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TMG adds merchant-funded rewards

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DES MOINES (9/11/12)--Members Group (TMG) has added a merchant-funded rewards platform to its existing card-rewards program used by credit unions and community banks to optimize credit and debit portfolios.

Merchant-funded rewards are designed to stand alone or supplement an issuer's traditional rewards offering.

With merchant-funded rewards, merchants carry the cost burden often associated with rewards redemption. Merchants benefit from increased sales as a result of the program creating, a win-win for financial institutions and retailers, according to Matt Flynn, TMG director of client relations.

"The trickle-down effect" of the cap on debt interchange and the increased competition for walletshare among issuers "is creating a need for a holistic set of tools to help community financial institutions get the most out of their portfolios," said Flynn. "Merchant-funded rewards get issuers where they need to be competitively, yet affordably."

Visa seeks patent to boost prepaid card processing

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SAN FRANCISCO (9/11/12)--Visa is seeking a patent to create a rewards program for prepaid cards.

Under the proposal, a prepaid card user could invite another person to become a card owner (Investment Weekly News Aug. 30). The person sending the invitation would receive a reward for referring the person invited, with the amount or timing of the reward related to the invited person's amount in using the new account.

The invitations would be sent through e-mail or social media.

The account holder who sent the invitation could transfer funds to the new account holder card.

The rewards program is designed to increase penetration of prepaid cards and may lead to a long-term relationship between the issuer and the new customer, Visa said.