NFinanSe, Prepaid Debit-Card Issuer, Sues Its Distributor

NFinanSe Inc., an issuer of prepaid debit cards, sued its distributor and rival, Interactive Communications International Inc., claiming it blocked retailer access to cards, according to a copy of the complaint provided by nFinanSe.

NFinanSe, based in Tampa, Florida, accused Interactive Communications of blocking access to its cards as leverage to force a price-fixing agreement on it.

The suit was filed under seal Oct. 31 in federal court in Atlanta. An unsealed copy couldn’t immediately be obtained from the court or the filing verified.

Leah Gladu, a spokeswoman for Atlanta-based Interactive Communications, said the company declined to comment on the nFinanSe allegations.

Interactive allegedly conveyed to nFinanSe its intention not to fulfill its contractual obligations as distributor unless nFinanSe agreed to join Interactive’s “Vanilla Reload Network,” which would set a uniform $3.95 fee for consumers seeking to add money to their prepaid debit cards.

Interactive’s actions constitute an illegal restraint of trade and violate U.S. antitrust laws, nFinanSe claimed in the complaint.

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