Is Walmart Money Card and Green Dot headed to Divorce Court?

Seeking Alpha is reporting that Walmart is expected to either not renew or vastly restructure the arrangement to cut Green Dot’s commission rate at the end of its current contract.  Seeking Alpha reports that just about any scenario is likely to be damaging to Green Dot.  Seeking Alpha claims that Green Dot relied on Walmart for 64 percent of its total operating revenues and more than of 82 percent of its total card packs sold in 2013.

The Walmart MoneyCard by Green Dot is expensive compared to the newest prepaid card alternatives. The Walmart MoneyCard sells for about $3, charges a $3 monthly fee without direct deposit, plus another $3 each time to reload money on to the card.

A better choice for many consumers may be the American Express Bluebird Card.  The BlueBird Card is sold in Walmart for a one-time $5 fee, and includes free reloading and no monthly fees.

One Hail Mary pass for Green Dot might be to slash fees to compete with BlueBird and other newer alternatives now on the market.

What do you think?

Visa Launches EMV Chip Education Tour for Small Businesses

20-city tour designed to help small businesses understand how and why they should prepare for accepting chip payment cards

Visa Inc. (NYSE:V) today launched its 20-city tour to educate small businesses and consumers about payment card chip technology (also known as EMV technology). The Small Business Chip Education Tour will commence at the Greater Austin Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Small Business and Entrepreneurial Showcase in Austin, Texas. Participants will have the opportunity to hear from payments industry experts and connect directly with merchants who have already migrated to chip technology. They will also have an opportunity to see demonstrations of how chip technology works at the payment terminal to protect sensitive account information from risk of fraud.

“Visa is supporting merchants and consumers through education to ensure a seamless transition to this new technology”

While chip implementation in the U.S. is underway, a recent study conducted by the Aite Group found that one-third of small- and medium-sized merchants are still unaware of chip technology.

“Visa is supporting merchants and consumers through education to ensure a seamless transition to this new technology,” said Ramon Martin, head of global merchant sales and solutions at Visa Inc.

Martin added, “We know that time is a valuable resource to small business owners and we designed the Small Business Chip Education Tour to bring the most critical information on chip technology to merchants directly. In cities across the country, we will set up educational sessions to explain how chip technology can protect consumers from fraud, and how businesses can offer it in their stores.”

Chip education and adoption is critical, because as of October 1, 2015, liability for counterfeit fraud on Visa chip card accounts will shift from the chip card issuer to business owners who have not upgraded to chip-activated terminals.

“For small businesses, running smoothly and protecting their customers is of top importance, particularly in the digital age,” said Javier Palomarez, the President and CEO of the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. “At the US Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, we are proud to partner with Visa to bring the Small Business Chip Education Tour to small business owners throughout the country, and will continue to inform our membership on the benefits of chip technology.”

How Chip Cards Work

When inserted into a terminal, a chip card generates a unique, one-time code needed for the transaction to be approved. Because this code changes with every transaction, even if the card data is stolen, the information can’t be used to create counterfeit cards because the stolen code would have already “expired.” This feature makes EMV chip card data a less attractive target for criminals to steal. According to a report by Aite Group, counterfeit fraud in countries such as Australia, Canada and the U.K. decreased by 50-75 percent after merchants and financial institutions adopted chip technology.

Business and Consumer Education Campaign

The Small Business Chip Education Tour builds on Visa’s efforts to educate consumers and businesses about the role chip plays in a multi-layered approach to securing the payment ecosystem. Visa has partnered with financial institutions, business groups, media organizations, consumer advocacy groups, and others for in-market events throughout the U.S. The next event in Visa’s Small Business Chip Education Tour will be held in Orlando, Florida, in partnership with the Orlando Chamber of Commerce on April 3, 2015.

In addition to in-market events, the Small Business Chip Education Tour will also host webinars that will be made available on the company’s dedicated chip website,

“As the largest segment of merchants in the U.S., it’s critical that small businesses understand how chip technology works and what it means to the protection of their business and the data of their customers,” said Kim Lawrence, senior vice president of Corporate Initiatives at Visa. “This is a technology that has already been widely adopted in many markets, and has proven to significantly reduce the incidence of fraud at the physical point-of-sale.”

Visa has also recently launched an online toolkit to help businesses make the transition. The toolkit, available includes a step-by-step guide to adopting chip as well as videos, infographics, and other resources to help merchants make the seamless transition to chip-activated terminals.

Apple Pay hits Kickstarter app & GameStop, coming soon to Etsy store & Marriott Hotels

Originally posted on 9to5Mac:

Apple Pay Watch iPhone iPad

Tim Cook said in January that “2015 will be the year of Apple Pay,” and we’re steadily seeing more support for the mobile payment service from banks, merchants, and apps.

Released just this morning, Kickstarter version 2.3 for iPhone and iPad adds Apple Pay as a payment option for quickly making a pledge to a crowdfunding project. That means if you’re aren’t up for spending the $349-$17,000 on an Apple Watch next month, you can still back the Pebble Time or Pebble Time Steel … now with Apple Pay. Kickstarter supports Apple Pay on the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus as well as the iPad mini 3 and iPad Air 2.

Apple Pay is also coming to hotel check-in counters this summer…

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The FCC’s other big vote: small cities await their broadband fate

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Originally posted on Gigaom:

The big battle over net neutrality will go to a vote on Thursday but, for many people in small cities, it’s the other item on the agenda that matters most: whether the agency will allow two towns to build their own broadband infrastructure.

“It’s a way of letting local communities control their own fate. I don’t see a difference between broadband and gas or electricity,” said Harold DePriest, who is the CEO of EBP, a city-run fiber network in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

His city, along with Wilson, North Carolina (population 49,000), will soon find out if the FCC will grant their request to pre-empt state laws that restrict municipalities’ ability to offer broadband.

Those state laws are necessary, according to their supporters, to protect taxpayers from profligate city governments. Critics claim, however, that the laws are the result of undue influence exercised in state capitals by big telecom companies seeking to preserve their monopolies.

For places like Chattanooga, a lot rides on the outcome. The town’s fiber…

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Net Neutrality day is here: a guide to today’s vote

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Originally posted on Gigaom:

What is the right way to run the internet? After months of pitched debate over so-called net neutrality, the FCC will finally vote on a proposal that will prevent broadband providers from slowing down or speeding up certain websites.

While there’s little doubt about the outcome of the vote, Thursday’s FCC hearing could still bring some surprises. Here’s an overview of how the process will unfold, key issues to watch, and what will happen next.

When is the vote taking place?

The hearing begins at 10:30am ET at the FCC in Washington, where the five Commissioners will vote on two items. The net neutrality proposal is the second item (the first is about municipal broadband), and a vote is expected to occur in the early afternoon.

What are they voting on?

The crux of the proposal is new regulations that will replace the net neutrality rules that a court struck down in early 2013. The new…

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