Thursday, July 31, 2008

Processing Costs of Prepaid May Reduce Retailer Profits

When prepaid cards are used in conjunction with other methods of payments for the same transaction, retailers may end up actually losing money on the sale according to this article from American Banker. The problem arises when customers are unsure of the remaining balance on their cards. As a result, cashiers may have to ring up a card several times to determine the balance remaining. For each of those transactions, even if denied, may result in an interchange fee. Mallory Duncan, Senior VP for National Retail Federation noted that

"The profit margin in the retail industry is extremely narrow. The average after-tax profit of the average retailer is about 2%, and for some it's less. In the grocery store arena, it's about 1%, so if you start adding on fees, you're actually losing money."

Compounding the problem is the high turn over rate for the retail industry, leading to increased training costs in the proper way to handle such scenarios. To combat this problem some companies, such as American Express are informing consumers on their websites that

"Some retailers, particularly department stores, will only allow a 'split tender' transaction if the second form of payment is cash or check."

Mr Duncan also notes, however, that there is a simple solution by simply upgrading the system. As the prepaid industry grows, companies may have to just face the costs of the upgrade in order to keep up with the latest trends.

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Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Pay For Coffee Using Wireless Cards

This latest article in Business Week reveals that customers at Coffee Republic will be able to pay up to £10 worth of goods by simply touching their Barclayscards to a reader.

Coffee Republic and Barclays have teamed up for a One Touch System in which customers can touch their Barclayscards to a reader avoiding the need to sign for the transaction or to enter a PIN number. The main advantage to the One Touch System is that it has decreased the time taken per transaction, thus it has sped up service significantly, especially during peak retail hours. No signs of fraudulent activity have been reported yet, and more than 4,000 retail outlets have already gone live with the One Touch System.

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Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Gaming gets Prepaid Cards

In a recent news article at Austin Business Journal, they reveal that NC Soft has teamed up with InComm in order to issue prepaid cards for certain games. Focusing on the online titles City of Heroes, Tabula Rosa, and Exteel, gift cards valued at $10 and $20 will be sold at Target, Best Buy and Rite Aid for 30 days of play.

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Monday, July 28, 2008

Prepaid Card for the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics

Bank of China, one of the largest banking institutions in China, announced in this press release, that they are issuing the Great Wall Prepaid Card. The bank is the exclusive banking partner of the Bejing 2008 Olympic games, and was the first institution authorized for this type of prepaid card that will specifically remove payment barriers for visitors from around the globe. The card will be issued from July 25 till the end of the games, and will be available at all BOC branches in Beijing. The Great Wall prepaid card will be offered in various RMB denominations and will be in accordance with China Union pay, the supplier of the banking transaction platform in China.

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Friday, July 25, 2008

Heartland Payment Systems to Offer a Full Suite of Electronic Payment Processing Services

Business Wire reports that Heartland Payment Systems has partnered with Arkansas Community Bankers Association to provide its members banks with credit/debit/prepaid card processing, gift cards, payroll, and check management services.

Brad Wilson, director of bank alliances at Heartland mentions:

“We have seen firsthand how Heartland can help community and regional banks better serve their business banking customers. Our new relationship with the ACB will expand our network in the state, helping the banks’ customers manage their payments processing and enhance operational efficiencies.”

Heartland services more than 250,000 businesses nationwide, and now member banks have the added benefit of reaching Heartland’s business clients.

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Thursday, July 24, 2008

MasterCard RePower introduced to Europe

As reported by AllPayNews, Altair Financial Services has joined forces with MasterCard to introduce the first prepaid card system to Europe that uses MasterCard Repower. The first company to issue the cards will be Newcastle Building Society in spring 2009.

This comes just after MasterCard recently announced that they had formed an alliance with Payzone, who is a vendor that provides convenient places for prepaid card users to refill their cards with cash. MasterCard is making a push for giving unbanked Europeans a way to easily load their cards around the UK.

Lee Briton, Altair CEO, had this to say about their partnership:

“MasterCard rePower will bring a valuable service to millions of unbanked and financially underserved individuals throughout Europe. MasterCard rePower will enable issuers and acquirers to reach emerging markets, broaden acceptance opportunities, convert cash purchases to card transactions and to take advantage of the rapidly growing market for prepaid products.”

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Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Bank of America and Visa Team up for 2008 Olympic and Paralympic Games

Bank of America has decided to partner with Visa to create a prepaid card for both the Olympic and Paralympic games this summer as announced in this article. The card is being provided to athletes as well as staff members and will allow them access to their funds across Beijing as well as throughout the world while being protected by both companies Zero Liability policy. The prepaid card will display the images of the U.S. flag in conjunction with the Olympic rings.

Visa spokesperson, Antonio Lucio, released this comment:

"Visa prepaid cards continue to gain popularity as cardholders demand more choice and flexibility in how they pay and want to be paid. By providing a more convenient and secure way to pay, Visa prepaid cards will help simplify one critical aspect of the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Team's journey, so they can focus on what's most important."

Bank of America spokeswomen Anne Saunders also had this to say

"We're thrilled to offer this card to the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Team. The athletes now have the flexibility to purchase what they want, where they want. The U.S. Olympic Team prepaid card will allow them to dine, purchase souvenirs and enjoy the Olympic and Paralympic experience with one, easy-to- use funds access solution."

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Tuesday, July 22, 2008

TransCard Has a New CTO

According to this latest post on the ePaymentsnews Network, TransCard, a leading prepaid debit card services that is branded with the Discover Network, has named David M Samples as its new chief technology officer. His new role will include managing the strategic technology focus of the company, and he will report directly to Craig Fuller, TransCard’s CEO.

Prior to joining TransCard, Samples was COO of Instruction Management and director of Systems Architecture at US Xpress Enterprises.

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Monday, July 21, 2008

edo Interactive introduces Facecard

edo Interactive introduced a new prepaid card, Facecard, at the beginning of July. ManageSmarter talked about the card here. Their goal was to combine their infrastructure of prepaid card design with a social network in order to target the millennial generation. Not only will this card have online capabilities, but also will provide the users with incentivized payment options at retailers around the world. edoCash will be a “prewards” function, where retailers deposit money on the card to be used at their store. The card was initially publicized at the Bonnaroo Festival this year to reach in order to reach their target audience.

Ed Braswell, the president and CEO of edo Interactive had this to say about the card:

"The Facecard Prepaid MasterCard simplifies the spending for our card members, and also creates a strong financial responsibility. It is a general purpose reload card that leverages online services and mobile messaging, as well as connects retailers to card members to offer incentivized purchasing opportunities."

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Friday, July 18, 2008

Earthport and TransSend Sign Contract

TransSend, a division of Conister Financial Group that “provides innovative payment solutions to the business world”, and Earthport, a specialist electronic payments company for “International ‘Bank-2-Bank’ payments” have signed a contract to start an integration between the two organizations as reported by TradingMarkets. As summarized in the article:

Earthport will provide global card - loading and unloading, together with global payments and remittances. Under this agreement subsequent projects include Affiliate Commission Payments for the leisure industry, payroll and remittance solutions for the Middle East region with financial institutions. TransSend, whose cards use the global A infrastructure, will be integrated to Earthport's utility.

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Thursday, July 17, 2008

PlaySpan Purchases PayByCash

PlaySpan, formerly known as Tradeits Inc. has acquired PayByCash. The latter company is a non-credit card payment organization that specializes in products such as the “Ultimate Game Card” which, as stated in this press release, is “fast becoming the most popular payment method among hard-to-reach gaming demographics”. While details regarding the price of the deal was not mentioned, Karl Mehta, CEO/founder of PlaySpan released this statement:

“PayByCash’s 10 year reputation in the global game industry, operational experience of millions of transactions each year and the trust of millions of gamers is a great addition to our in-game marketplace platform. We are excited about the synergies of our businesses and will continue to promote PayByCash’s global payment platform to our publisher partners worldwide.”

Kevin Higgins, president of PayByCash added this statement:

“PlaySpan and PayByCash have complementary missions. PayByCash handles payments from consumers across the globe, and PlaySpan gives publishers a place for gamers to spend it. We believe that our publisher partners will continue to benefit from our strong operational and global expertise to drive their micro-transaction revenues.”

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Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Credit Card Fair Act of 2008

The ePaymentsnews Network reports that MasterCard urged the Judiciary Committee’s members to consider the organizations that have expressed concerns regarding the Credit Card Fair Act of 2008, which is set in place to ensure competitive market-based rates and terms for merchants’ access to electronic payment systems.

The major concern is that the bill will increase interest rates for credit cardholders, harm local businesses and threaten community-based banks. Several other organizations and companies are against the legislation, here are some of them: Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission, the Pentagon Federal Credit Union, Black Chamber of Commerce and Southern Christian Leadership Conference, and Nordstrom.

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Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Futura® Card Services has a New CEO

BusinessWire reports today that Kevin Lake, has replaced Vicente Mota as CEO and president of Futura® Card Services reporting to the board of directors of Stored Value Cards.

Lake mentions:

“I share the board’s excitement about the stored value card marketplace and the opportunity to establish the suite of Futura Prepaid MasterCard® debit card products as industry leaders. I look forward to working with our ISO channel partners, distributors and retailers to expand our market presence, as well as introducing innovative branded and private label programs for the enterprise, including new reloadable general spend debit cards, gift cards and wage disbursement cards.”

With extensive experience in retail, industrial and financial services sectors, will Lake be able to continue Futura® Card Services’s growth in the prepaid market?

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Monday, July 14, 2008

HBC Offers Prepaid Gift Card Sales Across Canada

The ePaymentsnews Network reports that HBC, a Canadian mass merchandise department store, has partnered with SelectCore, a premiere provider of communication products, for the sale of HBC prepaid gift cards across Canada.

Read the entire article here.

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Friday, July 11, 2008

New Prepaid Accreditation Scheme Introduced

The prepaid industry has been experiencing some bad press. This has led to the creation of a new accreditation system by Prepaid International Forum (PIF) as reported on SibosOnline. The PIF is comprised of over 40 members including MasterCard, JPMorgan Chase, and American Express.

For now, the scheme is for members only, who if compliant, will be given an accreditation certificate and license to use the PIF accreditation symbol. Compliant companies will still face periodic review, and PIF will retain the right to with withdraw the certificate and license.

Chairman of PIF, Chris Reddish, made this statement to the press,

“Today’s announcement represents a significant step forward for the prepaid industry. As the demand for prepaid services gathers pace, it is essential that the industry takes the lead in establishing and policing the levels of service necessary to underpin consumer confidence and the continued growth of prepaid.”

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Thursday, July 10, 2008

Pemco Technologies offer Prepaid Solutions

According to this latest article on, Pemco Technologies is launching a comprehensive prepaid card program which will include reloadable cards, youth cards, gift cards, and travel cards.

The prepaid gift cards will have over thirty designs to choose from, and will be available to consumers and large orders can be made for commercial clients. Pemco’s travel prepaid cards will be accepted internationally, and can be reloaded up to 23 times. Pemco youth prepaid cards will have the option for parents to review their children’s financial transactions while still teaching youth spending practices. Lastly, reloadable cards can be created up to $3,000, and they can be used as a debit card nearly everywhere.

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Wednesday, July 9, 2008

New Payment Method for Social Security Payments

For Social Security and other federal benefits, the U.S. Treasury has decided to offer an alternative for paper checks in the form of the Direct Express Debit MasterCard as announced in this article from CCH. The main purpose is to offer individuals who do not have a bank account a safe way to receive their money. The offer will be made available to only ten states initially with a nation wide release set for later this summer.

Judith Tillman, a FMS commissioner made this statement:

"People without bank accounts now have a user-friendly, practical alternative to paper checks for their monthly federal benefit payments. We know that many check recipients are eager for a card-based option for their federal benefits, and we are confident the Direct Express card will provide many Americans an important entry point to the financial mainstream."

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Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Australian Card Fees Soar

The ePaymentsnews Network reports that a recent study conducted by MWE Consulting in Australia shows that credit card fees have increased nearly 170 percent in the past five years.

In some cases annual fees for reward cards, the most popular form of credit among Australians, have grown by 40 percent over the last five years. The study suggests that this increase in rates is most likely caused by the switch from standard cards which have an average annual fee of USD 29 to no-frill low-rate cards which have an average annual fee of about 48 USD. Merchant fees also saw an increase, moving from 21 percent of total business bank fees in 1997 to 26 percent in 2007.

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Monday, July 7, 2008

Income Access and Intercash/TransSend Form Partnership

This press release, from PRWeb, states that Income Access affiliates, which number over 17,000, will now have a new way to access their funds. Now affiliates will be able to retrieve their income through a prepaid MasterCard that can be used at ATM’s and Point-Of-Sales anywhere MasterCard is accepted. This statement was released by CEO, Nicky Senyar, regarding the partnership.

"Here at Income Access, we've always been committed to giving our affiliates the support and tools they need to succeed. We're proud, then, to offer them more tools to enjoy that success. Through Intercash's versatile payment solution system, affiliates will be instantly access their monthly revenues in cash form without any of the delays or inconveniences of conventional banking."

Another perk for affiliates is that they will be given the option to have the currency deposited in either, USD, GBP, or the EURO.

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Thursday, July 3, 2008

New Alliance between Macerich and American Express

Announced Tuesday, American Express will now be the gift card provider for Macerich, a leading owner, manager and developer of regional shopping centers. This five year agreement will have American Express providing open-loop gift cards. It will also give Macerich the chance for new marketing and promotional programs.

COO of Macerich, Tony Grossi, had this to say about the new partnership:

American Express brings us a level of quality and innovation that aligns with our own focus on delivering outstanding retail experiences for our consumers and our retail partners. American Express understands consumer shopping behavior and excels at marketing their products while Macerich properties offer American Express a great opportunity to reach high-quality consumers and affect their purchasing decisions. We think this is a great match.

(Source: Fox News)

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Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Parago Delivers Prepaid Card Solutions for Staples Easy Rebates

According to this latest press release on PRNewswire, Staples has chosen Parago Inc., a leader in technology driven incentive reward programs, to transition its current paper check rebates to a prepaid card rebate system.

This official launch comes after a very successful test prepaid card rebate launch in January 2008. Jim Sherlock, Director of Sales & Merchandising for Staples, Inc. mentions:

"Our customers continue to give us extremely positive feedback on our program, and moving to network branded prepaid cards was the next evolution. Our customers and our store associates are very enthusiastic about the change."

A survey conducted by Parago showed that 70% of consumers were content with using network branded prepaid cards over paper checks because of its ease of use and convenience. According to the Mercator advisor group the prepaid card industry is estimated to account for $236 billion in spending by 2009 as more and more companies begin to replace traditional paper checks to prepaid branded cards.

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Tuesday, July 1, 2008

FNDS3000 Has a New Strategic Partner in Australis Financial Services (PTY)

A few days ago we brought you news of FNDS3000 and their integration with Bankserv, which allowed FNDS3000 cards to be used at nearly all ATMs located in South Africa. In latest news, from Yahoo! Finance, FNDS3000 have announced a strategic partnership with Australis Financial Services (PTY). Victoria Vaksman, Executive Vice President of Europe, Middle East and Africa, for FNDS3000 Corp had this to say:

"We welcome Australis Financial Services (PTY) Limited to our base of Worldwide Strategic Partners. We expect AFS to aggressively market our prepaid card solutions to their customer base in Africa. AFS will be promoting our prepaid cards through their customer base which constitutes millions of card holders utilizing AFS's closed loop prepaid cards and their bill payment system.”

In a statement from George Rudman, CEO of Australis Financial Services (PTY):

"We welcome the opportunity to expand our card offering from purely closed loop prepaid cards to prepaid debit cards which have international acceptance. This offering will greatly enhance card adoption within our customer bases located through the African continent and will contribute significantly to our earnings."

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