American Express reported that its International Card Services unit produced fourth-quarter net income of $36 million, compared to a net loss of $68 million a year ago. While cardholder spending decreased 14% and charge-offs topped 3.0%, expenses for marketing, promotion, rewards and cardholder services decreased 53% from year-ago levels. Total outstandings for international cards dropped to $9.4 billion, from $12.5 billion in the prior quarter, and $11.4 billion one-year ago. Volume declined from $28.2 billion for 4Q/07 to $24.2 billion for 4Q/08. Total number of international cards was 16.3 million at the end of the quarter. Global Commercial Services reported a fourth-quarter net loss of $18 million compared to net income of $110 million a year ago, due largely to the acquisition of a commercial card and corporate purchasing unit in March 2008. Global Network & Merchant Services reported fourth-quarter net income of $215 million, down 15% from a year ago, reflecting lower merchant-related revenues from the decrease in global card billed business, offset in part by higher revenues from GNS’ bank partners. For complete details on American Express’ U.S. and international cards businesses visit CardData (www.carddata.com).
The Conference Board “Consumer Confidence Index” inched lower in
January and continues to be at a historic low. The “Index” now stands at
37.7, down from 38.6 in December. It appears that consumers have begun
2009 with the same degree of pessimism that they exhibited in the
fourth quarter. Consumers saying business conditions are “bad” increased
to 47.9% from 45.8%, while those saying business conditions are “good”
declined to 6.4% from 7.7% last month. Those expecting business
conditions to worsen over the next six months decreased slightly to
31.1% from 32.9%. Consumers’ assessment of the labor market, however,
was slightly more positive. Those claiming jobs are “hard to get” edged
down to 41.1% from 41.5% in December, while those stating jobs are
“plentiful” edged up to 7.2% from 6.5%.
For more information, check out CardData.com.
Payment technology provider Card Activation Technologies has filed five
new lawsuits to obtain royalties for the use of its patented technology
for debit and gift cards. The lawsuits were filed in the U.S.
Federal District Court in Chicago on January 21, 2009 against Casual
Male Retail Group Inc., BeBe Stores, Whole Food
Markets, Barneys of New York, Inc. and Panda Restaurant Group.
These lawsuits bring the total to 12 filed by the company in the past
two years. Card Activation Technologies has settled most of the previous
lawsuits. Lawsuits are still pending in U.S. Federal District Court in
Chicago against Barnes & Noble and Aeropostale, Inc. In addition, over
600 letters have been sent to other companies advising them of the patent.
First Data has partnered with Tieto to offer a new payment solution based on the Tieto Card Suite Acquiring module designed to simplify and speed up the payment process for both state institutions and their end customers. The service is a convenient way of making
payments instead of multiple bank transfers. The end users will now be
able to pay for the services of Latvian state institutions with a
payment card. The Tieto solution’s configuration possibilities allow for automatically splitting the transaction amount into several dedicated accounts. State institutions benefit in terms of fewer queues, a significant decrease in manual work as well as in transaction cost savings leading to generally improved work efficiency. Tieto is an IT service company providing IT, R&D and consulting services.
TSYS reports that total revenues grew 8% to $493 million and net income
soared 45% to $66 million for the fourth quarter. North America Services
revenue was up 6% to $343 million even though the number of transactions
processed slipped 4% to 1.7 billion and the number of accounts on file
declined 9% to 319 million. Global Services’ revenue increased 14% to
$71 million and was unfavorably impacted by the strengthening of the
U.S. Dollar against the British Pound. Merchant Services’ revenue was
$79 million for 4Q/08, an increase of 7% over 4Q/07. During the quarter,
TSYS signed an agreement with Unicard Mexico;
began offering merchant payment services to PaySquare in the Benelux;
opened a new data center in Okinawa, Japan and signed AZ Card, OCS and
Nagasaki Kenmin Shinyo Kumiai to service 340,000 accounts; signed a
multi-year agreement with Sony Finance to process its newly introduced
credit card program; and announced that China UnionPay Data Services, a
joint venture with China UnionPay, signed processing agreements with
China Postal Savings Bank and Bank of East Asia. For 2009, TSYS projects
total revenue growth between 0% and 2% or $1.94 billion to $1.98 billion
and that net income will be flat or shrink up to 3% or between $243
million and $250 million. For complete details on TSYS’ fourth quarter
performance visit CardData ([www.carddata.com](http://www.carddata.com)).
4Q/07: $458 million
1Q/08: $462 million
2Q/08: $483 million
3Q/08: $500 million
4Q/08: $493 million
Source: CardData (www.carddata.com)
Telecom provider Nextel and ATM provider NCR Corporation have teamed to provide a self-service bill payment solution. The NCR self-service bill payment solution deployed by Nextel includes a managed services agreement that provides hardware and software service, remote system monitoring and 24/7 help desk support. NCR Services are
designed to help businesses enhance customer interactions, reduce costs
and improve the effectiveness of the self-service channel through
increased availability. The solution is based on the NCR “SelfServ 32”
automated teller machine platform and is designed to enhance
service by allowing Nextel customers to quickly pay their bills without
staff assistance, using cash, credit cards or debit cards. Currently, the NCR “SelfServ” ATMs are installed at Nextel Customer Services Centers in Mexico City, Guadalajara, Monterrey and Mexicali with plans to install the machines in 24 other major cities throughout Mexico.
Profit Technologies has hired Larry Pruss, previously with BoA, as
Managing Director for the Loans and Credit Card practice, and Gautam
Bose, previously with Wachovia, as Managing Director for Analytics.
Pruss served as Card Services Portfolio Analytics and Testing Executive
at Bank of America and his executive leadership
experience includes analytic, portfolio acquisition, and loyalty
marketing organizations. He has a proven track record of working across
functional silos; driving growth, reducing risk, improving operating
efficiencies, and increasing profitability. Bose served as the Business
Insight Executive at Wachovia Card and Payments Group. He also has
leadership experience in Marketing and Risk analytics and in Predictive
Model Development and Implementation. His initial role with Profit
Technologies will be to develop innovative analytical engagements with
clients globally. Profit Technologies provides specialized
profitability and performance improvement solutions to enterprises
over $12 billion in enhanced revenue and cost reduction benefits for its
Transaction management company Venture Infotek has been
declared the winner of the prestigious IMC Ramkrishna Bajaj National
Quality (RBNQ) Award Program ’08 in the Small Business category. Venture Infotek manages payment card and other transactions emanating from over 140,000 merchant locations in India, and managed card issuing programs for over 5,000,000 cards. Last year Venture Infotek processed 150 Mn transactions and commerce of Rs. 35,000 Cr.
A new application has been developed that enables an Apple “iPhone” or “iPod Touch” to become a credit card terminal. The new “ProcessAway” API utilizes the Authorize.net gateway. The Authorize.net merchant account used with “ProcessAway” includes an option to download
transactions into “Quickbooks” and also a comprehensive “Virtual Terminal.” The “ProcessAway” software will be sold through the iTunes AppStore for $19.99. A fully functional free version, called “ProcessLite,” is identical to “ProcessAway” except the charge amount is limited. Both “ProcessAway” and “ProcessLite” will appear in the AppStore this week.
TNB has purchased the 1,700 card portfolio of LA-based Carter Federal
Credit Union. Carter Federal will tap TNBâs portfolio
consulting team to evaluate the card program and develop a strategic
plan that will enable it to reach 15% of growth in 2009. TNB will assess
the risk of the portfolio and optimize it by implementing changes to
pricing, product, and credit lines to ensure risk is properly balanced
with the credit unionâs threshold. Carter Federal will also implement
TNBâs Rewards2UÂ® loyalty program to increase card usage and
competitiveness, as well as offer the “MasterCard Family Account”, which
will enable it to reach younger âGen Yâ family members. The credit union
has also committed to being more proactive in marketing its card by
leveraging TNBâs marketing efforts, which include campaigns for
acquisition, usage, and retention. Carter FCU holds !40 million in assets.
Dynamic Card Solutions saw a 23% increase in revenue in 2008. During
the year, DSC issued 72 new instant issue CardWizard software licenses
and saw its customer base expand to 442 financial institutions.
Dynamic Card Solutions is an instant issuance
provider for Visa and MasterCard debit cards in the United States. The
company offers fully integrated solutions that allow financial
institutions and retailers to quickly and securely issue ATM, debit,
credit and prepaid cards instantly at branch or store locations.