I2C cloud-based payment processing is providing Heartland Payment Systems prepaid card processing services. The companies’ first collaboration is the National Restaurant Association’s (NRA) Edge prepaid card program, which runs on the Discover® network. The Edge card allows restaurant employees to deposit their paychecks, load funds, receive employer-sponsored incentives and earn cash rewards on a general purpose prepaid card. i2c’s prepaid card payment processing platform will serve as the system of record for Edge accounts and enable the introduction of new card features such as card-linked offers and real-time mobile alerts.
More than 40% of American workers believe the U.S. economy is in a recession. The latest “Principal Financial Well-Being Index” also found that another 46% of workers believe the economy is headed for a recession. The index also revealed that more than two-thirds of workers are very concerned about their long-term financial future. Sixty percent of workers expressed concern about their ability to save for retirement, while nearly half expressed concern about even being able to cover monthly expenses and reduce credit card debt or pay off short-term debt.
A new survey has found that 41% of teens consider themselves knowledgeable about how to budget money, 34% know how to pay bills, 26% know how credit card interest and fees work, 24% know whether a check cashing service is good to use and 14% know how income taxes work or what a 401(k) plan. More than half believe that “it is easier to buy things with a credit card than cash” and, given the choice, 29% would actually prefer using a credit card, a 61% increase in this stated preference over last year. The research by Charles Schwab also found that American teens confidently predict a future in which, based on the career that interests them most, they will be earning an average annual salary of $145,500 (boys expect $173,000 vs. girls, $114,200). The reality: Only five percent of the U.S. population currently earns a six-figure income, and the average national wage stands at approximately $40,000.
Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club this morning announced a new system to enable customers to pay for FSA eligible health care merchandise with their FSA debit card. The “Inventory Information Approval System” automatically identifies FSA eligible merchandise during the checkout process. Once all items have been scanned, a total is displayed for the entire transaction showing both FSA and non-FSA merchandise. The customer can then use an FSA card for payment of FSA eligible merchandise and then pay for the non-FSA merchandise with another form of payment.
Metavante is providing electronic substantiation of over-the-counter FSA-eligible purchases for customers using the “MBI Benefits Card” at 477 Longs Drugs in California, Hawaii, Nevada, Washington, Oregon and Colorado. As paper-based substantiation and reimbursement processes disappear, FSA administrators can gain efficiencies associated with reductions in documentation requests and manual transaction analysis to verify purchase eligibility. More than 19,000 employers offer the MBI Benefits Card to their employees, resulting in 1.8 million of the most widely used, nationally accepted benefits debit card in consumers’ hands. Metavante Corporation delivers banking and payments technologies to financial services firms and businesses worldwide.
NY-based TransitCenter is adding a pre-paid card to its product suite in August in a continuing effort to replace its 20 year old paper “TransitChek Voucher.” The new “TransitChek Card” is anonymous, reloadable and permits employees to set aside up to $105 a month of their pre-tax earnings to pay for transit commuting costs and up to $205 a month for commuter parking. More than 11,000 employers and 500,000 employees, mostly in the New York City metro area, currently participate in the employer-sponsored “TransitChek” program. The Company is an independent nonprofit corporation and the only specialized provider of tax-free commuter benefits, transit information and assistance. The new card is available in a broader choice of dollar values, including $76 and $105 denominations. Employees can check their card balances through TransitCenter’s Web site and employees can transfer remaining balances from an old card to a new card. TransitCenter currently offers paper “TransitChek Vouchers,” “TransitChek MetroCards” and the “TransitChek QuickPay” debit card.
A new survey has found that U.S. workers would pay down debt with an extra paycheck, rather than use the money to buy themselves an extravagant gift or make a down payment on a new car. The Ceridian poll found that 29% of respondents would use the extra money to pay down debt compared to the 15% who would save the money. Managers were more likely than executives to report that they would pay down debt with an extra paycheck; managers were largely split between paying down debt and investing the money. Ceridian notes that March 2006 is just one month in which U.S. workers who are paid every other week (rather than monthly or semi-monthly, for example) receive three paychecks.
The quarterly A.G. Edwards “Nest Egg Score” found that more than half of all U.S. adults listed reducing overall household expenses as a high priority in the next 90 days, followed by paying down credit card debt (47%) and paying more often with cash (45%). The A.G. Edwards Nest Egg Score is a single, quarterly, three-digit numerical rating that represents a measure of the relative strength or weakness of Americans’ wealth-building performance, similar to the scoring systems used to evaluate creditworthiness.
Michigan-based MedDirect Health Benefits and Tennessee-based 1Point Solutions have introduced an HSA-based card called the “Bridge Card Smart Debit MasterCard” “MedDirect HSA Plus” offers a savings account, mutual funds and FDIC/SIPC protection, as well as overdraft protection, an employer-sponsored benefit available to all employees regardless of their creditworthiness. MedDirect Health Benefits offers financing to patients seeking a more affordable way to pay for elective healthcare and dental procedures. 1Point Solutions is a medical spending administrator and provider of retirement and employee benefit programs.
Amisys Synertech has inked a deal to market the “Benny” debit card from Evolution Benefits.
Minneapolis-based UnitedHealth Group, which utilizes the MasterCard network to transmit and receive insurance eligibility and benefit data, reported yesterday it has issued seven million electronic benefit cards to its 18 million employer-sponsored health benefits customers. The consumer identification cards can be swiped through any point-of-sale device at a hospital, physician office or other care location, and utilize the MasterCard network to transmit and receive important insurance eligibility and benefit data. UnitedHealth Group is a diversified enterprise that provides a full spectrum of resources and services to help people achieve improved health and well-being through all stages of life.
Consumers who stay on a debt management program for 18 months increase their level of satisfaction with their current financial situation by 25%. FL-based InCharge Institute of America says clients of its non-profit Profina Debt Solutions reported decreases in the incidence of financial stressors such as receiving overdue notices (down 55%), telephone calls from creditors (down 54%), calls from bill collectors (down 60%), and writing a check with insufficient funds (down 43%). InCharge also found a 74% decrease in the incidence of cash advances on credit cards as well as a 66% decrease in using a cash advance to pay another creditor. Active clients also reported a 44% reduction in writing bad checks with insufficient funds in their accounts. The population for the study was 4,000, the sample was 1,800, and the return rate for the sample was 25 percent. Over 70% of the people participated in the panel study for 18 months. Sixty percent were females and 40 percent were males. Most were within the age grouping of 26 to 39 years. The average monthly income for Profina clients is $2,300, average age is 37, average number of unsecured credit accounts is 7, and the average unsecured debt enrolled in the program is $13,000.