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- Access Funds Now or Later with Plastyc Mobile Check Deposit, Powered by Chexar

Plastyc, the mobile and online alternative to traditional banking, is rolling out a new kind of mobile check deposit that lets customers access funds right away for a fee or wait until the check clears to access the funds at no cost.

Known in the industry as Remote Deposit Capture (RDC), the service, powered by Chexar® Network, Inc. and its Spyke network, lets consumers snap a photo of a paper check to deposit it to their Visa prepaid card accounts.

Unlike existing mobile deposit services offered by banks, which typically make customers wait several days for checks to clear before crediting their accounts, Plastyc gives customers a choice. Customers can:

  • get the funds crediting right away for a fee: one percent for printed payroll and government checks or four percent for any other type of check including personal checks
  • Or, they choose delayed access, which loads the funds onto the card for free provided the check has not been returned to the network after five business days.
Depositing Checks with Choice of Speed and Cost

Also new, is the $2,500 maximum amount of checks, which is significantly higher than other mobile deposit services.

The ability to deposit scanned paper checks provides Plastyc customers with everything they need in an alternative to traditional checking accounts. In addition, the option of accessing funds right away provides a more convenient and cost-effective alternative to using a check-cashing store for people who can't wait.

"Our mission is to provide customers with the newest and most convenient, cost-effective and secure options for managing their finances. With our mobile direct deposit, customers can pick the speed and fee options that best meets their needs," said Patrice Peyret, CEO of Plastyc.

As part of its mobile check deposit rollout, Plastyc is participating in the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's Project Catalyst, a research initiative designed to encourage consumer-friendly innovation and entrepreneurship in markets for consumer financial products and services.

Plastyc's mobile check deposit capabilities will be available to customers of all cards powered by the Plastyc platform, including Plastyc's UPside and iBankUP services. The rollout is starting with test customers using Plastyc's Android and iOS apps prior to full availability to the entire cardholder base.

- Plastyc Leverages the Green Dot® Network and Walmart’s Rapid Reload Service to Allow Cardholders to Cash Checks and Load Funds to Their UPside Visa® Prepaid Cards

Plastyc announced that effective immediately, via the Green Dot Network, cardholders can now cash checks and load funds to their UPside Prepaid Cards using the Rapid Reload Service available in more than 3,900 Walmart stores.

Rapid Reload at Walmart

UPside customers can cash a pre-printed payroll, government or tax refund check and load all or part of the cash directly to the UPside card from the convenience of any register at a participating Walmart (not available in NJ, NY, RI, VT, WY). The cashier will cash the check (check cashing fees apply) and swipe the card to add all or part of the amount directly to the card. Cardmembers can load all or part of a check, up to $1,000, and the funds are available on the card within minutes. A Rapid Reload fee of $3.74 applies.

With this new method, UPside cardholders have three convenient ways to reload their cards via the Green Dot Network:

  1. Rapid Reload with cash by taking the UPside card and cash to any Walmart register (not available in VT or WY). The cashier will swipe the card and the cash is added directly to the card. The funds are available on the card within minutes. A Rapid Reload fee of $3.74 applies.
  2. Rapid Reload by cashing a check (not available in NJ, NY or RI; check cashing fees apply) and loading the funds at participating locations. A Rapid Reload fee of $3.74 applies
  3. Reload with a Green Dot MoneyPak® by purchasing a MoneyPak from a neighborhood retailer, in any one of more than 60,000 retailer locations nationwide, and logging into their UPside Card online account or through the UPside Mobile App, which is a unique feature for UPside cardholders. A service fee of up to $4.95 applies.

"Consumers are demanding more functionality from their prepaid card accounts, including total flexibility in how they load funds,” said Patrice Peyret, CEO of Plastyc. “As market leaders in providing full-featured prepaid accounts, Plastyc is excited to deliver these card loading enhancements to cardholders.”

After loading funds, UPside cardholders can immediately use the deposited cash to pay bills online, shop anywhere Visa is accepted, withdraw cash from an ATM or receive cash-back from the grocery store, top off prepaid cell phone minutes, even issue paper checks from their mobile or online account.

Learn more about Rapid Reload

Learn more about UPside check cashing through Rapid Reload

- Plastyc Powers Online Banking and Payments Services for H&R Block Emerald Prepaid Mastercard© and Launches New White-label Service

Plastyc announced today a new Powered by Plastyc platform to help banks, payroll companies, wireless carriers and other businesses offer their customers full-featured, branded prepaid card services.

Emerald Online

Working with H&R Block, the nation’s largest tax preparation company, Plastyc powers the company’s Emerald Online, the H&R Block Emerald Prepaid Mastercard©, online interface which enables cardholders to easily perform the following tasks and more:

  • Access transaction history and balance and print statements
  • Sign up for text and email alerts
  • Add prepaid minutes to their cell phone and pay bills
  • Manage cash-back reward offers

The online services, which launched nationwide in November 2012, also enable H&R Block to engage cardholders with customized offers and messages such as targeted cash back rewards from select retailers or invitations to other financial services such as savings accounts offered by H&R Block.

Plastyc has proven experience providing dynamic online and mobile user experiences and functionality not available elsewhere in the prepaid card industry.

"We want our cardholders to have a best-in-class online banking experience. Plastyc is a leader and innovator. Combining that experience and innovation with Emerald Card creates a world-class program for our clients, " said Susan Ehrlich, president of H&R Block financial services.

Powered by Plastyc Platform

The Powered by Plastyc program is built on Plastyc's experience delivering award-winning, high value prepaid card services to working adults as well as students striving to improve or establish their financial standing. It helps businesses improve their existing branded prepaid card services or quickly deliver a best-in-class new prepaid card program using a proven, turnkey platform

"Offering customers truly superior prepaid banking options can create a more direct relationship between customers and service providers, and giving both a stronger sense of loyalty and trust," said Patrice Peyret, CEO of Plastyc. "Prepaid card programs powered by Plastyc provide the best consumer value in the industry."

- How Can I Help You? Plastyc's Call Center Moves to South Dakota with Midco Connections

To help provide its customers with a more rewarding customer care experience, Plastyc announced that effective immediately, phone-based customer support services are handled by a Sioux Falls-based contact center operated by Midco Connections.

Plastyc chose Midco because its customer care professionals are known for their fast, helpful, naturally friendly manner and clear, Midwestern English, and because Midco's flexible technology meets the highest security standards.

"When you have a question about your money, you don't just need fast, correct answers, you need to trust the people you're talking to and leave the call feeling satisfied," said Patrice Peyret, CEO of Plastyc. "Midco's exceptional, US-based professionals help make our cardholders' support calls more personal and rewarding."

Plastyc’s UPside prepaid cardholders can get help by phone 24 x 7 for lost or stolen cards, transaction disputes, inquiries about deposits, and help with unique features such as on-demand paper checks, mobile phone top ups and cash back rewards. In addition, Plastyc provides email-based customer support out of its New York facility.

Midco Connections in Sioux Falls, SD

Cardholders can be assured that all information is protected. As a PCI-DSS Level 1 Certified contact center, Midco Connections meets the strict security standards, policies and procedures necessary to handle card transaction data and cardholder information. And, while Midco Connections does not directly process the banking data, the certification assures clients such as Plastyc that Midco will provide secure storage of customer data.

“We are pleased to have Midco help us with increasing the level of trust that consumers place in our products and in the co-branded cards we operate for other businesses,” Peyret said.

“Midco Connections is truly excited about the opportunity to deliver customer support for a leader in the prepaid and financial services markets," said Midco Vice President Cordell Brooks. "The Plastyc program delivers a complete financial service to customers, and our organization is positioned to deliver leading edge quality in support of the Plastyc mission.”

About Midco Connections
Midco Connections is a wholly owned subsidiary of Midcontinent Media and supports locations in Sioux Falls, South Dakota and Fargo, North Dakota. Midco was founded in 1982 as a Telephone Answering Service, and in just a few years it became clear that our customers wanted more than just an answering service – they wanted comprehensive customer care offering product knowledge, transaction information, answers to callers’ questions, data intake ability and above all excellent customer care. In short, they wanted quality call center services. Find more information about Midco Connections at www.midcoconnections.com.

CFSI publishes Impact Profile on Plastyc

Impact Brief on Plastyc

By Jessica Kumar:
Plastyc was one of the first companies to commit to CFSI's Compass Principles. Plastyc’s solutions come in the form of online-only products, UPside cards and iBankUP, which are intended to be full replacements for checking accounts. Plastyc addresses the desires of people who would otherwise live in a cash economy. Plastyc started with a model to serve the “too young to be banked,” but now delivers most of its services to the traditionally underserved, as well as to the growing number of “strivers” who prefer to manage their money online and by phone with the lowest possible fees. Download the full Impact Story.

American Banker: CFPB to Collaborate with Startups BillGuard, Plastyc and Simple. Read the article

Read the full article by Sean Sposito in American Banker

 CONSUMER FINANCIAL PROTECTION BUREAU LAUNCHES PROJECT CATALYST TO SPUR CONSUMER-FRIENDLY INNOVATION
Bureau to Collaborate With Innovators Within the Consumer Financial Markets

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) announced the launch of Project Catalyst, an initiative designed to encourage consumer-friendly innovation and entrepreneurship in markets for consumer financial products and services. The Bureau views this project as an important means of fulfilling its mandate under the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act to give all consumers access to fair, transparent, competitive, and innovative markets.

“We want to collaborate with innovators seeking to advance consumer-friendly innovation,” said CFPB Director Richard Cordray. “These collaborations help us better understand what works and does not work to improve life for consumers in the marketplace.”

Through Project Catalyst, the CFPB will engage more closely with companies and entrepreneurs who are at the front lines of innovation. The Bureau has already conducted early outreach to the innovation community, and today is establishing a website dedicated to boosting access and communication between the Bureau and those in that community.

With Project Catalyst, the Bureau will work to:

  • Establish firm lines of communication with innovators: The Bureau wants to be accessible to all those who may be affected by the Bureau’s regulations, including those on the front lines of innovation. Direct communication will allow the Bureau to better understand the current situations in the market.
  • Understand new and emerging products in the market: Current regulations were written to address existing products. As products evolve, regulations may need to evolve as well and the Bureau wants to be prepared.
  • Engage with innovators: The Bureau wants to engage with innovators who have new ideas that beget consumer-friendly innovation. These collaborations help the Bureau better understand what works and does not work for consumers.

As a data-driven agency, the CFPB always wants to learn more about what innovators are discovering about consumer wants, needs, and practices. In the inaugural phase of Project Catalyst, three companies have agreed to share anonymized data about consumer behaviors and trends with the CFPB. The data sharing will not contain personally identifiable information and appropriate precautions will be taken to ensure that individual consumers cannot be identified through the data. The Bureau will use that data gathered to better inform policy decisions. The three companies are:

  • BillGuard: BillGuard is a company that alerts consumers to questionable charges on their debit and credit cards and helps them resolve billing disputes quickly. BillGuard will share their billing dispute data with the Bureau, which will allow the Bureau to observe trends in consumer complaints and complaint resolution.
  • Plastyc: Plastyc is designed to be an alternative to traditional banking. Plastyc’s data sharing will focus on the value consumers place on easily depositing and obtaining immediate access to their funds.
  • Simple: Simple is designed to be an alternative to traditional banking. This collaboration will explore how consumers can gain insight into their spending habits and help the Bureau understand what tools can encourage saving

More information about Project Catalyst is available at: http://www.consumerfinance.gov/projectcatalyst

###

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is a 21st century agency that helps consumer finance markets work by making rules more effective, by consistently and fairly enforcing those rules, and by empowering consumers to take more control over their economic lives. For more information, visit www.ConsumerFinance.gov.

 Plastyc to Collaborate with Consumer Financial Protection Bureau on Project Catalyst

Plastyc announced today it will collaborate with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) on Project Catalyst, an initiative designed to support consumer-friendly innovation and entrepreneurship in the marketplace. Plastyc is also participating in a CFPB public event on entrepreneurship and innovation today at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, CA.

CFPB was created as part of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Act following the financial crisis of 2007-2008. The central mission of the CFPB is to make markets for consumer financial products and services work for Americans — whether they are applying for a mortgage, choosing among credit cards, or using any number of other consumer financial products.

Through Project Catalyst, the CFPB will collaborate with companies on data sharing about consumer behaviors and trends. These collaborations help the Bureau better understand what works and does not work for consumers. As a data-driven agency, the CFPB always wants to learn more about what innovators are discovering about consumer wants, needs, and practices and the Bureau will use that data gathered to better inform policy decisions.

Plastyc's data-sharing collaboration with Project Catalyst will focus on the value consumers place on easily depositing and obtaining immediate access to their funds.

"Behavioral data, separate from the transactions themselves, is informative and essential for improving consumer's access to quality financial services," said Peyret. "We are thrilled to collaborate with the CFPB through Project Catalyst to support consumer-friendly innovation."

More information about Project Catalyst is available at: http://www.consumerfinance.gov/projectcatalyst

    VISA AND CHEXAR® INTRODUCE REMOTE DEPOSIT CAPTURE, OFFERING PREPAID USERS IMMEDIATE ACCESS TO FUNDS

Visa Inc. (NYSE: V) and Chexar Networks, Inc. (“CHEXAR”) announced today the launch of a network platform to digitize traditional banking services for consumers. Initially, the platform will enable millions of Visa prepaid users to deposit paper checks to their reloadable Visa prepaid card using their mobile device, by simply snapping a photo of a paper check. Powered by Chexar’s technology, including its remote deposit capture platform, the service provides Visa cardholders with immediate access to check funds on their Visa prepaid card, enhancing convenience and security and reducing costs for consumers. Later this year, new and existing prepaid cardholders with RushCard, AccountNow, Plastyc, and FSV Payment Systems will be able to enroll their Visa prepaid card, and immediately begin making remote deposits.

The platform will support check deposits to Visa cards, funds transfers between Direct Deposit Accounts (DDAs) and payment cards, person-to-person payments and bill payment services whether in-person, online, on a mobile device or at an ATM. Transactions originate and terminate with a financial institution partner and consumer funds sit within an FDIC-insured account. As consumers move between devices and deposit channels, their prepaid account now moves seamlessly with them and works reliably from any device. Chexar predicts that 11 percent (770 million) of consumer checks will be deposited using a mobile device by 2016.

“We see this network utility as more than a technology, it’s an evolution in the way people deposit and move funds and our goal is to make that process frictionless and immediate for consumers,” said Drew W. Edwards, Chexar founder and CEO. “It’s no secret that reloadable prepaid cards are growing in popularity, and we are happy to provide consumers with a secure and convenient way to deposit funds and have immediate access to their money. Our agreement with Visa represents an inflection point for the prepaid industry, and will only grow as mobile devices become more ubiquitous.”

According to Visa research, nearly 35 million consumers receive wages and government disbursements via paper check and 34 percent of the study’s participants revealed that direct deposit was not an option available through their employer. Additionally, a study of payment trends by McKinsey & Company estimated $1.18 trillion in person-to-person payments were made by check in 2009. According to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, more than 28 percent of U.S. households in 2011 weren’t connected to the traditional banking system. As an alternative, many consumers have turned to prepaid. In 2011, prepaid card use rose by 18 percent according to Javelin Strategy and Research.

“Consumers are choosing reloadable prepaid cards at an increasing rate, and for many of the same reasons that consumers embrace other electronic payment options — security, convenience and reliability,” said Hyung Choi, head of U.S. Prepaid, Visa Inc. “Mobile technology and other payment innovations are enabling us to enhance Visa’s prepaid experience and bring all the conveniences of traditional banking options to consumers who choose to use prepaid.”

Reloadable Visa prepaid cards offer a secure, convenient and cost-effective alternative to cash and checks, providing consumers a better way to make everyday purchases, pay bills and now, make check deposits. As with all Visa prepaid products, users can make purchases everywhere that Visa debit cards are accepted — in stores, online or over the phone.

About Visa:
Visa is a global payments technology company that connects consumers, businesses, financial institutions, and governments in more than 200 countries and territories to fast, secure and reliable digital currency. Underpinning digital currency is one of the world’s most advanced processing networks — VisaNet — that is capable of handling more than 24,000 transaction messages a second, with fraud protection for consumers and guaranteed payment for merchants. Visa is not a bank and does not issue cards, extend credit or set rates and fees for consumers. Visa’s innovations, however, enable its financial institution customers to offer consumers more choices: pay now with debit, ahead of time with prepaid or later with credit products. For more information, visit www.corporate.visa.com.

About Chexar:
CHEXAR® is the national leader for technology and solutions for converting paper checks into Good Funds defined as irreversible value. Chexar is currently deploying Spyke™ — The Good Funds Network™, as the market’s leading solution to enable any consumer to convert any type of check into Good Funds from mobile and other remote capture devices.

The company’s one-of-a-kind solutions combine multiple national databases, rules engines and proprietary technology with redundant 24/7 risk management centers to achieve the industry’s highest automated and overall approval rates without limiting check type and size. Today thousands of large financial institution and non-bank financial services provider locations utilize Chexar’s technology and solutions to generate fee income and manage risk.

Chexar’s solutions are deployed across multiple platforms including turnkey point of sale solutions, assisted and self-service kiosk solutions, mobile devices, and full XML integrations. The company operates two risk management centers 24/7 with almost 400 seats to assist its clients in real-time check review and risk management.

    Now UPside Visa Customers Can Add Cash to Cards Instantly at Walmart

Plastyc announced that effective immediately, UPside Visa cardholders can instantly load money to their cards at the register at Walmart stores throughout the US.

The Plastyc UPside Visa cards are part of Walmart Rapid Reload, a new service announced that will accept reloadable cards affiliated with the Green Dot Network, InComm's Vanilla Reload Network and First Data's Money Network. Available in more than 3,800 Walmart stores nationwide, customers can add money to their card at any register for $3.74. There are no forms to fill out, no scratch-off PINs and no need to make a phone call or visit a website to complete the reload.

"UPside cardholders often are quick to use new features that improve convenience and affordability. We are excited to offer them Rapid Reload at Walmart stores," said Patrice Peyret, CEO of Plastyc.

After using Rapid Reload, UPside cardholders can immediately use the deposited cash to pay bills online, shop anywhere Visa is accepted, withdraw cash from an ATM or cash-back from the grocery store, top off cell phone minutes, even issue paper checks from their mobile or online account.

    Families Avoid Payday Loans and Pawn Shops Using Prepaid Card Savings Feature, Study Finds

In a study of prepaid cardholders, families reported becoming less reliant on payday loans and pawn shops when funds are needed by tapping into savings accumulated using an easy and accessible savings feature of their prepaid card.

The study was conducted by D2D Fund, a non-profit organization co-founded by Peter Tufano, dean of Oxford University's Saïd Business School and former Harvard Business School professor, to help strengthen financial opportunity for low and moderate income consumers through new financial products and policies. D2D and Plastyc, Inc. collaborated to design a new savings feature on the UPside Card, which launched in November 2011, to help consumers set money aside for a rainy day. In July 2012, D2D Fund surveyed customers of Plastyc, Inc.'s UPside Card to determine how the card's Rainy Day Reserve feature affected families' savings habits and responses to financial emergencies.

Findings of the study included the following:

  1. Low barriers to access reduced the cost of trying it. Linking the savings tool to a prepaid card and requiring no minimum deposits or balances helped reduce barriers to testing the new feature. 62 percent of the survey participants said they started using the Rainy Day Reserve feature because "it seemed like a good idea" and 49 percent said they started saving using the features because "it seemed easy to try".
  2. The diversity of the Rainy Day Reserves features has helped people save. 79 percent of participants reported that the Rainy Day reserve has helped them save, with features including the mobile app, the ability to automate savings amount and frequency and a pop up reminder message at withdrawal helping consumers save and hold onto their savings.
  3. Savers felt better prepared for financial emergencies. 88 percent said they used their Rainy Day Reserve funds to help pay for emergencies and 79 percent said they feel more confident about handling future financial emergencies. With access to the rainy day reserve, consumers have also reported reducing their reliance on alternatives such as pay day loans and pawn shops.

"About half of Americans are unprepared for a financial emergency with low to moderate income households even more financially vulnerable," said Sarika Abbi, the Director of Ideation at D2D Fund. "This study indicates that prepaid cards with savings features like the Rainy Day Reserve can be effective tools to help households save and cope with financial emergencies."

"When Plastyc introduced Rainy Day Reserve last November, our goal was to help our customers save more by making it easy and rewarding," said Patrice Peyret. "To see this kind of validation this early is hugely gratifying."

Since the launch of the Rainy Day Reserve , more than 5,500 consumers have deposited over $5.4 million into the Rainy Day Reserve savings feature. 88 percent of the participants surveyed have an annual household income under $60,000 and 24 percent under $20,000. 58 percent of the households surveyed have dependent children, and 56% are un- or under-banked, reporting no checking or savings account at a traditional financial institution.

Ms. Abbi is presenting these and additional findings tomorrow at the 2012 Assets Learning Conference in Washington D.C. These findings in addition to more in depth insights into the savings behavior of households using the Rainy Day Reserve will be made available in an upcoming publication by D2D.

About D2D Fund
Doorways to Dreams (D2D) Fund strengthens the financial opportunity and security of low and moderate income consumers by innovating, incubating and stimulating new financial products and policies. Operating at the intersection of the private, non-profit and public sectors, D2D incubates and promotes practical applications with social impact that might otherwise lack a champion to nurture and bring them to market. D2D was incorporated as a 501(c)3, non-for-profit organization in 2000 and is headquartered in the Allston neighborhood of Boston, across the street from Harvard University's recently opened Innovation Lab. For more on D2D, go to www.d2dfund.org.

   655 Percent Three-Year Revenue Growth Lands Plastyc on Inc. 500/5000 List

Plastyc, provider of the UPside and iBankUP money management services, is among the top 50 fastest growing private companies in New York City with three-year revenue growth of 655 percent according to the 2012 Inc. 500/5000 list of America's fastest growing companies.

Plastyc provides FDIC-insured online and mobile banking accounts for young and underbanked customers. The company debuted on the list in 33rd for financial services companies, 45 for New York City companies and 564th overall.

"We are growing rapidly because we provide high-quality, affordable options for people who feel shut out by big banks on one end and exploited by check cashers on the other," said Plastyc CEO Patrice Peyret. "Clearly, more and more people feel that way."

Helping to spur Plastyc's growth are recent developments including:

  • Smartphone apps that provide complete mobile banking services for UPside and iBankUP account cardholders.
  • A Swipe-and-Load feature allowing account holders to add cash to their prepaid cards instantly at over 6,500 7-Eleven stores throughout the U.S.
  • A savings purse that makes it simple to set aside money for a rainy day and to participate in SaveUp, a program that rewards people for saving money.

Complete results of the Inc. 5000, including company profiles and an interactive database that can be sorted by industry, region, and other criteria, can be found at www.inc.com/5000.

About Inc.
Founded in 1979 and acquired in 2005 by Mansueto Ventures, Inc. is the only major brand dedicated exclusively to owners and managers of growing private companies, with the aim to deliver real solutions for today's innovative company builders. Total monthly audience reach for the brand has grown significantly from 2,000,000 in 2010 to over 6,000,000 today. For more information, visit www.inc.com

   Plastyc Launches Kindle Fire App for UPside Visa

Like Plastyc's apps for Android and iPhone devices, the UPside Visa app for Kindle Fire enables a full range of mobile banking activities. These include activating new accounts, signing up for direct deposit, redeeming cash back points, paying bills, transferring funds to friends, issuing paper checks, checking balances and reviewing transaction histories. The display is optimized for the Fire's larger screen, and its MoneyPak retail locator feature searches by zip code to accommodate the Fire's lack of a global position system.

According to recent analysis in The Atlantic, the Kindle Fire sells the most in mid-sized cities in the Midwest and South, with college towns topping the list. UPside Visa and iBankUP are designed to provide a more mobile and cost-effective alternative to checking accounts for young adults or people underserved by traditional banks. The customer bases are a natural fit.

"It is surprising how few Kindle Fire apps there are for core banking services given how dominant mobile is becoming and how many Kindle Fire devices are out there," said Plastyc CEO Patrice Peyret. "We aim to help fill that gap as the first mobile banking product for the underbanked with a native Kindle Fire app."

The UPside Visa app for Kindle Fire employs the highest security standards to protect account information. For instance, the app encrypts all local data and does not store or transmit sensitive cardholder information. The app requires an additional password for all spending transactions, and it logs out the user out automatically after 5 minutes of inactivity.

The UPside Visa app for Kindle Fire is available immediately for free in the Amazon Appstore.

   Mobile Banking for the Underbanked: Plastyc CEO to Speak at Payments 2012

Mobile banking and payment capabilities are critical to the underbanked according to Plastyc CEO Patrice Peyret, who will join industry experts from the Center for Financial Services Innovation (CFSI) and Citibank in a panel session on the topic today at the Payments 2012 conference in Baltimore, MD.

mobile access to UPside Card accounts

Over 75 percent of people who have accounts with Plastyc's iBankUP and UPside Visa prepaid services, which are tailored for young and underbanked customers, have smartphones and use them frequently to make payments, load cash, confirm direct deposits, check balances and more. Customers also set alerts on their smartphones to warn when balance dip to a certain level or when payments arrive.

"While mobile payments are a nice-to-have for people with fat bank accounts, they are a must-have when you need to watch your finances more carefully," said Peyret. "Small screens can have a big impact on the underbanked."

"Phone apps make my banking even better because I don't have to go to the ATM or find a computer to check my account," said UPside Visa customer Ronald Williams from Merritt Island, Florida

In the session -- titled "Can Mobile Devices Be Used to Better Serve the Underbanked? -- panelists will explore opportunities for serving underbanked consumers through mobile channels. The discussion, scheduled for 1:30 p.m. today, will include findings from a recently published CFSI white paper: "Compass Principles: Guiding Excellence in Financial Services".

Payments 2012, hosted by NACHA, the Electronics Payment Association, is the largest and most comprehensive payments educational event of its type — drawing decision makers and innovators from throughout the payments value chain. More than 2,500 professionals from organizations that are actively driving change and adoption of electronic payments are expected to attend.

   Refill Mobile Phone Minutes in 85 Countries with UPside Visa from Plastyc

Plastyc's mobile Top Up service makes it easy for UPside Visa and iBankUP account holders to add minutes to their own or other mobile phones directly from their accounts. Cardholders simply log in, enter a mobile phone number in any of 85 countries, select the refill dollar amount and go. The refill is performed in real time and the person receiving the message can received a confirmation text message with an optional personal message. All makes and models of prepaid phones and most carriers are supported

Mobile Prepaid vs Postpaid statistics

The service saves people in the US the hassle of buying refill packs and scratch cards for their own prepaid phones, and it provides a fast, easy way to send value to loved ones in other countries. Outside the US, prepaid mobile phone service is more common than contract service.

A prior version of the Top Up service offered 30 destination countries, including the world’s most populated countries and countries with large immigrant populations in the US such as China, India, Mexico and the Philippines. It quickly grew popular with Plastyc customers with homelands abroad.

With 55 additional countries offered, including more Latin American countries, African countries and the Caribbean, Plastyc expects the service to appeal to people in additional circumstances, such as parents with children who are traveling or families with loved ones overseas in the military.

"Adding minutes to family or friends abroad is a great gift. A top up of a few dollars can add hours of talk time to phones in many countries," said Patrice Peyret, CEO of Plastyc. "We're thrilled to offer this unique service to UPside Visa and iBankup account holders and eager to hear from people how they are using it."

The full list of destination countries can be found here

There is no fee for the service: people simply choose among the pre-defined amounts of airtime offered by the wireless carriers and pay that exact amount.

The service is powered by TransferTo, an Ingenico company and the leading global airtime transfer network.

   Plastyc in American Banker's Bank Technology News article

Bank Technology News

Plastyc to Use Technology to Give Its Mobile Audience Permanence: read the article

   CFSI Proposes a Model Fee Disclosure Box for Prepaid Cards

Las Vegas, NV (March 13, 2012)—Today, the Center for Financial Services Innovation (CFSI) is proposing a standardized fee box for improving the transparency of general purpose reloadable (GPR) prepaid cards. A clear and effective fee disclosure box is an essential part of a high-quality prepaid product and bolsters prepaid as a valuable financial access tool. Three prepaid card providers – Green Dot, Plastyc, and Ready Credit - have committed to adopt or test CFSI’s proposed disclosure box. CFSI also calls on regulators to improve disclosures and other consumer protections for prepaid cards.

Most major prepaid card companies voluntarily disclose their fees in a list or box format. However, practices can vary widely and existing disclosures are not always easy to understand. “Consumers need to be able to easily determine the true cost of a prepaid card and compare different products before deciding which to purchase,” said David Newville, CFSI’s Policy Manager. “A well-designed fee box can help them make informed choices. By developing a simplified and standardized format, companies will ultimately attract more consumers to prepaid cards.”

Green Dot (www.greendot.com), one of the largest prepaid companies with cards distributed at retail locations throughout the country, has been working on a new fee disclosure box in consultation with CFSI. It plans to introduce a new box on its card package this fall that is aligned with the key principles underlying CFSI’s proposals. “Green Dot has always been an advocate of clear, on-package fee disclosures and we are pleased to partner with the CFSI and fully support its effort to standardize the prepaid industry’s practices,” said Steve Streit, CEO of Green Dot. “Consumers should not have to worry about surprise fees hidden deep within cardholder agreements and we believe a model fee disclosure box, consistent across all products in the prepaid category, will have long-term benefits for the industry and its customers.”

Plastyc (www.plastyc.com), an online prepaid card company, has agreed to develop a fee disclosure box modeled after CFSI’s recommendations. “We are excited to incorporate this fee box into our prepaid offerings as a way for consumers to better understand and compare prepaid fees, and as a way of building customer loyalty,” said Patrice Peyret, CEO of Plastyc. “By making fees more understandable and transparent, we hope to help consumers trust our products and build allegiance to our brand and services.”

Further research is needed to test the fee box with consumers. Ready Credit Corporation (www.myreadycard.com), a national prepaid and bill pay services company, has agreed to evaluate the effectiveness of a model fee box later this year. CFSI also calls on the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to do consumer testing of prepaid disclosures.

To see a copy of the proposed box and fee disclosure paper, or to read more about CFSI’s recommendations for prepaid cards and consumer protections, visit the CFSI website at http://cfsinnovation.com/content/improving-consumer-outcomes-through-prepaid-cards.

About CFSI: The Center for Financial Services Innovation (CFSI) is the nation's leading authority on financial services for underserved consumers. Through insights gained by producing original research; promoting cross sector collaboration; advising organizations and companies by offering specialized consulting services; shaping public policy; and investing in nonprofit organizations and start-ups, CFSI delivers a deeply interconnected suite of services benefiting underserved consumers. Since 2004, CFSI has worked with leaders and innovators in the business, government and nonprofit sectors to transform the financial services landscape. CFSI is a strategic partner of Core Innovation Capital, which is an investor in Plastyc. For more on CFSI, go to www.cfsinnovation.com

   Plastyc Launches Smartphone Apps for the Underbanked

smartphone application icon

Plastyc announced at the Prepaid Expo today new smartphone apps that provide complete mobile banking services for UPside Visa prepaid cardholders.

UPside Visa is Plastyc's award-winning prepaid program offering a premium suite of affordable banking services tailored for the up-and-coming youth and underbanked markets.

What's unique about the UPside Visa mobile apps for Android and iPhone are how they meet a complete range of personal banking needs, activating a new account, signing up for direct deposit, redeeming cash back points, paying bills, transferring funds to friends, issuing paper checks and more -- using just a smartphone. Of course, the apps enable the basics, such as checking balances and reviewing transaction histories, as well.

"Over 75 percent of our customers have smartphones. Now, with these apps, our prepaid cardholders truly have the power of a bank account in their phones. Walking into a bank branch and even logging into a computer no longer are necessary for good banking," said Patrice Peyret, CEO of Plastyc.

Phone with UPside app

Plastyc's mobile apps can be downloaded immediately from the Android Market. The iPhone version will be available from the Apple AppStore in a few weeks.

In addition to using their UPside card anywhere Visa debit is accepted, the apps let cardholders use their smartphones to do the following:

  • Manage accounts: Verify cash and cash-back point balances, see latest transactions and prior months' statements, activate a new card or suspend a lost card, configure alerts.
  • Load funds: redeem a Green Dot MoneyPak®, access the account’s direct deposit number and send it to an employer or other payer.
  • Save: set money aside immediately into the account’s Rainy Day Reserve, or define a savings goal and program the account to set money aside automatically to reach that goal.
  • Pay on-the-go: pay online, send paper checks, reimburse a friend, add airtime minutes to prepaid phones.
  • Find: the nearest store to buy a MoneyPak or the nearest pharmacy to get discounted prescription drugs.
  • Get help: send customer service requests, call customer service or find answers to common questions.
  • Redeem rewards: redeem cash back points, monitor progress toward Premium status (in which all service fees are waived), get discounts on prescription drugs.

The apps include the highest levels of security to protect the account information. For instance, the apps encrypt all local data and do not store or transmit sensitive cardholder data. The apps require an additional password for all spending transactions, and they log out the user out automatically after 5 minutes of inactivity.

   Plastyc and IDology Partner to Better Serve the Underbanked Market

Plastyc integrates IDology’s identity verification solutions to streamline card approvals

ATLANTA– Plastyc Inc., a consumer financial services company, and IDology Inc, a leading identity verification provider today announced a partnership to better serve the prepaid card industry. Plastyc has integrated IDology’s identity proofing solutions within its Internet and mobile money management platform to perform automated CIP. This partnership will help make approvals more reliable and faster across its platform especially for under-banked applicants.

Plastyc provides affordable deposit, payment and saving financial services for people with limited access to, or distrust in large banks. Through its UPside cards and iBankUP portal, consumers are provided with the same conveniences of having a bank account but without risks of overdraft or credit.

“We give our customers the advantage of full banking services regardless of their prior experience with traditional bank accounts,” said Patrice Peyret, co-founder and CEO of Plastyc. “We found IDology’s solution to be the best in helping us make the Customer Identification Process (CIP) more reliable and convenient for our applicants”

IDology’s ExpectID solutions are being used to verify consumers enrolling for Plastyc’s services at upsidecard.com and ibankup.com. In addition, if a discrepancy exists in the initial CIP verification, IDology automatically escalates transactions to a higher level of verification. By incorporating IDology’s ExpectID IQ to generate out-of-wallet questions and verify someone is who they say they are, Playstic is able to efficiently verify people in a way that is friendlier for consumers than having to fax in a copy of a utility bill or some other sort of documentary evidence. Plastyc also uses IDology’s intuitive ID Notes feature to detect when certain conditions are associated with an ID, such as an address discrepancy, to ensure cards are being shipped to both the right place and person.

“Before we were relying on a manual verification process to resolve uncertainties with an identity,” said Peyret. “IDology’s services provide us with the right balance between resolving mistakes made by consumers and detecting someone trying to game the system and commit fraud.”

“Verifying people with either limited credit histories is an area in which we excel,” said John Dancu, CEO of IDology. “This partnership gives Plastyc an automated way to increase the number of issued cards and drive more revenue.”

About IDology, Inc.
IDology, Inc. provides real-time technology solutions that verify an individual's identity and age for anyone conducting business in consumer-not-present environments to help drive revenue, decrease costs, prevent fraud and meet compliance regulations. Founded in 2003, IDology is the only provider to offer an on-demand change management tool that allows client business-unit managers to control the entire identity proofing process, including within an integrated solution, without having to rely on internal IT resources or contact IDology's customer service. For more information, visit www.idology.com or call 866-520-1234.

   Serving the Consumer: Plastyc CEO to Speak at Prepaid Expo

Plastyc CEO, Patrice Peyret, will join top consumer advocates to explore how the prepaid card industry can better serve consumers in a panel session titled, "Serving the Consumer: At the Table with Consumer Advocates" at the Prepaid Expo, March 12 - 14 in Las Vegas

It's easy for providers to claim that a prepaid business puts the consumer first. But, what do consumer-centric prepaid products that add value for both the consumer and the provider really look like? In the session, experts will address what makes a high-quality prepaid card. The session will also explore how new guidelines can help prepaid businesses improve the value of financial services for the consumer, understand consumer groups' requirements for endorsing prepaid programs, and implement internal processes to comply with consumer advocacy standards.

"The prepaid card industry can do a lot of good, especially by providing alternatives to costly, risk payment services," said Peyret. "But, as an industry, we need to do a better job of tailoring products to meet consumers' needs better and more affordably than alternatives. That is the topic we will explore in this session."

Rachel Schneider, Vice President of Innovation and Research at the Center for Financial Services Innovation, will moderate the panel. In addition to Plastyc's Peyret, participants will include Michelle Jun, Senior Attorney with Consumers Union, the publisher of "Consumer Reports"; Lauren Saunders, Managing Attorney, National Consumer Law Center; Paul Hagy, Chief Legal Counsel at MetaBank and Dan Henry, CEO of NetSpend. "Serving the Consumer: At the Table with Consumer Advocates" will be held Tuesday, March 13 at 8:30 am.

Prepaid Expo is the gold standard of prepaid events with over 1,700 attendees and a six-year track record. Independent market research and an unbiased conference structure afford the entire stored value payments industry the opportunity to be inspired by provocative keynotes, connect with the leading companies in prepaid, and discover the regulatory issues, emerging and mobile payment technologies, distribution challenges, and consumer insights changing business.

Keynote speakers at the Prepaid Expo include Arianna Huffington, President and Editor-in-Chief of Huffington Post Media Group; Nick Bilton, Technology Columnist at the New York Times; and Wayne Best, Chief Economist at Visa, Inc.

   UPside Visa Named Winner in Sixth Annual Paybefore Awards

Plastyc announced today that Paybefore has chosen UPside Visa as a 2012 Paybefore Awards winner in the Best Consumer Value in Prepaid category. Paybefore Awards, now in its sixth year, is the most prestigious recognition of excellence in the worldwide prepaid and stored value card industry. The awards are presented annually by Paybefore, whose publications are the leading source of industry information for the global prepaid community.

"Plastyc's mission is making premium financial services easy and affordable for the underbanked. Since last year, we have enhanced our UPside Visa service with innovative new capabilities. We're thrilled that once again, the industry experts at Paybefore are highlighting our ground-breaking work in prepaid," said Plastyc CEO Patrice Peyret.

UPside Visa was selected by a panel of five industry experts who served as judges for this year’s competition, which—once again—included entries from around the world.

“Paybefore Awards was created to honor the companies and individuals that are keeping prepaid on the cutting edge of payments,” said Loraine DeBonis, Paybefore editor-in-chief and chair of the judging panel.

“Our industry continues to break new ground and expand the reach of electronic payments because of companies like Plastyc who make innovation and execution a priority,” she continued. “We are proud to recognize its contributions to advancing the prepaid industry.”

“Prepaid is the fastest-growing area of payments because it addresses unmet payment needs of consumers, businesses and governments,” added Marilyn Bochicchio, Paybefore’s CEO. “Paybefore Awards recognizes the creativity of prepaid practitioners in developing programs that address these needs more effectively than cash, checks or even other types of payment cards.”

In the past year, Plastyc has enhanced its award-winning UPside Visa with programs that help customers automate tuck money into savings, offer discounts at pharmacies and make it easier to load cash into prepaid accounts. The enhancements are enabled by Plastyc's sophisticated technology platform and support its mission of making premium financial services easy and affordable for the underbanked.

UPside Visa now will vie for best-in-category distinction, which will be announced during the Paybefore Awards ceremony on March 12 at the Prepaid Expo USA (www.prepaidexpousa.com).

About Paybefore
Paybefore is the leading information provider to prepaid and stored value industry professionals, offering the latest news, commentary and analysis. Paybefore’s family of industry publications include: Paybefore.com™, a searchable online news and information portal; Paybefore News™, daily news briefs delivered electronically; Paybefore News International™, a weekly compilation of prepaid news and events from outside the United States; Paybefore Update™, an e-newsletter delivered 20 times a year; Paybefore Legal™, a downloadable e-newsletter covering the legislative, regulatory and judicial developments in prepaid, as well as feature articles by leading attorneys in the field; Paybefore Magazine™, a biannual print publication featuring in-depth articles on the opportunities, challenges and trends in the global prepaid and stored value industry; and the only industry directory, Paybefore Buyer’s Guide™, available online and in print. Visit us at www.paybefore.com.

   Adding Cash to UPside Visa Prepaid Cards Just Got Easier

Plastyc uses Green Dot’s Swipe&Load technology to let people instantly add cash to their cards at 7-Eleven stores throughout the U.S.

Plastyc announced today that effective immediately, UPside Visa cardholders can load cash onto their cards at more than 6,500 7-Eleven stores throughout the U.S. with a simple swipe of their card at the stores’ cash registers.

Swipe&Load technology makes it faster and easier for people to add cash to their reloadable cards. Now cardholders can visit any 7-Eleven store in the U.S and hand their UPside Visa card and cash to the cashier. The cashier swipes the card and the money is added to the card on the spot.

This valuable feature is made possible through Plastyc’s partnership with Green Dot Corp. (NYSE:GDOT). Green Dot is a publicly traded bank holding company which owns and operates the Green Dot Network, the largest cash reloading network in the United States.

"Green Dot’s network simplifies the process of adding cash to prepaid card accounts, and anything that makes life easier for our cardholders is a good thing. We're pleased to be the first Green Dot partner to offer this new service to our cardholders,” said Patrice Peyret, CEO of Plastyc.

Using Green Dot’s Swipe&Load functionality allows UPside Visa cardholders to immediately use the deposited cash to pay bills online, shop anywhere Visa is accepted, top off cell phone minutes, and even issue paper checks from their mobile or online account.

“We continue to innovate and provide new ways for our partners to extract value from the Green Dot Network,” said Secil Baysal, General Manager of the Green Dot Network. “This Swipe&Load functionality enhances the competitiveness of the Green Dot Network by providing unique value and convenience to our partners and their cardholders."

The Swipe&Load service and Green Dot MoneyPak each cost $4.95 or less. Plastyc adds no additional fees.

   Houston Prepaid Card Signups Jump 93 Percent In November

Rising fees may be chasing millions of people away from banks, but Houston's unbanked shoppers aren't letting that stop them. Plastyc, a leading provider of prepaid card services, reported today a 93 percent increase in new signups in Houston in November 2011 compared to the same period last year.

"We are seeing large prepaid card signup increases in a handful of cities including Atlanta, Chicago and New York, but Houston stands out," said Plastyc CEO Patrice Peyret. Peyret attributes the jump to Houston's economic conditions and to a recent local marketing campaign. After noticing high signup rates in Houston earlier this year, Plastyc invested in a two-month advertising campaign that completed last week.
UPside Visa Billboard The campaign included UPside Visa prepaid card ads on local television and signage around the Houston area. Plastyc focused on Houston neighborhoods where people were signing up for the UPside Visa the most, including West University Place, Houston Heights, Southside Place, Harrisburgh, Jacinto City and Eastwood. Due to the high response rate from the recent campaign, Plastyc plans to be back with another campaign in the spring, Peyret said.

The jump in Houston signups makes sense in light of the Texas economy. According to the Texas Department of Banking, Texas has the lowest credit scores in the United States, and 36 percent or 3.2 million households are unbanked, placing Texas at 41 out of 50 states for the highest number of unbanked households. For these reasons, credit cards and traditional bank accounts are out of reach for many shoppers.

For the unbanked, the UPside Visa prepaid card is a great substitute for cash, offering a safe and secure way to make purchases and payments. The card has low, easy to understand fees, especially compared to other prepaid cards and even checking accounts at most banks. Users prepay funds directly to the card and can pay bills or buy merchandise in the same places that accept bank-issued Visa debit cards, allowing shoppers the flexibility of a card without the risk of running up debt. Consumers can also save time and money avoiding check cashiers and loading their funds directly on to the UPside Visa Prepaid Card.

"When you don't have a credit card or even a traditional bank debit card, how do you pay for holiday purchases?" said Peyret. "A reloadable prepaid card, if the services are good and the fees are low, can be a great way to shop." UPside Visa is also an alternative for recipients of government benefits who need an efficient way to receive their child support payments, food stamps or unemployment benefits. And UPside Visa card holders can receive their tax refunds from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued directly to their UPside Visa card.

   Saving Money and Earning Rewards Is Simpler
with New UPside Visa Savings Purse

Plastyc Offers SaveUp’s Innovative Rewards Program To Its Customers

Plastyc, provider of affordable, easy to use banking services, launches a new one-click savings purse for its UPside Visa and iBankUP online prepaid accounts, which serve as alternatives to traditional checking accounts. The savings purse, available this week, makes it simple to set aside money for a rainy day and to participate in SaveUp, a partner personal savings reward program that went live today.

Unlike traditional checking and savings accounts, the new UPside and iBankUP savings purse makes it easy to set money aside automatically, and there are no separate accounts or separate statements to deal with.

With one click on their online dashboard, UPside and iBankUP account holders can set aside money in a savings purse that "hides" its balance so customers can't spend it using their accounts' debit cards (without first moving the money back into the main balance). With another click, people can set up set goals and automated daily, weekly, or monthly deposits to the savings purse.

The savings purse also lets customers link to SaveUp, a new nationwide rewards program for personal savings. UPside Visa and iBankUP customers are eligible to earn one credit for every $1 increase in their savings purse. SaveUp issues the credits daily, which can be redeemed for chances to win instant prizes and entries into weekly and monthly drawings. SaveUp’s prizes range from the exciting (retail gift cards, consumer electronics) to aspirational (luxury vacations, home or wardrobe make-overs) to life-changing (a new car, money for college tuition or debt pay-off, or a $2 million jackpot).

"UPside Visa and iBankUP offer customers a shot at second chance banking and often substitute for a traditional checking account," said Patrice Peyret, CEO of Plastyc. "Now this new savings purse and SaveUp rewards program substitute for a traditional savings account and rewards program as well, only they are simpler and potentially more rewarding."

“At SaveUp, our mission is to help Americans to succeed financially by motivating and rewarding them for saving money and paying down their debts. That’s why we’re proud to partner with Plastyc’s Visa program, whose focus on helping Americans save money complements our own efforts,” said Priya Haji, CEO of SaveUp. “Plastyc’s innovative savings program combined with SaveUp’s innovative rewards program can give Americans that extra motivation and help their need to save more money and strengthen their financial foundations.”

About SaveUp
Founded in 2011, San Francisco-based SaveUp created the first free nationwide rewards program that encourages Americans to save money, pay down their debts and make positive changes to their financial behaviors. By partnering with major consumer brands and financial institutions, SaveUp gives players the opportunity to win exciting or life-changing prizes for performing positive financial actions. The company is funded by BlueRun Ventures and True Ventures. For more on SaveUp, please visit www.saveup.com.

Will Plastyc encourage the broke to save more?
CEO Patrice Peyret to demo new savings solution at Finovate Fall 2011

New York, NY, Sept 16, 2011 -- Plastyc's new solution to help low income people save money may crack the code by addressing psychological barriers that prevent people on tight budgets from saving. CEO Patrice Peyret plans to preview the solution, which works with the company's UPside Visa and iBankUP prepaid card accounts, at Finovate, September 20 in New York.

"Underbanked and low income people have the hardest time saving money because they don’t have much of it, and interest rates are currently too low to generate any meaningful rewards for them. Our goal is to turn savings into a habit by making it simple, automatic and rewarding," said Peyret.

In a demo, scheduled in the afternoon of September 20 at Pier 92 in Manhattan, Mr. Peyret will show how the new savings solution helps reduce barriers by building automated savings into prepaid card accounts. This is especially useful for people who either can't qualify for or don't want the overhead of a traditional bank account.

Peyret will demonstrate automatic savings features that help build savings and "hide" them from the payment account, and meaningful rewards meant to help motivate people to save. He will also point to the complete absence of new fees for the savings program, meant to help consumers understand that their hard-earned cash won't get eaten away by hidden fees.

Plastyc is designing its savings solution with the help of Doorways to Dreams (D2D) Fund (www.d2dfund.org), a national non-profit with a mission to strengthen the financial opportunity and security of low and moderate income consumers by innovating, incubating and stimulating new financial products and policies. “A savings feature on a prepaid card provides easy access to savings for many unbanked and under banked consumers and, with the right design features, can help consumers build savings to address both short and long-term needs,“ said Tim Flacke, Executive Director of D2D.

About Finovate
FinovateFall is a demo-based conference for innovative startups and established companies in the fields of banking and financial technology. Held in New York City, the event offers an insight-packed glimpse of the future of money via a fast-paced, intimate and unique format. FinovateFall is organized by The Finovate Group. For more information on the event, or to view videos of previous demos, please visit http://www.finovate.com/fall2011.

Saving money at pharmacies just got easier with UPside Visa

New York, NY, Aug 30, 2011 -- Plastyc, provider of the UPside Visa card and iBankUP prepaid account, released today a new pharmacy savings card available immediately to all customers. The UPsideRx Pharmacy Savings card provides prescription drug discounts from 11 percent to 75 percent at over 63,000 pharmacies, including major chains such as Walgreens, Wal-Mart, Target, CVS Pharmacy, Rite Aid, CostCo, Publix, Kroger, Winn-Dixie, Albertsons and Kmart plus most independent pharmacies.

The savings card is especially helpful for people who don't have a prescription drug benefit, who are taking a medication not covered by their insurance or who have a high co-pay or deductible.

The discounts provide an average of 53 percent off the retail price of most pharmacy purchases. Everyone in the family can use the same card. There are no limits to how many times the card can be used and there are no fees to use the card. In addition, when cardholders submit for drug manufacturer rebates, the amount is credited directly to their UPside Visa card rather than through a check or card delivered by mail.

"At Plastyc, we are always looking for innovative financial tools to serve the underbanked. Prescription drug costs are a huge financial burden to many people, so we're excited to offer this chance to save at no cost to our customers,", says Patrice Peyret, CEO of Plastyc.

UPside Visa cardholders can print their UPsideRx Pharmacy Savings card from their online card statement. For more information on the UPsideRX Pharmacy Savings, visit www.upsiderx.com

The UPsideRx Pharmacy Savings card is available through a partnership with DataRx, which helps the pharmacy industry offer meaningful health and wellness savings by leveraging technology. In addition to the free card for prescription drug discounts, UPside Visa cardholders can opt for three, discounted health and safety benefits packages provided by DataRx at prices ranging from $9.99 to $15.99 per month. The optional paid plans come with dental, vision and hearing care, emergency roadside assistance and telemedicine services.

About DataRx: DataRx is a boutique pharmacy benefit management company that provides pharmacy technology services, provides full Pharmacy Benefits Management services for over 50 private PBMs and provides other innovative health and lifestyle savings programs, including telemedicine (doctors by phone 24/7), discounts on vision, dental and hearing care as well as discounts to fitness centers nationwide.

   Plastyc CEO to Present Guidelines for Youth Payment Cards at Underbanked Financial Services Forum

New York, NY, Jun 6, 2011 -- Policy-makers, financial literacy experts, bankers and technologists will be in attendance at the 6th Annual Underbanked Financial Services Forum, June 8 to 10 in New Orleans, where Plastyc CEO Patrice Peyret will lay out a set of design guidelines for a new generation of prepaid cards for the youth market.

Youth prepaid cards are meant to help address a fundamental problem: a shortage of affordable financial services tailored for teens and young adults. Young adults typically carry low balances that can make checking accounts unaffordable. And unless they are 21, they often can't get credit cards on their own. Reloadable prepaid cards can be a great option, as long as the cards are targeted to their needs and offer easy-to-understand and affordable plans.

"Slapping a celebrity image on a costly, generic prepaid card won't do. As an industry, we need to do a more effective job of understanding the youth markets and tailoring products to meet their needs better and more affordably than any other alternative," Peyret said.

In a panel session called "The Young and the Bankless", Peyret will lay out youth market guidelines that include:

  • Extensive mobile access via smart phones and simple text messaging
  • Loyalty reward programs that help create incentives and rewards for saving money or other desired behaviors
  • An easy way for parents to add money to the cards
  • Integration with budgeting tools
  • An easy to make person-to-person payments for sharing expenses with roommates
  • Added services such as automatic enrollment in roadside assistance services (in case a not-so-new car breaks down)
  • The ability to share account reporting with parents
  • Low ATM and reload fees
  • Low or no monthly fees

The youth prepaid card plan draws on Plastyc's experience as a leader in the teen prepaid card and youth banking markets with its UPside Visa and iBankUP.com products. Visa described its own consumer research findings about youth cards at the Prepaid Expo conference in March 2011.

The Underbanked Financial Services Forum is co-sponsored by the Center for Financial Services Innovation and SourceMedia, publisher of American Banker. It is a national event focused on serving the financially underserved.

   Patrice Peyret's Huffington Post editorial "$38 billion dollars in overdraft fees is ridiculous"
Read the article here

   Plastyc Wins Patent For Enhanced Online Payment Methods

New York, NY, May 2, 2011 -- Consumer financial services company Plastyc, Inc. has won a patent for new ways to make online payments more efficient and affordable for online merchants who accept Visa and MasterCard.

The patent defines methods that extend the payment networks' capabilities to address online shoppers' desire to buy digital goods -- such as a 99 cent song or e-magazine -- using debit and prepaid cards.

Specifically, U.S. Patent No. 7,850,080 addresses three areas:

  • Protecting consumers while reducing customer support costs for merchants, by creating a way for merchants and card-issuers to resolve disputes in real time when purchased digital goods -- such as music, e-books, games, applications or videos -- fail to download properly.
  • Enhancing discount programs by enabling merchants to exchange product category information with card issuers when needed. (Today, the card issuer only receives information about the merchant and the amount paid, not the category of the product purchased). The system also allows merchants to flag certain purchases as eligible for loyalty rewards without disclosing the nature of the purchase.
  • Making it more feasible for merchants of small-value digital goods to accept prepaid cards by letting merchants verify the balance of debit or prepaid cards and negotiate a short-term reservation of funds without placing a formal authorization hold on the card. This gives merchants the option to safely aggregate micro-payments from one customer and submit them in a batch, reducing the multiple interchange fees that otherwise make small card payments unaffordable for merchants.

Plastyc CEO Patrice Peyret said his company created these new methods to take advantage of the universality, security, speed and reliability of the existing payment networks while also providing innovative services to its customers.

“Too many patents for proprietary payment protocols and electronic tokens mildew inside filing cabinets because they can't be implemented in a scalable manner” said Peyret. “We are offering online merchants the option of a new helper channel without asking them to modify their shopping carts and their checkout pages, or to place a bet on a new payment network”

Plastyc offers consumer payment and financial management services under the iBankUP and UPside Card brands, using long-established and well-standardized networks including VisaNet for card payments, the Automated Clearing House (ACH) network for direct deposits and bill payments and Interlink and Cirrus for cash withdrawals at ATMs.

In addition to the recently awarded patent, Plastyc has additional patents and pending patents to protect its innovations in financial services for consumers.

"These standardized networks are very secure and reliable, but they tend to evolve more slowly than market demand. So our approach is to innovate on top of them," said Peyret.

  UPside Visa Wins Best Consumer-Funded Prepaid Awards

-- Plastyc's UPside prepaid account won top honors as the best consumer-funded prepaid program at the 5th Annual Paybefore Awards, presented at the Prepaid Expo in Orlando last week.

Now in their fifth year, the awards are a prestigious recognition of excellence in the worldwide prepaid and stored value card industry.

Plastyc's UPSide account won recognition for its work in redefining banking and financial literacy for the youth market. UPside offers a choice of parent-funded and controlled cards at different price points. Unlike ordinary checking accounts, parents and teenagers each have separate access to the card accounts and are guaranteed to never incur overdrafts. Teens frequently access accounts from their cell phones or laptops, while parents log in occasionally from a computer to supervise spending and program allowances.

"Visa-backed programs such as the UPside card are quickly evolving as a superior alternative to traditional accounts for a growing number Americans. Of course we're very pleased to have the industry experts at Paybefore call us out as a winner in the category addressing the upcoming generation," said Patrice Peyret, CEO of Plastyc.

According to Visa, prepaid has been its fastest-growing consumer product category for more than six years. Visa estimates the overall industry prepaid opportunity to be as much as $1 trillion in the U.S. and $3 trillion globally.

About Paybefore: Paybefore is the leading information provider to prepaid and stored value industry professionals, offering the latest news, commentary and analysis. Paybefore’s family of industry publications include: Paybefore.com™, a searchable online news and information portal; Paybefore News™, daily news briefs delivered electronically; Paybefore News International™, a weekly compilation of prepaid news and events from outside the United States; Paybefore Update™, a downloadable e-newsletter delivered 20 times a year; Paybefore Legal™, a downloadable e-newsletter covering the legislative, regulatory and judicial developments in prepaid, as well as feature articles by leading attorneys in the field; Paybefore Magazine™, a biannual print publication featuring in-depth articles on the opportunities, challenges and trends in the global prepaid and stored value industry; and the only industry directory, Paybefore Buyer’s Guide™, available online and in print.

  Profile of an Early-Adopter: African American, Female, Low Income, With Kids -- Read the article here

  Plastyc provides its comments to the Federal Reserve Board about the debit interchange regulation

On , the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System met to propose rules for implementing the part of the Durbin amendment related to Debit Card Interchange Fees and Routing. The full text of the proposal can be found here.

Comments on the Proposal will be due by Feb. 22, 2011. The Proposal provides for the Board to issue final rules by April 21, 2011.

Although Plastyc ic unaffected by the Proposal, our position is that the proposed rules will have several adverses consequences for un-banked and under-banked Americans.
Here is the full text of our comments.

  Plastyc Secures Strategic Investment from Core Innovation Capital to Help Underbanked Access Premium Financial Services

Funding from Center for Financial Services Innovation (CFSI) Partner to Accelerate Growth in 2011

Plastyc, provider of a leading Internet and mobile money management platform for the underbanked, announced today the closing of a strategic investment by Core Innovation Capital, the investment partner of the Center for Financial Services Innovation (CFSI).

The financing will be used to build out additional services for Plastyc’s own customers, as well as delivering services to other financial institutions looking to serve the underbanked using a premium, cost-effective platform.

Plastyc's iBankUP money management service and UPside line of prepaid VISA cards address fast-growing demand by the underbanked for responsible financial services. According to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, roughly 60 million people in the U.S. do not frequent banks or credit unions. Millions more Americans have difficulty getting credit cards due to the Credit Card Act of 2009 and can't afford checking accounts due to fee increases. These groups comprise an estimated 100 million or more people in the U.S. who can benefit from better banking services that are more tailored to their needs.

Due to this demand, reloadable prepaid cards, which offer banking services without a traditional bank account, have seen explosive growth of approximately 60 percent per year since 2007, according to the AITE Group.

iBankUP and UPside cards are experiencing fast adoption by the underbanked, supported by Plastyc's state-of-the-art consumer payments platform and a partnership with VISA, the world’s largest payment network. Plastyc's platform supports rapid innovation of key functionality for underbanked consumers. For example, iBankUP was the first to offer completely mobile banking, e-check writing, prepaid phone airtime refills and Facebook access through partnerships and standard technology integrations.

“Premium banking services are critical for the underbanked, and Internet and mobile are the right platforms for speed to market and affordability", said Patrice Peyret, founder and CEO of Plastyc.

Core Innovation Capital is a venture capital firm that invests in innovative and socially responsible financial services for underbanked and unbanked consumers in the U.S. It is the investment partner of CFSI, the nation’s leading authority on financial services for underbanked consumers. CFSI helps pave the path to prosperity for underbanked consumers by developing market intelligence, facilitating partnerships, influencing public policy and investing in promising innovations.

“We are very impressed with Plastyc’s tremendous growth, its leading technology platform and their low-cost, but high-value financial offerings. It is a perfect fit for our mission to provide the best value to underbanked consumers by supporting growth-stage financial technology companies,” said Mike Harris, a partner at Core Innovation Capital who will join the board of directors of Plastyc.

Plastyc was launched by a team of financial innovation entrepreneurs. Prior to founding Plastyc, Patrice Peyret built Mobile365 into a leading mobile messaging and content delivery company acquired by Sybase (now part of SAP) in an all cash $425 million transaction in 2006. He also founded Integrity Arts, a smart card technology company acquired by Sun Microsystems (now part of Oracle) in 1997. Co-founders Carles Guillot and Justin Surman bring leadership built developing products and services for American Express, CitiBank, MasterCard, Sony Music and T-Mobile. Other companies in the track record of the founding team include Oberthur, Signio (now part of PayPal, an eBay company), ClairMail, Lending Club, and Genetic Finance.

For more information, please visit:
Center for Financial Services Innovation (CFSI)
Core Innovation Capital

Older press articles (2010 and before)

For media and press inquiries patrice.peyret@plastyc.com - phone: 1-646-485-5267