Plastyc Introduces the iBankUP Product

Plastyc has introduced its “iBankUP” internet-based money management service to offer a cheaper guide for financial independence. As an online account linked to a prepaid debit card and an online checkbook “iBankUP” provides users a single balance in real time without pending deposits or payments. As an alternative to debit cards, credit cards and checking accounts, the new service provides an up-to-the-minute account balance for all purchase transactions in real time, not when they clear; access from any computer, cell phone or personal Facebook account; allows payment to anyone who prefers paper checks with an online checkbook; to receive direct deposits from employers, transfers from family and friends; and to load cash onto the card at more than 60,000 retailers nationwide.

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ACS Signs S.C. Dept of Social Services

Affiliated Computer Services will manage South Carolina’s
Department of Social Services child support payment processing center.
ACS will work with the state to modernize and centralize its method of
collecting and distributing child support by creating a state
disbursement unit for payment processing and customer care,
expected to handle approximately 3.5 million transactions each year.
Custodial parents will now have the option to receive child support
payments on a debit card, which offers fast, convenient and safe access
to funds and is accepted at thousands of retailers and ATMs. CS will
also provide call center services to respond to general child support
questions. ACS manages 24
electronic payment card programs for state and federal clients,
disbursing government payments and benefits; processes nearly 570
million Medicaid claims each year totaling more than $50 billion in
provider payments; saves state child care programs millions of dollars;
services student loans for more than 11 million borrowers; and
facilitates more than 75 million online searches for unclaimed property
per year.

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Linda Perry Heads to ISTS Worldwide

Retail and payment verticals consultant ISTS Worldwide
have hired Linda S. Perry, previously SVP/Head of US Acquirer and Processor
Sales at Visa as EVP Global Sales & Marketing. At Visa, Perry
established and developed the department that manages Visa’s
relationships with its member-bank acquirers, third-party issuing and
acquiring processors, software vendors, and independent sales organizations.
During her career at Visa she was recognized by Transaction World Magazine as the
2007 “Mover and Shaker” (an award determined by a vote of her peers in
the industry) and in 2008 was featured as an “Industry Leader” by The
Greensheet, another industry publication. Perry is a founder and
Board member of Women Networking in Electronic Transactions (W-net) and
is a member of the ISO and Agent Advisory Board and also served as a member of The Electronic Transaction
Association’s Board of Directors for the past 13 years.

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AmEx Ignites the Charge Card War with Gold

As competition ramps-up, American Express announced the launch of a new charge card that offers the opportunity to earn triple “Membership Rewards” points on airfare purchases, double points on gas and grocery purchases, and one point for all other purchases. The new
“Premier Rewards Gold Card,” which carries a $175 annual fee, enables cardholders to earn 15,000 bonus points when they spend $30,000 per calendar year. The new card is part of American Express’ renewed focus on its “Charge Card” portfolio. The new “Premier Rewards Gold Card” also offers access to special amenities valued at $100 to $150 on virtually any trip from American Express Gold Card Destinations travel partners; a $75 food and beverage credit whenever they book a stay of two or more consecutive nights at more than 500 Starwood properties around the world; a wide variety of exclusive, unique travel and entertainment packages that are updated monthly online; and gold card events, which offers access to advance tickets and premium seating at some of the most sought-after shows and concerts, as well as VIP packages, exclusive tickets to family events.

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RAHAXI PROCESSING

Rahaxi Processing has signed agreements with the Kultajousi jeweller
chain to supply its OTI solution. Rahaxi Processing will provide more
than 60 of the Kultajousi stores in 27 different cities in Finland with
its services. Rahaxi provides mission-critical solutions to the
financial industry worldwide. Working with merchants and acquirers in
more than twenty countries, it has adopted a partnership strategy for
growth while its subsidiaries, including Rahaxi Processing, FreeStar
Technologies Ireland and FreeStar Dominicana Dominican Republic,
continue to develop and implement first class products and solutions
that enhance the service level its partners can offer their customers.

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PROTIVA SMART GUARDIAN

Gemalto digital security has introduced its “Protiva Smart Guardian”
personal security USB device. The smart card enabled device offers
digital data integrity and data loss prevention for enterprises and
specifically targets nomad workforces. Combining endpoint control and
secure data storage for protecting sensitive information, “Protiva Smart
Guardian” guarantees an unsurpassed level of security, since the
encrypted data never leaves the device, while attempts to tamper with
the device will cause the token to zero-out its contents. “Smart
Guardian” provides two-factor authentication based on the USB token
combined with their passphrase to ensures only authorized users have
access to encrypted data and require no user training.

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National Retail Federation Goes Nuclear

The National Retail Federation went nuclear asserting that credit card companies are in an “arms race” to increase the $48 billion in swipe fees paid by merchants and their customers each year. Ignoring the fact that the card payment networks have created the greatest payment systems network in history, beyond anything the U.S. has in a payment infrastructure, the NRF says it now wants credit card acceptance on the cheap and has used 7-Eleven as a poster child. The NRF says there is an arms race to create cards with higher fees and more bells and whistles, but market checks that would normally exist to curb this escalation in fees are diminished because the card companies know that every merchant is required to take these expensive new cards or lose their ability to accept any cards. The Welch-Shuster bill would allow the most expensive cards to be refused, and while the NRF expects that few merchants would actually refuse cards if this were passed, it would make the card companies think before they reflexively introduce cards with higher fees.

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OVERALL SPENDING

American Express is launching a major brand advertising campaign, exploring a new perspective to ‘Realize The Potential’. Inviting consumers to reassess perspective of the brand and the role that American Express plays in supporting and enhancing people’s lives, ‘Realize the Potential’ refers both to the potential that people have to enjoy rich and rewarding lives and considers potential in providing a range of services to enhance lifestyles. Through a completely animated 45 second TV spot seen in Mexico, the UK, Australia and Canada, the new campaign is based on simple illustrations against a dramatic black background and bold, colorful graphics. A significant portion of the multi-million dollar budget is dedicated to Digital and will focus on building American Express’ brand presence across entertainment, travel and lifestyle sites.

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MetroPCS Comm to Deploy Firethorn M-Banking

Qualcomm’s Firethorn Holdings has entered into an agreement with
Dallas-based MetroPCS Communications through Firethorn’s “Mobile
Banking” application.
Consumers will be able to view their bank and credit card balances and
history, make transfers between their accounts, and pay their bills
securely from their mobile phones using a single PIN. They can also
check rewards information and review targeted, timely offers from their
financial institutions as part of the application’s evolving mobile
commerce capabilities. MetroPCS Communications is a provider of unlimited
wireless communications service for a flat-rate with no signed contract.
Currently and has access to licenses covering a population of
approximately 145 million people in the largest metropolitan areas in
the United States. As of June 30, 2009, MetroPCS had
approximately 6.3 million subscribers.

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1WORLD CARD

One World Ventures prepaid cards and Sponsor Bank have agreed to issue
the prepaid “1World Card” in the United States, for which the
partnership has applied for BIN and is awaiting regulatory approval. In
the interim, One World Ventures will work on terms and conditions for
using an outside processor and submission to Visa for marketing and logo
approval. This will provide consumers without bank accounts a
re-loadable debit card allowing them to avoid high costs of check
cashing and money order fees. The card will interface with our
international partners providing low cost remittance for our customers.
One World Ventures holding company with management resourced in Asia and
the United States that invests in technologies, communities and systems
facilitating trade, finance, communication and travel.

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