Growth in credit card debt dipped again in January, declining by A$700 million. Credit card volume also slipped 3% due to the weight of credit card surcharges and the economy at large. Year-on-year credit card debt growth has slowed to 5%, compared to 6% in the prior month and 10% one-year ago. According to the Reserve Bank of Australia credit card balances hit A$44.6 billion in January versus A$42.3 billion one-year ago. Credit limits now stand at A$123.6 billion, compared to A$115.3 billion in January 2008. According to the Reserve Bank of Australia there are currently 14.3 million credit card and charge card accounts in Australia, compared to 14.0 million one-year ago.
A new survey has found that “Mass Affluent” consumers (78%) have not
changed their credit card payment behavior in the last 12 months,
despite economic turmoil in the country. Of Mass Affluent respondents
who changed their payment behavior, Chicago-based Mintel found that 11%
formerly paid credit card balances in full each month but now don’t,
while 11% are now making smaller monthly payments. Younger “Mass
Affluent” consumers, especially those under age 45, are more likely to
be making smaller payments each month. Hispanics too have been harder
hit by the economy, and 50% of “Mass Affluent” Hispanics say theyâve
changed their payment behavior. Though most “Mass Affluents” are paying
off their credit card bills each month, Mintel found that many feel
deeply affected by the faltering economy.
Reinforcing the need for vigilance on security at the merchant level,
Visa released a new survey showing that many consumers are choosing to
shop only with retailers they trust to protect their personal data. Of
the 800 U.S. credit and debit cardholders surveyed February 3-5, 2009,
59% said they had decided not to make an online purchase at a particular
web site because they did not trust that site. Another 49% said they had
opted not to shop with a merchant they did not recognize, for fear of
having their personal data stolen.
Shoppers Drug Mart Corporation has rolled out the “Shoppers Optimum
MasterCard” credit card from MBNA Canada Bank, Customers can earn up to
25 Shoppers Optimum Points for every dollar they
spend at Shoppers Drug Mart and Pharmaprix when using both their
Shoppers Optimum MasterCard credit card and their Shoppers Optimum Card.
For every dollar spent, 15 Shoppers Optimum Points will be awarded for
using the credit card and 10 points for using the Shoppers Optimum Card.
When using the credit card elsewhere, cardholders will earn five
Shoppers Optimum Points for every dollar they spend. To celebrate the
launch of the Shoppers Optimum MasterCard,
cardholders will also receive 15,000 Shoppers Optimum Bonus Points,
valued at $25, for the first retail purchase made with the credit card.
Shoppers Drug Mart has more than 1,119 Shoppers Drug Mart and Pharmaprix
operating in prime locations in each province and two territories.
Smart card specification body GlobalPlatform has named
GlobalPlatform, the international specification body
for smart card infrastructure, has appointed Christophe Colas of Trusted
Logic as the new Chair of its Device Committee. Colas is currently
Professional Services Manager in the
Professional & Consumer Devices Business Unit at Trusted Logic. He is
responsible for technical marketing and leads customer integrations of
the company’s wireless security middleware. Christophe’s professional
experience has always been related to multi-application smart card
accepting devices such as payment terminals and wireless devices, and he
has been actively involved in several consortia concerned with
maintaining open standards for smart cards.
Visa’s chief enterprise risk officer discussed the low rate of card
fraud and measures needed to keep the incidents low at Visa’s Global
Security Summit. Ellen Richey told security experts today that payment
card data fraud rates remain near historic lows despite economic woes
and high-profile compromises, and called for continued industry
investment, collaboration and innovation, three key
components in keeping the electronic payment system secure in the
future. Richey also addressed recent security compromises by reminding
the audience that compliance with the Payment Card Industry Data
Security Standard (PCI DSS) continues to be the industry’s best tool to
guard against theft of cardholder data
and the best protection for businesses against unwanted intrusions. She
also added that PCI DSS validation is an annual, minimum requirement for
organizations but that true compliance with PCI DSS is an ongoing effort
Vancity Visa is piloting the use of “ecoEnvelopes”,two-way envelopes
that enable mailers to use one
reusable envelope instead of two traditional envelopes, eliminating the
need for business reply envelopes. To use, Vancity members open the
envelope by tearing along a tab on the
back flap. Addressees can then simply turn around the business reply
insert so that the reply address and postal permit appear in the
envelope window. A wider flap enables the envelope to be sealed once
again, eliminating the need to use a second envelope.
This new initiative supports Vancity Visa’s environmental commitment. In
2007 alone, 37 million business reply mail items were used in Canada.
The new ecoEnvelopes eliminate these business reply envelopes in
mailings, making a significant contribution to reducing the number of
envelopes that are discarded each year.
The business and assets of ID Data Limited have been purchased by Card
Data Management Limited, subject to completion. CDML is a special
purpose investment company focusing on the card services industry and
backed by funds provided by Carl Pauwels an international banking
specialist; Peter Cox, the founder of ID Data and a Singapore based
investment fund. The three parties have together acquired the business.
During Administration ID Data reorganised and strengthened it’s
production management with the appointment of a new personalisation
Bureau Manager with nineteen years experience, and a Card Production
Manager with twenty years experience gained working for major
competitive global players.
Card Data Management Limited has committed substantial working capital
to the business, to ensure a continuation of its current leading edge
card technology business and rapid future development.
Access control and security management provider Hirsch Electronics
announced that its shareholders have adopted the Agreement and
Plan of Merger with SCM Microsystems and two subsidiaries pursuant to
which Hirsch will become a
U.S.-based, wholly-owned subsidiary of SCM. Hirsch and SCM currently
expect closing of the proposed merger to occur
following satisfaction of all of the conditions to closing contained in
the Agreement and Plan of Merger, including the receipt of approval of
SCM’s stockholders to issued shares of SCM common stock and warrants to
purchase shares of SCM common stock in connection with the proposed
merger. At the special meeting of Hirsch shareholders held on March 11,
4,454,394 shares were represented in person or by proxy, comprising 94%
of common stock outstanding and constituting a quorum. 4,369,994 shares,
or 93% of shares outstanding, were voted in favor of the merger at the
special meeting of Hirsch shareholders.
MasterCard has topped 50 million “PayPass” cards or devices, as of the
end of 2008. Currently, the top merchants that have received a visit
from a new customer because of their “PayPass” acceptance include
quick-service restaurants (20%), pharmacies (17%), and supermarkets
(13%). However, consumers who are aware that their card has contactless
functionality are interested in using that feature at a wider range of
merchants including department stores (61%), home improvement outlets
(46%), movie theaters (42%), bookstores (41%), and sports venues (37%).
Consumers also expressed interest in using alternative “PayPass” form
factors including tags (42%), key fobs (41%), and mobile phones (33%).
A recent survey found that 77% of consumers that have a “PayPass”
âenabled card or device use it as their primary form of payment, which
demonstrates its ability to bolster relationships for financial
institutions with cardholders.
The leading players in Canadian payments will convene in
Toronto for the inaugural Payments Canada Summit. A hot topic expected
to be discussed is the subject of several major Canadian banks to offer
debit cards that would carry its logo alongside that of the Interac
Association. Marc O’Connell,
President of Interac Association will open the event with his Keynote
Address: “The Future of Debit in Canada and the New Competitive
E-payment provider Vesta announced that its Kuaipay Ltd. (KPay) division
has begun processing consumer purchases in
Beijing Wal-Mart stores. The service leverages stored value payment
cards produced by the Beijing Communication Transit Card Company and
allows cardholders to swipe their Transit Card to pay for goods at any
of Beijing’s seven Wal-Mart stores. Each store has 40 to 50 cash
registers and transactions are settled in seconds. The contract with
Wal-Mart stores furthers the commercial expansion of
the KPay network and Beijing Transit Card alliance. KPay’s
business is a pre-paid scheme for retail in Beijing, where funds can be
added to an IC stored value card for use in the transportation system
and a variety of retail outlets throughout the city.