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The Prepaid International Forum, a London-based trade group for companies in the prepaid industry, has established an accreditation system for member companies that use its best practices. These practices include making sure marketing complies with local regulations, having clear disclosure of terms and conditions, and ensuring that consumers know how to contact the card issuer with questions and concerns, according to the forum. At first, the forum will accredit issuers, which can display a logo on their cards showing compliance, Evelyn Hunter-Jordan, head of member relations for the forum, tells CardLine. The forum plans to begin evaluating companies and granting accreditation status within the next few months, starting in the United Kingdom and then expanding to the rest of Europe, she says. The forum also has chapters in Australia, New Zealand and Latin America, and those members also have said they are interested in securing accreditation, Hunter-Jordan says. The forum shares members with the Network Branded Prepaid Card Association in the United States and will work with the association to bring accreditation to the U.S. prepaid industry, she says. The forum decided to support accreditation because it wants to educate consumers about the benefits of prepaid and allay consumer concerns by allowing companies that adhere to best practices to display a logo on their cards to show that they do so, Hunter-Jordan says. "It is an easy space to get into because we are not necessarily seen as deposit gatherers," she says. "We have a lot of cowboys who may be considered fly-by-night."

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