NTIS Expected to Publish Death Master File NPRM in Federal Register Tomorrow (Dec. 23, 2014)

The National Technical Information Service (NTIS) is expected to publish tomorrow its NPRM in the Federal Register that would create a certification program to replace the temporary certification program in place now for access to the Death Master File (DMF). The DMF is a tool used by many industries as a means to thwart fraud. An unofficial, pre-published version of the notice is available and can be viewed here; a 30-day comment period is expected.

The proposed rule would establish a certification program through which “persons” would become eligible to gain access to DMF information about an individual within three years of his death. The rule would provide immediate access to the DMF to those who demonstrate a legitimate fraud prevention interest or legitimate business purpose for the information in an effort to reduce identity theft and the occurrences of fraudulent tax returns, according to the notice.

In other regulatory news, the CFPB’s NPRM on prepaid accounts was published in the Federal Register today. Comments must be received within 90 days, by Monday, March 23, 2015.

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SVS: 92% of Shoppers to Spend Same or More on Gift Cards (Dec. 23, 2014)

Seven of every 10 shoppers plan to buy gift cards this holiday season and, among them, 92 percent of shoppers plan to spend either the same amount or more on gift cards than they spent last year, according to an interim holiday spending report by Stored Value Solutions (SVS).

The survey also found the average consumer plans to spend more than $230 on gift cards; 90 percent of consumers that have finished some, but not most of their shopping (26 to 50 percent), plan to purchase gift cards; and 58 percent of consumers between the ages of 18 and 35 plan to increase the amount they spend on gift cards.

SVS’s research is tracked against real-time activity the company sees firsthand, including first-time gift card sales, increases or decreases in same-merchant sales, and average dollar amounts loaded onto gift cards. A nationally representative sample of 1,000 adults age 18 and older completed a brief survey Dec. 1-2. Click here for the full SVS report.

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Alibaba, SoftBank Discuss Collaboration in India (Dec. 23, 2014)

Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group and Japanese telecom and Internet firm SoftBank are in the midst of preliminary talks to work together, instead of compete, to capture a sizable chunk of India’s consumer Internet market, according to a report.

The Economic Times in India cited sources that Alibaba and SoftBank have held meetings with merchant bankers to discuss potential investment and acquisition opportunities in the country for both companies. One possibility involves Alibaba participating in funding rounds for companies in SoftBank’s portfolio in India, which includes online marketplace Snapdeal, taxi service firm Olacabs and online real estate venture Housing.com.

SoftBank is the biggest investor in Alibaba and Snapdeal, which is one of the top three online retailers in India. “As SoftBank expands its investments in India, Alibaba too would be eager to have share of the market and not watch from the sidelines or trade friendly fire just because the Japanese conglomerate is its main investor,” The Economic Times reported. India’s consumer Internet market is estimated to grow to $43 billion by 2019, with online retail contributing approximately $23 billion, according to financial services group Nomura.

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People on the Move: Mike Cahill, Boku Inc.

cahill_mikeMike Cahill has returned to carrier billing specialist Boku Inc. as chief technology officer. He is responsible for leading the company’s global engineering and technical operations, and he’ll operate out of Boku’s San Francisco headquarters, leading technical teams in the U.S., U.K., Germany and Romania. He previously spent two years as vice president of mobile engineering at American Express. Prior to American Express, he served as vice president of engineering at Boku.

Company on the Move: CPI Card Group, Center of Excellence Recognition

Littleton, Colo.-based card producer CPI Card Group has received the Center of Excellence award for the second consecutive year at the Smart Card Alliance’s annual member meeting. The accolade was established in 2013 to acknowledge member companies that reach the highest level of active participation in the alliance by having made outstanding contributions, including providing time, talent and resources across a wide mix of alliance activities. The Smart Card Alliance is a nonprofit association working to encourage the understanding, adoption, use and widespread application of smart card technology.