Archives For January 2013

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It seems like yesterday where the concept of Near Field Communication (NFC) Payments were going to be the next big thing in mobile payments. However, it seems that renaissance is being stopped in its tracks barely before it began. The technology works by essentially “loading” a credit card or bank account profile onto an app on your phone and then using the NFC technology you simply tap a reader with your phone to make the payment.

But as the battle for mobile payments heats up and as banks ponder their strategies, NFC no longer seems as revolutionary. Google, ISIS and others remain committed to the technology however hardware manufacturers still haven’t really gotten behind NFC in their devices.

Others mobile payment providers are bent on revolutionizing offline payments without NFC. PayPal and Square stands as a great example and even locally ABSA bank has decided to have a mobile credit card reader rather than support NFC payments.

The truth is that the old fashioned plastic card is still massive with , for example, 34 million merchants that accept MasterCard around the globe. It seems insane to have to replace the readers of those 34 million merchants to accept NFC payments when they can use their current readers or simply just place the Paypal or Square mobile reader into their smartphone and take payments from anywhere in the world.

The battle between NFC and mobile readers will likely be decided on other issues, such as the customer experience in the store and the offline-online synergies. Banks do not have a lot of time to figure out how to keep their brands relevant and at the top of the winning wallets.

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Paybefore is the leading provider of information to the prepaid industry. Their family of media properties includes the Paybefore.com online portal; and the Paybefore Magazine print publication and Paybefore also produces the Paybefore Awards. As the prepaid industry continues to emerge and grow, Paybefore serves as a trusted partner.

Recently the company concluded the Paybefore Awards. To make the competition interesting for the first time in Paybefore Awards history, you have a chance to vote on Best in Category. The outcome of this vote (counted as one-sixth of the total) will be combined with the five judges’ picks to determine Best-in-Category honorees.

Winners in the various categories included massive international companies such as Walmart, Western Union, Paypal, American Express and Zynga; the who’s who of prepaid and mobile payment providers. All winners can be viewed at http://www.paybefore.com/aboutus/default.aspx?id=27922.

How it works:

Winners were selected by a five-judge expert panel by assessing the dynamics of specific prepaid products and programs as well as their value which the product will bring to the public, according to the judges criteria. All winners have been chosen, and will vie for Best-in-Category distinction. For the first time in Paybefore Awards history, you have a chance to vote on Best in Category. The outcome of this vote (counted as one-sixth of the total) will be combined with the five judges’ picks to determine Best-in-Category honorees.

Pro’s:

  • Winners will be seen as thought leaders and of the highest reliability in their sectors
  • Winners are in amazing company with other industry leaders
  • All card programs are thoroughly checked to ensure a great degree of functionality and purpose, according to the card programs intent
  • Anyone may vote in any category. You don’t need to be a Paybefore subscriber. One vote per person per category.
  • The cumulative “sixth” judge vote counts for one-sixth of the total votes for Best in Category.

Paybefore need your help to act as the sixth judge in the Paybefore awards. Simply click http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/76B6FD3 and vote. South Africa has a winner in the category of “Best Non-US based prepaid/emerging payments program”. NuCard, a product of Altech and powered by Tutuka, has gone up against the best prepaid programs worldwide, and has come up as victorious. We’re extremely proud of this achievement and hope to see ourselves winning the ultimate prize against such stiff competition.

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As prepaid cards grow in popularity we took our top five reasons to get a prepaid card and start living your life prepaid:

  • Controlling the spenders:

Are you the kind of person that thinks your credit limit is a target to hit rather than a guideline? For those with credit difficulties, a prepaid card offers a built-in safety net against overspending since the credit limit of the card is based on the actual cash loaded on it. Prepaid cards’ requirements to budget and monitor spending can prevent you from careening down the slippery slope of minimum payments and high-interest-rate accumulation into fiscal disaster.

  • Helping the underbanked:

For someone without even a bank account prepaid cards can provide similar services to a checking account or a credit card for those who have neither. This is a great way to pay staff either once off or on a recurring basis.

  • Great for travelling:

Carrying large amounts of cash is a great way to get it stolen. It used to be that travelers worried about carrying large amounts of cash on a trip would buy travelers’ checks, a concept that seems charmingly antiquated now. Preloaded credit cards can help keep your vacation budget on track. Also, if a prepaid card gets swiped the damage is automatically limited.

  • Introduce your kids to money:

You could add your teen or college student onto an existing credit card account but you have absolutely no control. A prepaid card is the perfect way to allot funds for books, send money for a trip home, or deposit a reward for good grades. A prepaid card will help your kids establish healthy financial patterns.

Going prepaid is, in many situations, a no brainer. Contact us today to get on the road to financial success.

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It’s a wild thought: get paid into a prepaid card rather than a traditional cheque or savings account. The opportunity is interesting not only from the perspective of an individual with the account but also from the bank. A cheque or savings account doesn’t make a bank much money, they usually make their revenue of home loans and savings accounts. In the United States this is especially true as, for years, banks have given free checking in the hopes you would also take out a mortgage, run up your credit card balance or stash away a tidy sum in your savings account. Instead, you’ve been content to use your checking account and bypass the bank’s other offerings. In short, you aren’t making them any money.

Interesting stats about banks aside, for the consumer and especially the underbanked a prepaid card is a perfect solution. For the consumer they can be assured of a certain level of costs and for the bank they can be sure of a certain level of income per month from a prepaid card.

A salary on a prepaid card isn’t a perfect concept yet: how would you make car or house payments? However, for companies that have previously paid their staff in cash, the prepaid card presents a future of safety and security for both the company and staff. The company can either provide a new card monthly or recharge a single card.

While we wont be seeing a prepaid card replacing a bank account for most, for the underbanked it is a perfect solution to cash and the expense of a bank account.

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The Standard Bank PayCard is a service that allows you to load cash onto a prepaid card in order to enjoy the safety that card purchases provide.  At the moment 2700 cards are being used for the Orange African Cup of Nations, for daily food purchases by the volunteers. The cards are a great way to control spending of employee’s or even family members. Employees can withdraw cash from ATMs and pay for purchases with or without cash back at merchants. The cards takes away the risk of managing and carrying large amounts of cash. In addition PayCards maybe used for multiple salary or wage payments to each employee. Cards expire after 3 years.

The benefits of a PayCard include:

  • No time wasted in banking queues or cheque-cashing stores
  • Access to your money anytime and anywhere
  • Safer as you do not need to carry your entire wages on pay day
  • You can receive your pay even when you not on the job on payday

How to register?

  • Follow the “sign me up” link on the homepage of the website (www.paycard.co.za)
  • complete the details of the profile holder
  • send through your application for approval(electronic)
  • approval takes 24 hours, you’re then ready to order cards.

How to order cards…

  • Once you have an approved profile, funds would need to be transferred into it(a simple eft/deposit process)
  • Login on the PayCard website
  • Cards can be ordered in the “order cards” link on the website. You may select the number of cards to order(even as little as one)

Once received, these cards are allocated to the specific user(ID number, name etc), loaded with funds from the profile, and are ready for use immediately.

Pro’s:

  • Cards delivered to your doorstep
  • Funds instantly accessible once loaded onto cards
  • All POS transactions (swipes)are free
  • A “bulk load” feature that allows multiple card loads will be useful for company’s using the PayCard
  • Issued by Standard Bank, processed by Tutuka, and with backing by MasterCard, the card is reliable, safe, and an easy-to-use product

Some great uses of a PayCard include:

  • Construction companies pay their bricklayers, tilers, welders and plasterers with the Standard Bank PayCard.
  • Teachers are given the cards by the School to use on school trips.
  • NGO’s use it to pay their staff.
  • Farmers use it to pay their farm laborers.
  • A number of companies use it to give to their office managers to use for various office expenses.
  • Company employees that are concerned about the safety of funds and who feel their personal security may be threatened, use the Standard Bank PayCard to pay their workers instead of cash.
  • Companies give it to staff members who don’t have a bank account.

The Paycard is an excellent way to help safeguard staff against theft and fraud. Help secure workers safety with a Standard Bank PayCard.

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One of America’s biggest prepaid card providers, Green Dot, has, this week, launched their mobile only bank in the United States. The new service is called “GoBank” and while it’s only launched in beta it will be live for everyone by the end of the year.

According to the company “GoBank won’t have any branches, which slashes one of the largest costs of a traditional bank. At the same time, it offers a network of more than 40,000 ATMs where customers can withdraw cash for free and deposits can be made at any Green Dot retailer, such as Wal-Mart.”

Additional features include:

  • The ability to design a custom debit card for your GoBank account. Make it personal using your own photo – even one from Facebook.
  • Scan and deposit cheques in an instant by taking a picture with the mobile app.
  • Quickly send money via your phone to friends, family and even the dog groomer. Notify them via a private email, text or Facebook notification.
  • Users have the choice of what to pay for banking fees monthly.

Green Dot is banking on the assumption that consumers are frustrated enough with existing big banks and fees to consider switching to a new institution. Tthe new bank account will likely prove less popular among an older demographic who are still more comfortable with physical branches and tellers. If you live on Facebook and your phone all the time, then GoBank is probably a great choice.

This is certainly an innovative model of banking that has a long way to go to prove its viability.

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Today we have decided to weview a local online payment product called 1-2-Pay-Online. This is a virtual credit card, and works as a payment service that enables you to shop online securely, without the use of a plastic credit card, but with the same functionality. This service helps to remove any potential fraud worries related to online transactions.

Let’s see how it works…

How to register?

Registration is a simple process whereby details are taken through secure pages and a virtual account is created.

How to use?

Money is transferred into the 1-2 Pay trust account, with my profile number as a reference. Since I was transferring from a Standard bank account it reflected overnight.

Once the funds are reflecting in the account, a virtual credit card must be created, where you select how much you would like on that card (between R50 and R1500). The picture of the card with the card number, expiry date, and cvv (all essential elements of a credit card when required to make an online payment). As a security measure, the last four digits of the card are greyed out of the email, and is sent through to the account holders cellphone.

Once you have received the virtual card, you are ready to shop!

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Pro’s:

  • Secure facility
  • Easy to use website, simple links, to the point instructions
  • Reduces the risk of your main credit or cheque cards being skimmed/cloned and used later on
  • Cost effective, costs to use are only taken once you have created a virtual card, and is 3.5% of the virtual card created
  • Control of online spending, as there are limits in place

Con’s:

  • A few errors popped up on the website when the virtual card was being created, but after a few tries it went through
  • Fica regulated, therefore a virtual card to the value of R200 can only be created if Fica documentation are not sent through.
  • The password system is very strict, and recovery of password would be a difficult process if forgotten – don’t forget your password!

You may visit the 1-2-Pay-online website by clicking here: https://www.12payonline.co.za/index.html#