The U.K.’s ServerSide Group has created a “Virtual Portfolio” to allow issuers to offer an infinite variety of stock and personally designed cards to an unlimited number of affinity groups. With this online system, all stakeholders in the card creation and management process can create, collaborate, review, approve and market cards without restrictive inventory issues such as forecasting how many cards are required, dealing with the problems of over- and under-printing, and storage costs. The speed to market new card products targeting subgroups has massively increased and can be launched and managed at very little cost. The “Virtual Portfolio” online interface allows issuers to rapidly launch card programs targeting any number of affinity partners, subgroups, co-brands, individual branches and even specific events such as concerts or sport matches.
A survey conducted by Visa, titled “Global Commercial Payment
Cards: Cutting Costs and Boosting Control on a Global Stage,” examines
practices and strategies with the use of commercial payment programs,
specifically corporate cards and purchasing cards, for organizations in
major regions, including Asia Pacific, Europe, Latin America, and North
America. Annual spending on corporate cards for travel and entertainment
(T&E) expenses has increased among respondents worldwide by more than
20% from 2005 to 2006. Also, 66% of organizations indicate that mandating
the use of corporate cards is the top factor for driving growth of the card
programs. In Latin America and Europe, 56% of employees having a card
have increased travel budgets 60%, while spending on non-travel-related
categories have increased 53%. In Europe, 73% of companies plan to use
P-cards for temporary labor and 67% for IT services. For Latin American
companies, 83% surveyed plan to use P-cards for advertising and marketing
while cost reduction is of significant importance to 80% of
Asia Pacific. Increasing the transaction volume and dollars is important to
65% of companies in North America. Both European and Asia Pacific regions
are nearing the program longevity of North American organizations since the
majority of companies in both of these areas have had P-card programs in
place from three to 10 years (63% and 51%, respectively).
VeriFone Holdings and POS partner MICROS Systems have added Savannah-based Carey Hilliard’s to its roster of restaurants using the “ON THE SPOT” payment solution. ON THE SPOT integrated solutions include a small handheld payment system that provides for credit and debit card acceptance at the point of service and is designed to cut down on credit card fraud and also allow restaurant operators to take advantage of lower-cost PIN debit payment. By allowing patrons to slide their own cards rather than handing them over to another person, “ON THE SPOT” helps cut down on “skimming,” an increasingly common practice in which a restaurant employee swipes the card through a special device that records its owner’s account information, which can then be used in identity theft. The payment system also uses special encryption and other security features to protect all financial data transacted over a restaurant’s Wi-Fi network. VeriFone Holdings provides secure electronic payment solutions.
PayPal has introduced a new partner program that gives special benefits and incentives to e-commerce and financial service providers that integrate and offer PayPal’s “Express Checkout” to their merchant customers. Under this new program, partners will receive integration technical support, integration best practice information, and access to co-branded marketing materials. In addition, partners that integrate Express Checkout will be eligible for an integration bonus upon receiving certification from PayPal and listed in PayPal’s Solutions Directory. Charter members of PayPal’s partner program include CardinalCommerce, Chase-Paymentech, ProStores, and Zen Cart.
American Express announced that “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” will be taped in flight from LA to NY. During the flight, Ellen and the Delta flight crew will highlight for the onboard audience ways in which American Express offers the ultimate in stress-free travel. This trip with Ellen marks one of the first initiatives to launch under American Express’ new “Are you a Cardmember?” communications campaign that showcases the value of American Express membership and its array of special benefits and services. The campaign encourages prospective Cardmembers to join the community and reinforces for existing Cardmembers the host of benefits and services currently available on American Express Cards.
VISA has officially named Joe Saunders as Chairman and CEO of VISA Inc. VISA’s regional boards of directors unanimously approved Saunders’s appointment after an extensive six-month search. Saunders previously had been named the designated Executive Chairman of VISA Inc.’s Board of Directors, a role he assumed in February. VISA plans to form VISA Inc. through a series of mergers involving VISA Canada, VISA USA and VISA International. VISA Europe will retain its member- owned association structure and will become a licensee of VISA Inc. Because VISA Inc. is not expected to be formed until later this year, Saunders is performing his duties as Chairman and CEO as a designated appointee of VISA Inc. Prior to becoming VISA Inc.’s Executive Chairman in February, Saunders served as President of Card Services for Washington Mutual. He joined Providian in 2001 as President and CEO, and was elected Chairman of its Board of Directors in 2002. From 1997 to 2001, he served as Chairman and CEO of Fleet Credit Card Services at FleetBoston.
First Data has hired Jerry Bartlett, previously with TD AMERITRADE, as Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer of Development for First Data Resources. While at TD AMERITRADE, he oversaw all IT initiatives, including business technology planning, application development, information and physical security, and IT infrastructure and architecture. After directing the application integration in a key merger at TD AMERITRADE, he was recognized as one of ComputerWorld’s 2005 Premier 100 IT Leaders based on his leadership in managing risk and execution during the merger. Before working at TD AMERITRADE, Bartlett led large applications development and database organizations in the St. Paul Company and also led several initiatives as a manager of systems development for the American Red Cross. Bartlett holds a B.S. in Technology and Management from the University of Maryland.
Total online sales are expected to hit nearly $260 billion this year, an increase of 18% from 2006. The report from Shop.org and conducted by Forrester Research of 170 retailers, suggests that online sales growth is a result of an influx of new retailers offering products, liberal shipping policies such as free shipping on returns and exchanges, and use of new technologies that allow customers to zoom and rotate merchandise before buying. The report also notes that debit and credit card purchases continue to drive online retailer growth. The study also found that Americans spent more online on clothing last year than they did on computers for the first time in history. The report found the apparel, accessories and footwear category reached $18.3 billion in 2006 and is expected to hit $22.1 billion in 2007. This year, 10% of all clothing sales are expected to occur online.
A new report predicts that within the next five years 35% of all online banking households will engage in mobile banking, compared to less than 1% last year. Also, that mobile contactless payments, contextually relevant time and event based rewards and various promotional banking offers will become part of the equation, spurring payments activity. The study by Boston-based Celent says SMS and downloadable banking applications will account for much of mobile banking activity over the next three to five years. Today, half of all calls to a bank customer service center are placed from a mobile phone. Celent says that “Generation Y” will gravitate to mobile banking faster than the general population. The research firm also noted that mobile browser-based banking or wireless application protocol banking will not be an effective technology for mobile banking for the next three to five years.
MOBILE BANKING HOUSEHOLDS
2006: 0.2 million
2007: 1.0 million
2008: 5.0 million
2009: 11.0 million
2010: 17.0 million
Research conducted by CreditExpert.co.uk, an Experian credit card
monitoring service, has found that British overspending has not changed
despite awareness of poor financial control and high debt levels. Many
British submit to irrational ‘therapy spending’ and regular overspending
because of stress, domestic issues and feeling “down”, highlighting the
need for practical education and advice. The research finds that 80% of
those surveyed admit to overspending, 5% have considered, or taken
out, an IVA or declared themselves bankrupt, 9% have taken out a credit
card to pay off debt on another credit card, and 10% have missed
payments on credit cards, store cards, loan or mortgage repayments. In
response, “Credit Awareness Week” has been organized to assist UK
consumers to better manage their finances. It has been organized by Credit
Today magazine together with an expert group of partner organizations
including Experian, The British Bankers Association and the Consumer
Credit Counseling Service.
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Heartland Payment Systems has signed a letter of intent to increase its strategic investment in Parcxmart Technologies’ Payment System. The Parcxmart Card is a fully functional parking and local merchant smart card payment system. The platform uses smart card technology that offers a convenient one-card alternative to coins and cash for small dollar transactions. The Parcxmart Card can be used at on-street and off-street parking locations as well as for retail purchases at participating merchants. The two companies will also develop an exclusive marketing agreement whereby Heartland’s national sales network will have exclusive rights to sell Parcxmart’s payment system to merchants and municipalities nationally. Currently, Parcxmart’s smart card payment system is fully operable in Bridgeport, CT, New Haven, CT and Truckee, CA. Heartland Payment Systems provides credit/debit card processing, payroll and payment solutions.