Issue 09:11:A - November 12, 2009
Prepaid in brief
Cybergang charged in RBS Worldpay hack
Four Eastern European men were indicted in connection with the cardholder data breach at prepaid card issuer and processor RBS Worldpay Inc. Individuals from Russia, Estonia and the Republic of Moldova, were charged by a federal grand jury in Atlanta with wire fraud, conspiracy to commit wire fraud, computer fraud, conspiracy to commit computer fraud, access device fraud and aggravated identity theft.
Four more men, each from Estonia, were indicted for access device fraud.
The breach, which was discovered by RBS Worldpay in November 2008 and publically disclosed the following month, reportedly resulted in an ATM scam that netted fraudsters $9 million. The coordinated attack spanned cities in the United States, Canada, Russia and Asia.
"Through the diligent efforts of the victim company and multiple law enforcement agencies within the United States and around the world, the leaders of a technically advanced computer hacking group were identified and indicted in Atlanta, sending a clear message to cyber-criminals across the globe," said Greg Jones, FBI Atlanta Field Office Special Agent-in-Charge.
Two CFSI groups join to serve underbanked
The Center for Financial Services Innovation's Nonprofit Development Lab and its Underbanked Solutions Exchange met for the first time to address best practices for serving the underbanked. "By combining these two networks, our diverse group of participants will be able to learn from each other and share ideas and first-hand intelligence on best practices in serving the underbanked market," said Karen Andres, Relationship Manager for CFSI.
The Nonprofit Development Lab comprises nonprofit executives and is sponsored by grants from the Citi Foundation and The Walmart Foundation. The Underbanked Solutions Exchange consists of mid-sized financial institutions and receives some of its support from Meta Payment Systems. The CFSI, a nonprofit affiliate of ShoreBank Corp., was founded in 2004 to inform, connect and invest in services for the underbanked consumer.
"CFSI is committed to deepening nonprofits' understanding of financial institutions' views and efforts around serving the underbanked and vice versa," said Sarah Gordon, Nonprofit Relationship Manager at CFSI. "Our hope is that participants will leave the convening better positioned to develop and maintain successful cross-sector partnerships."
CFSI declared a policy initiative to provide national leadership and new ideas for improving access to reasonably priced financial services for the underbanked population in the United States.
FunCoins circulating in more countries
Mobile social gaming community Cellufun Inc. said FunCoin virtual currency is now available for mobile digital goods transactions in more than 25 countries. FunCoin payments, which are charged to consumers' mobile phone accounts, allow users to purchase Cellufun virtual goods.
Coinstar reports revenue jump
Coinstar Inc.'s third quarter 2009 financial results indicate revenue of $296 million, which is a year-over-year increase of 45.5 percent. "In the third quarter, our core DVD rental and coin-counting businesses continued to produce solid results at both the top and bottom line," said Paul Davis, Chief Executive Officer of Coinstar.
GiftCards.com launches no fee cards
GiftCards.com LLC launched its new No Fee Cards, which can be purchased on its Web site in denominations of $20 to $500. The cards carry no fees for monthly maintenance, transactions, replacement or expiration. Consumers can choose from hundreds of designs to personalize the cards.
MoneyGram reports steady growth
MoneyGram International Inc.'s third quarter 2009 financial results revealed a money transfer volume increase of 6 percent (excluding bill payment). Money transfer fees and other revenues climbed by 3 percent over the prior year. MoneyGram reported a 2009 year-to-date revenue of $875.5 million; the company earned $608.1 million during the same period in 2008.
In other news, MoneyGram's MoneyGram Rewards moved into the Canadian market. The program had been launched in the United States in 2008, followed by releases in Germany, Spain and France earlier this year.
Parago's Reeves honored
The Dallas Business Journal awarded its CFO of the Year in the Midsized Private Companies category to Mae Reeves, Chief Financial Officer of Parago Inc., a rewards-based incentive provider. Parago received other awards or recognition this year from the Dallas Business Journal, PROMO magazine, and the Dallas chapter of the Council of Better Business Bureaus Inc.
Visa expands money transfer service
Visa Inc. extended its Visa Money Transfer Service to greater China and the United Arab Emirates. The card brand also released a new managed service to reduce time and investment required by financial institutions to bring its Visa Money Transfer Service to its customers.
VoiceCash has twins
VoiceCash Group launched a prepaid MasterCard twin-card – the Blauworld Prepaid MasterCard for the German market. Consumers receive two cards, one to keep and use, and one to give to a recipient to facilitate cross-border money transfers.
Western Union jams with hip-hop artist
The Western Union Co., global payment money transfer specialist, signed a strategic alliance with multi-platinum Grammy-Award winning international recording artist Wyclef Jean to promote Western Union Money Transfer and prepaid services to consumers in the United States.
As part of its new prepaid gift card offerings, Western Union unveiled Western Union Wyclef Jean Visa prepaid gift card featuring the artist's name and image.
First Data, Valid Systems team
A new partnership between First Data Corp. and Valid Systems promises to enable U.S. grocery and convenience stores to cash payroll checks for customers quickly and with reduced risk. Consumers will be able to receive funds in cash or on a First Data Money Network card, a prepaid card accepted online and at millions of merchant locations, as well as at more than 1 million ATMs worldwide.
TMG signs two CUs
Funded by a $40,000 Innovation Grant from the National Credit Union Foundation, Affinity Credit Union's new reloadable card powered by The Members Group is designed to serve the Hispanic community. Additionally, Affinity partnered with Coopera Consulting, a consulting firm specializing in emerging markets, to deliver prepaid solutions to the Hispanic market.
In other news, Midland Credit Union, in a partnership with TMG, now offers reloadable cards to its more than 4,700 members. The card program comes with a text message option that enables cardholders to monitor their accounts. TMG is a wholly owned subsidiary of Iowa-based Affiliates Management Co.
MoneyGram furthers alliance
MoneyGram International extended its agreement with Forex Bank, a foreign exchange bureau it has partnered with since 2004. "Forex Bank has delivered strong transaction growth year-on-year," said Mark Crowson, Regional Director for Northern Europe at MoneyGram.
Plastyc delivers virtual paper
Plastyc Inc., a prepaid service provider that caters to Web-savvy young adults, teamed with Integration Inc. to offer a virtual solution whereby consumers can write and send paper checks without resorting to checkbooks, stamps and envelopes. Instead, a paper check is sent on their behalf when they request it through an online portal at Upside Card or iBankUp.
PlaySpan, PayPal get in the game
PayPal Inc.'s PayPal X application programming interface to provide added convenience for consumers purchasing digital goods. Consumers can now make purchases without leaving their online game sites.
ProfitPoint makes iContact
Stored-value card provider ProfitPoint joined iContact Corp. to offer iContact's e-mail marketing services to ProfitPoint customers. ProfitPoint will also use the services internally for marketing. Both companies ranked in the top 100 on the 2008 Inc. 500 list of fastest growing private companies.
Transcard teams with UNB
Electronic payment and prepaid debit card provider TransCard signed an agreement with University National Bank to jointly deliver prepaid programs, prepaid products and mobile bank accounts for unbanked and underbanked individuals. TransCard President Jerry Uffner said that with this partnership, TransCard can "reach a wider, more diverse audience of people who can use prepaid cards to manage their money more cost effectively."
Univision to launch prepaid cards
New York-based Spanish language media company Univision Communications Inc. teamed with MasterCard Worldwide to offer Univision Prepaid MasterCard Card and the Univision MasterCard Gift Card. The cards will be launched in 2010.
ZAPA selects ViVOtech for NFC
ZAPA Technology Ltd. selected ViVOtech Inc.'s loyalty and prepaid card platform for its mobile loyalty and gift card processing services in Europe. The ViVOtech platform will power the ZAPA TAG sticker, which can be affixed to mobile phones. ViVOtech's over-the-air provisioning software will be integrated at a future date.
Jack Henry takes Pemco
Jack Henry & Associates Inc. is set to acquire Pemco Technologies, a wholly owned subsidiary of PEMCO Corp. of Seattle. Pemco Technologies is a payment solution provider specializing in credit unions. Details of the transactions were undisclosed.
VoiceCash taps Belarj
VoiceCash Services GmbH & Co. KG, a prepaid and money transfer provider, appointed Mohamed Belarj to the position of CEO for the company's Middle East region. Belarj's experience includes a stint as a General Manager for MasterCard.