Credit card APRs hovered around 16% back in 2008 before dropping to a rock bottom 12.64% back in 2010, encouraging a much-needed boost in borrowing. But throughout 2011, rates have consistently increased since the June average of 14.83% and now sit at record highs, currently at 14.99% for the month of November, up .01% from…
US banks of all sizes are backing off the new monthly fees. Banks began instituting monthly fees in response to last year’s Dodd-Frank legislation that limited the amount of money banks could charge merchants for individual transactions. Banks skirted the legislation by charging a flat monthly fee to use debit cards in order to recoup some of the losses. The move to drop monthly debit card transaction fees will certainly help the public image of regional banks. Bank of America abandoned plans to charge $5 a month for debit cards after a nationwide backlash from consumers and lawmakers. With this, Citigroup is considering plans to cut 3,000 or more workers as part of an ongoing effort to control expenses. About 900 of the cuts would be in the company’s securities and banking division, which serves institutional clients.
Citi and Sunoco forged a multi-year renewal of their long-standing U.S. private label credit card relationship. Having offered branded payment products to leading petroleum product provider Sunoco since 2004, Citi provides quick and efficient fuel purchase processing while ensuring that customers have convenient and flexible payment options for their fuel purchases. Citi Retail Partner Cards nearly 90 million accounts and consists of managed assets of approximately $44 billion.
Google Checkout will be incorporated into the new Google Wallet mPayment service. Now available on the mobile websites for movie ticketing companies Fandango and MovieTickets.com. Also Gap retailer announced it would be testing Google Wallet in more than 65 of its Bay Area stores in California. Shoppers at select Gap, Old Navy, Banana Republic, Banana Republic Factory Stores and Gap Outlet locations will be able to pay via Google Wallet with a single tap of their phone.
Fiserv financial services technology solutions concluded its benchmark test demonstrating the scalability and performance of its “Premier” from Fiserv. Run on IBM Power Systems with Solid State Drives (SSDs), show the ability of Premier to manage the Online Transaction Processing (OLTP) and account processing requirements of current and prospective clients while cost-effectively accommodating the future growth of financial institutions of almost any size. Tests showed “Premier” achieved an OLTP benchmark of 5.1 million transactions per hour, surpassing prior benchmark tests utilizing IBM hardware, which demonstrated 1.2 million online transactions per hour.
Global Cash Access Holdings announced the completion of its previously announced acquisition of substantially all of the assets of MCA Processing LLC. GCA is a wholly owned subsidiary of Global Cash Access Holdings and a provider of cash access products and related services to over 1,100 casinos and other gaming properties in the United States, Europe, Canada, the Caribbean, Central America and Asia. It provides cash access with ATM cash withdrawals, point-of-sale debit card transactions, credit card cash advances, check verification and warranty services, and Western Union money transfers.
Cubic Transportation Systems has been selected for contract award by the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) to integrate, deliver, operate and maintain the agency’s next-generation open payments system that will accept bank cards and, ultimately, mobile phone payments. The contract has an estimated value of $454 million, making it the largest automated fare collection contract ever placed in North America. Cubic will operate and maintain the entire system, resulting in an overall 12-year partnership between Cubic and the CTA. Riders without credit or debit cards will be issued reloadable prepaid debit cards that can be used for everyday purchases and CTA rides.
MoneyGram International global payment services announced an underwritten secondary public offering of an aggregate of 9,250,000 shares of MoneyGram’s common stock by affiliates and co-investors of Thomas H. Lee Partners, L.P. and affiliates of Goldman, Sachs & Co. has been priced at $16.25 per share. The selling stockholders have also granted the underwriters a 30-day option to purchase up to an additional 1,387,500 shares of common stock. MoneyGram will not receive any proceeds from the proposed offering. The offering is expected to close on November 23, 2011, subject to the satisfaction of applicable closing conditions.
Thanks to e-gifting, instant delivery through Facebook, personalized video and even mobile options, gift cards have become unique gift ideas in their own right. Holiday shoppers are expected to spend an average of $155.43 on gift cards, the highest amount since 2007 and up from $145.61 last year. With this, gift cards remain the most requested holiday gift, marking the fifth year in a row gift cards have topped consumers’ wish lists. This compares to in 2010 while gift givers will also spend more on each card they buy. Shoppers will spend an average of $43.23 per card, up from $41.48 last year.
Shoppers have the option to use their MasterCard credit cards at all of the nearly 10,000 Dollar General locations across the country, expanding on previous acceptance of MasterCard debit and prepaid cards. Dollar General reinforces its leadership among small-box discounters by adding MasterCard branded credit cards. As consumers have become more comfortable using payment cards, there has been a migration of everyday spending from cash and check to electronic payment.
Sberbank has purchased an institutional license for installation of the OptiCash/OptiNet software developed by Transoft International. Designed to optimize cash management processes for the bank’s branches and ATMs, Transoft is one of the major global vendors of cash flow management software and implementation of their products is known as one of the best worldwide practices for efficient cash liquidity management. Sberbank purchased an institutional license in order to replicate OptiCash/OptiNet across all Sberbank cashpoints in the Russian Federation and centralize all cash flow management processes within the institution.