its "mobile storefront," Friendgiftr Inc. launched a mobile commerce solution that allows smart phone and mobile device users to buy gift cards via mobile handhelds. Friendgiftr said it is "the first and only full-featured mobile storefront to offer over 140 leading, brand name gift cards to the mobile marketplace." The service runs on such devices as the BlackBerry and Apple Inc.'s iPhone, the company noted.
InComm said it has experienced over 200 percent sales growth for game cards sold in pharmacies in 2010 as compared to 2009. InComm attributes the rise to changing demographics within the channel, better education and marketing of the product, and the convenience of shopping at neighborhood chain drug stores.
One World Ventures Inc., provider of the 1World Card, opened its first 1World Cash location in Central Hong Kong and launched a new Web site. The Far Eastern city is home to a large migrant Philippino population that utilizes remittance services to send money home to families in the Philippines, One Word Ventures said. The Hong Kong location is the first of many for 1WorldCash throughout Asia, the company added.
BillMyParents, the online teen payment system of Socialwise Inc., teamed with professional skateboarder Rob Dyrdek to promote BillMyParents and its MasterCard Worlwide-branded, reloadable prepaid card. Parents can impose spending limits on the cards and receive text message or e-mail notifications when the cards are used, Socialwise said.
Socialwise also signed motocross racer Travis Pastrana to a similar endorsement deal.
The Travelex Cash Passport will replace the Cash Passport ATM card in Japan, according to Travelex. For Japanese travelers, funds loaded on the Cash Passport can come in one of five different currencies: British pounds, euros, Japanese yen, U.S. dollars and Australian dollars. Travelex said the Cash Passport can be used at millions of retailers and ATMs worldwide when cardholders travel abroad.
TrustCash reported that its TrustCashDeposit product will be marketed specifically to the unbanked. Citing Center for Financial Services Innovation statistics that 20 percent of all U.S. households are unbanked (representing about 22.2 million families) and will spend at least $13 billion yearly using alternative financial service transactions, TrustCash has made reaching the unbanked part of its overall business plan.
J.P. Morgan, the treasury arm of JPMorgan Chase & Co., allied with IBM to help corporations streamline and bring greater efficiency to corporate travel and expense management. The integration of IBM's expense management tools and services with J.P. Morgan's Corporate Card solution will reportedly improve business travel transparency, cut costs, and more effectively monitor and audit expense reports.
Gift card processor TenderCard made a pact with virtual gifting company Giftango Corp. to extend TenderCard's virtual gift cards to the e-mail and mobile phone channels. The integration of Giftango with the TenderCard platform will allow merchants to accept virtual gift cards at the in-store POS without modifying the POS's hardware or software, TenderCard said.
The Western Union Co. and supermarket chain Giant Eagle Inc. agreed to a deal that will bring Western Union Money Transfer services to Giant Eagle customers in over 260 grocery store locations across western Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia and Maryland.
All participating stores will offer the Western Union Money Order service and many locations will allow shoppers to pay bills using the Western Union Convenience Pay service.
With the partnership with QIWI, Ukash noted its services are now available at 420,000 locations in 30 countries. Ukash said QIWI operates in markets that include Russia, Ukraine, Georgia and Kazakhstan with kiosks that facilitate mobile top-up, bill payment, transportation ticketing, entertainment and e-wallet loading.
The University of Denver’s Daniels College of Business said its School of Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Management formed a strategic partnership with mobile Software-as-a-Service technology provider Mocapay to allow students to use mobile phones for making purchases at the school's student-run coffee shop.
Students and faculty will be able to conduct mobile transactions at the POS, access account balances and transaction histories, and reload accounts, Mocapay said.
Veritec Inc., developer of mobile banking debit card solutions and of proprietary two-dimensional matrix technology, signed an agreement with iNet Team to market iNet Team's blinx On-Off Card to the underbanked.
CPI Card Group acquired certain assets of Premier Card Solutions. The transaction, which closed on March 9, 2010, makes CPI the owner of PCS's prepaid card business, which will continue to operate at its existing location in Roseville, Minn. CPI reported that many of PCS's employees and management joined the CPI.
Additionally, CPI has acquired various other financial and intangible assets and equipment of the former PCS business.
Total System Services Inc. (TSYS) and the First National Bank of Omaha consummated their joint venture transaction, in which TSYS acquired a 51 percent interest in FNBO's merchant acquiring business for approximately $150.5 million. FNBO retained a 49 percent interest in the newly formed company, First National Merchant Solutions LLC.
Payment industry veteran Alex Brutin became the Vice President of Business Development at Offerpal Media. Brutin, most recently VP of Business Development at FreeCause Inc., is responsible for forging new relationships with other direct payment providers and monetization partners, as well as new strategic initiatives.
J. Coley Clark, Victor Dahir, Ann Mather and W. Bruce Turner will join MoneyGram Intl.'s board of directors. The formal election will take place at the May 26, 2010, annual meeting and will bring the number of directors to nine.
Clark is the chairman and CEO at BancTec Inc. Dahir retired from Visa Inc. in 2005 after 21 years of service. His last position at the card brand was as Executive VP and Chief Financial Officer.
Mather is on the board of directors at Google Inc. and Glu Mobile Inc. She has over 25 years of financial experience, including serving as EVP and CFO of Pixar Animation Studios and Village Roadshow Pictures.
Wall Street veteran Turner served as the CEO of Lottomatica S.p.A., an Italian public company that provided lottery operations and technology services. Turner currently serves on Lottomatica's board.
CFSI welcomed Steven Dow and Eric Rodriguez to its board of directors. Dow was Executive Director of the Community Action Project of Tulsa County, where he oversaw the transformation of the organization from a two-person agency to a large anti-poverty agency with a staff of nearly 600.
Rodriguez is Vice President of the National Council of La Raza, where he is in charge of legislative affairs, public policy research, policy analysis and field advocacy work.
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