MasterCard Supports Secondary Education Scholarship

The MasterCard Foundation and Equity Group Foundation announced a $50 million partnership that will provide secondary education scholarships and leadership development to 5,600 students in Kenya. The scholarships through the “Wings to Fly” program will cover tuition, books, uniforms and stipends for students who are academically gifted yet economically disadvantaged, enabling them to complete their secondary education. As a result of Kenya’s Free Primary Education Policy, primary school enrolment in Kenya dramatically increased from 5.8 million in 2003 to 8.6 million in 2008. Recognizing the critical importance of secondary education, the launch of the program comes at a time when the first class of students who began primary school in 2003 is now entering secondary school. In addition to comprehensive secondary education support, the young scholars will also receive leadership training, career guidance and mentoring.

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New Canaan bank takes on ‘foreign’ ATM fees

BNC Financial Group is reimbursing its account holders for ATM charges incurred at other banks, promoting to depositors and potential clients the idea they don’t have to bank at a large financial institution to avoid the costly fees. BNC Financial and Liberty did their due diligence and understand the financial impact of adopting such reimbursement programs. Customers of BNC incur particularly high ATM fees, being based out of a New York City commuter area, a City where the Bank has no branches nor ATMs.

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Visa Marks Further Expansion to Latin America

Visa puts some of the world’s most exotic and luxurious hotels and resorts at the fingertips of its Visa Platinum, Signature and Infinite cardholders in Latin America and the Caribbean with the launch of the Visa Luxury Hotel Collection (VLHC) benefits platform in the region. This new premium travel offering enables Visa affluent cardholders to find, book, and enjoy unique benefits at a hand-selected group of prestigious properties through the regional website in Spanish: www.visaluxuryhotelcollection.com.The Visa Luxury Hotel Collection offers cardholders access to a number of perks, which may include the best available rate, a room upgrade, VIP guest status, complimentary valet parking or internet access, a food and beverage voucher, complimentary continental breakfast, and late checkout privileges.

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Bluestar Partners With SATO for European Expanse

SATO has announced a pan-European distribution agreement with BlueStar POS, Mobility, RFID, Digital Signage, and ID and Security technology. This will provide European expansion for both organizations. BlueStar will distribute SATO products in the Nordic region (Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Norway), Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Iberia (Spain, Portugal, Andorra), France and Italy, where SATO is experiencing a significantly expanding reseller base. Its resellers will have a greater ability to offer their customers complete data collection and labelling solutions from a single source without long lead times.

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USA Tech Hits 109,000-Connections, Revenue Up 60%

USA Technologies wireless cashless transactions posted total revenue for the last quarter up 60% to $6.0 million compared to the year ago figure of $3.8 million. Meanwhile, revenue from recurring license and transaction fees was up 81% to $3.8 million compared to the year ago figure of $2.1 million and gross profit was $2.5 million, up 146% year-over-year on $1.0 million. This performance was thanks to the number of devices connected to its network having climbed a jaw-dropping 73% since last year to now connect 109,000 devices. Year-over-year, this realizes an 81% increase in license and transaction processing; cashless transactions processed having skyrocketed 94% to 15.9 million; processing volume having increased 75% to $26.2 million; and the number new USALive Network customers having boomed 81% since the year ago figure- 200 of whom were added during the past three months- totaling over 1,400 as of December 31, 2010.

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Small Business Confidence Drops From Mid-Year

U.S. small business confidence remained positive on the 108 HSBC Small Business Confidence Monitor. This demonstrates slightly renewed confidence from the year ago figure of 106 in 4Q/09, but is still not as high as it was in the middle of the year when it reached 120. The U.S. small business economic outlook has retracted over the past six months amid local economic growth concerns, with 80% of small businesses expecting the economy to remain the same or increase in the next six months and those expecting the local economy to grow having dropped to 14% from the 32% in 2Q/10. Subsequently, 76% plan to keep the number of staff unchanged. Additional HSBC findings show the number of U.S. businesses involved in international activities over the next two years jumped from 11% to 16%; 43% see an increase in local economic growth and 33% are planning to hire in 1H/11. Moreover, 32% of U.S. small businesses anticipate an increase in capital expenditure plans over the next six months versus 33 percent in 2Q2010.

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EMV Best for Securing mPayments

EMV is a secure technology for credit card/smart card transactions that is proven to reduce fraud, from which mobile payment solutions stand to benefit greatly. While there has been significant talk about the desire of the consumer to utilize cell phones for contactless payment, there are essential steps that must not be overlooked in order to make this desire a reality. Mobile payment transactions must be convenient and secure – a task where magnetic stripe transactions fail and EMV corrects through implementation of dynamic data. This provides a unique identifier for each transaction and ensures fraudsters and cyber thieves they cannot steal data used in a transaction and then repurpose it to commit identity theft.

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FNDS3000 Cards Issued Up 52%, Loads $13mm

FNDS3000 international prepaid processing posted its fiscal 1Q/11, with revenue totaled up from $78,000 to $365,000. These positive results are thanks in part to the number of prepaid cards issued and activated having increased to approximately 35,600- up 52% from the 23,400 active cards issued as of August 31, 2010- to which more than $13million was loaded. Throughout the quarter, FNDS3000 implemented several strategic reorganizational initiatives to streamline senior management; reduce corporate overhead; strengthen its South African business operations; and signed a $2.5 million, non-brokered equity financing agreement that will be closed in four tranches over a nine-month period. Net loss totaled $1,054,000 for a 7.5% decrease from $1,140,000.

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Western Union Expands Through Sberbank

Western Union plans to offer money transfer services across Russia through its latest agreement with Sberbank. In 2011, Sberbank is to offer consumer-to-consumer money transfers at 8,000 branches. The companies plan to expand the service and consider enabling customers to transfer money from their accounts online to any of the 386,000 Western Union offices around the world.

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MoneyGram International Expands Executive Team

MoneyGram International global money transfer has appointed Phyllis Skene-Stimac as SVP and chief compliance officer and Patricia Sullivan SVP, communications. Stimac brings to the roll 20 years’ experience running compliance programs for financial services institutions, most recently as Deputy Chief Compliance Officer at Western Union, and specializes in anti-money laundering and regulatory programs. She will focus on advancing MoneyGram’s Global Compliance efforts. Meanwhile, Sullivan brings to her new role more than 20 years’ marketing and public relations experience in consumer brands and financial services, most recently as senior director of communications for Blockbuster and will be responsible for reputation management and building brand awareness.

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Half of Can-Do-Cash ATMs EMV compliant

Over 50% of Canada-based Can-Do-Cash ATMs are now EMV compliant and have met The Interac Association’s deadline for ATM networks to do so by Dec. 31. This was thanks to its transaction processor, TNS Smart Network The Interac Association will require Can-Do-Cash and other Canada-based ATM operators have their entire fleet of machines EMV complaint by Dec. 31, 2012. Can-Do-Cash owns and operates around 800 white-label ATMs in Ontario and Quebec provinces and is expanding to Manitoba.

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First Data to Provide Kohl’s Card Processing

First Data electronic commerce and payment processing has entered into an agreement with Kohl’s Department Stores to provide payment processing services for the company’s private brand credit card accounts. The multi-year agreement calls for First Data to provide Kohl’s with credit card processing, customer analytics, risk management services and automated customer service workflow tools. Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed. Kohl’s partnership with First Data will not affect Kohl’s current credit card arrangement with Chase or the company’s previously announced agreement with Capital One.

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