Consumer Debt

[ihc-hide-content ihc_mb_type=”show” ihc_mb_who=”0″ ihc_mb_template=”1″] The latest figures from the Federal Reserve show consumer revolving debt is now rising more than than 6% year-on-year, for the first time since the “Great Recession.” The latest monthly figures indicate total consumer credit card grew 6.1% in October, compared to -0.3% in September and 1.4% in August. However, RAM…

Infinea BluePad mPay Solution Launced

Infinite Peripherals, Inc. (IPC) today introduced the Infinea BluePad, a mobile payment solution that includes PIN entry, a contact chip smart card reader and a magnetic stripe reader with Bluetooth connectivity. Compatible with iOS and Android (OS 2.1 or higher), the Infinea BluePad can operate either as a stand-alone mobile device or as a companion to IPC’s mobile peripheral devices, including the Linea Pro® and Infinea Tab,® which work with Apple®’s iPod touch®, iPhone® and iPad®. The Infinea BluePad features a tactile keypad with 10 numeric and six functional keys, as well as smart card and magnetic stripe readers with three-track hi-coercivity bi-directional reading capabilities. One of the key differentiators that makes the Infinea BluePad product line versatile yet affordable is that IPC does not require a transaction or fee-based contract in order to acquire the device.

Gemalto Launces Next Gen M2M at CES

Gemalto today announced at CES, the addition of next generation Oracle Java™ ME Embedded version 8 solutions based on Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. (QTI) chipsets to its Cinterion® portfolio of cellular modules and devices. With support for Java and for the SensorLogic cloud-based software as a service (SaaS) platform, the new products enable Gemalto to launch next generation embedded solutions and services that simplify Machine-to-Machine (M2M) technology and speed up application development to expand the growing Internet of Things (IoT). The new products(1) will target applications from medical devices, automobiles and smart meters to shipping containers, home appliances and alarm systems. Gemalto’s new Java enabled products join an existing portfolio of QTI-based modules that span the full range of cellular technologies, from CDMA to LTE.

M&T Bank Executive Changes

M&T Bank Corporation announced today that Vice Chairman Michael P. Pinto, 57, has resigned from M&T’s board of directors due to a serious medical condition. However, Mr. Pinto will continue as Vice Chairman of M&T Bank, M&T’s primary banking subsidiary, on a part-time basis in an advisory role. In addition to this change President Mark J. Czarnecki has also been named Chief Operating Officer, effective immediately. Furthermore, M&T announced that Chief Financial Officer Rene F. Jones and Executive Vice President Kevin J. Pearson have been named Vice Chairmen of M&T Bank, and with expanded roles, will now report to Mr. Wilmers as well.

Payelp Partners with Fortumo

International business and payment platform Payelp Global announced its partnership and integration with Fortumo, which offers merchants “one-click” mobile payments in 79 countries worldwide. Fortumo, which has offices in the U.S. (San Francisco), Europe, China and India, not only offers mobile payments in the U.S. and Europe, but focuses on emerging regions and “hard-to-monetize” regions such as Latin America, Middle East, Africa, Central and Eastern Europe and Asia. Over 100,000 developers have already signed up to offer Fortumo mobile payments, including top developers such as Rovio, Electronic Arts (EA) and Gameloft.

Asta Funding Acquires CBC Settlement Funding

Asta Funding, Inc. today announced the acquisition of an 80% ownership interest in CBC Settlement Funding, LLC (“CBC”) On December 31, 2013, the Company, through a subsidiary acquired 100% of the ownership of CBC and its affiliate, CBC Management Services, LLC, for approximately $5.9 million. At the closing, the operating principals of CBC, namely William J. Skyrm, Esq. and James Goodman, were issued a 20% interest in CBC (10% to Mr. Skyrm, and 10% to Mr. Goodman). William J. Skyrm, Esq. and James Goodman, have over 30 years combined experience in the structured settlement industry. CBC purchases periodic payments under a structured settlement and annuity from individuals in exchange for a lump sum payment. In addition, the Company, through another subsidiary has agreed to provide financing to CBC of up to $5 million.

Mercury StoreCard

Mercury Payment Systems, LLC, today announced the launch of Mercury StoreCard™, a gift, rewards, mobile payments and promotions card all in one. Consumers can use the Mercury StoreCard as a gift card or a reloadable stored-value card to earn cash back loyalty rewards on every StoreCard purchase. The Mercury StoreCard can also be converted into a digital gift card via Apple® Passbook® or an Android marketplace app, allowing consumers to pay for purchases with either their physical card or smartphones, creating mobile payment convenience. Consumers can also use their smartphones to view their Mercury StoreCard’s balances, manually or automatically reload their cards, send custom-printed gift cards to their family and friends, and share promotional gift cards via social media.

BPAY Group and IDRBT Join IFX Forum

The Interactive Financial eXchange (IFX; Forum announced two new members: the BPAY Group and the Institute for Development & Research in Banking Technology (IDRBT), both at the Small Business level. The IFX Forum is an international non-profit industry association whose mission is to develop and promote the adoption of its open, interoperable standard for financial data exchange, IFX, which is available at no charge at BPAY is an Australian payments scheme linking individuals and businesses to more than 160 banks and credit unions, and it processes more than 26 million bill payments each month. IDRBT is a banking technology research institute in India, established to provide operational service support in information technology to banks and financial institutions. IDBRT also offers a range of academic programs, and consults in banking technology and related areas.

U.S. Bancorp Aquires Charter One Bank

U.S. Bancorp announced today that its lead bank, U.S. Bank National Association, has reached an agreement to acquire the Chicago branch banking operations of the Charter One Bank franchise owned by RBS Citizens Financial Group. The acquisition includes Charter One’s Chicago retail branch network, small business operations, and select middle market relationships. Once complete, the acquisition will nearly double U.S. Bank’s deposit market share in the Chicago metro area. Under the terms of this transaction, U.S. Bank will acquire approximately $5.3 billion of deposits, $1.1 billion of loans, 94 branches, and 800 employees for a deposit premium of approximately $315 million, or 6 percent. At close, U.S. Bank will have combined deposits of approximately $11.3 billion in Chicago.

US Bank Bill Pay Giving Program Hits Milestone

U.S. Bank Bill Pay Giving has generated $450,000 in contributions to four nonprofit organizations since it began in 2011, nearly $166,000 in 2013 alone. Nearly 340,000 customers have made a charitable contribution through the Bill Pay Giving Program. The program was designed to introduce customers to the online bill payment process by having them make their first “payment” a $1 contribution to charities supporting disaster relief, environmental protection, education and arts, and hunger and poverty relief. U.S. Bank matches customers’ payments up to $50,000 annually.

Comdata Acquires eFueling Technologies

Comdata Inc. has acquired eFueling Technologies, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Woodfin Oil Company. This acquisition allows Comdata to expand its product offerings in the unattended fueling market by combining eFueling’s and Comdata’s product knowledge and industry experience. Comdata and eFueling partnered to develop a robust, web-based site controller system marketed as SmartSight. Launched in 2013, this system provides fuel merchants with real-time insight into transaction data and activity at unattended fueling sites.

Starbucks Expands Starbucks Cards in New Market

Starbucks Coffee Company introduced Starbucks Gift Cards at select locations in China for purchase in three unique design themes, including Thank You, Kind Regards and Happy Lunar New Year. Since the Starbucks Card launched 12 years ago, $16 billion has been loaded on more than 450 million cards in 27 countries worldwide (as of Sept. 30, 2013). Timed to the launch of the Starbucks Gift Card in China, Starbucks is also offering a Lunar New Year Gift Card in participating Starbucks stores in the U.S. The Card celebrates the joyfulness and self-reliance of the horse, this year’s honored animal of the Lunar New Year.