Affinion Group Revenues Stay Flat in Q4

CT-based Affinion Group reported revenues for the fourth quarter of $336.6 million, flat with 4Q/06. The lackluster revenue was the result of lower sales in North America partially offset by higher sales in International. Excluding the impact of the Transactions, Segment EBITDA increased $33 million, primarily due to lower marketing and commission costs, and lower product and servicing costs in North America due to a lower member base, which more than offset lower net revenues. In addition, segment EBITDA benefited from $8.4 million in International, primarily due to higher net revenues net of increased marketing costs, as well as the absence in 2007 of a goodwill impairment charge of $15.5 million. For complete details on Affinion’s latest performance visit CardData ([][1]).

4Q/06: $336.1 million
1Q/07: $320.5 million
2Q/07: $333.3 million
3Q/07: $330.6 million
4Q/07: $336.4 million
Source: CardData (


Ocean Tomo Offers a Credit Card Patent

Ocean Tomo Auctions will be placing a patent on its system for preventing fraudulent credit card use on the auction block April 2. Ocean Tomo Auctions will offer the sale of several patents relating to the categories of Online & Mobile Advertising, Messaging, Business Methods & Financial Services, and Web Based Systems & e-Commerce at the Ocean Tomo Spring 2008 Live Intellectual Property Auction in San Francisco. In the Business Methods & Financial Services category, lots contain patents relating to technologies such as systems enabling verification and authentication of credit card use; systems and methods for eliminating buyer uncertainties; and an improved system and method for trading financial instruments, particularly as it relates to online retail trading. Potential acquirers for the aforementioned patents may include financial institutions; online retailers and content providers; verification system providers; consumer goods/service providers; and online securities trading companies.

Accertify and TARGUSinfo Partner for Verification

Fraud prevention solution provider Accertify and TARGUSinfo have partnered to offer merchants “On Demand Verification”. Under the agreement, Accertify will integrate “On-Demand Verification” services from TARGUSinfo as part of its “Interceptas” solution. On-Demand Verification services help retailers to instantly verify the millions of consumers incorrectly red-flagged by credit-card authorization systems and reduce false positives that cost billions in lost sales and customer loyalty. Interceptas is an intergrated platform designed from the merchants’ perspective for combating card-not-present fraud, enabling the complete fraud prevention process to be managed with one comprehensive solution.


sQuidcard and the Greater Manchester Passenger Transport Executive
(GMPTE) have signed agreements to deliver a city-wide prepaid transit
smartcard pilot service, initially in the Bolton district. The pilot
will serve
Arriva Manchester bus travelers and can be used for conducting low-cost
transactions. sQuidcard Nucleus subsidiary is targeting the GBP200 billion
annual, sub-GBP10 card transaction market with its “eMoney purse”

GCA to Acquire Certegy Gaming Services

Global Cash Access has signed a deal to acquire Certegy Gaming Services from Fidelity National Transaction Services. GCA will acquire all of CGS’ issued shares of stock for a purchase price of $25 million, and CGS will become a wholly owned GCA subsidiary. In addition, GCA will replace CGS’ cash currently held in CGS’ ATM machines and cages located at its customer premises. GCA will gain approximately 100 new employees as a result of the acquisition. CGS provides cash access services to approximately 130 gaming properties in the U.S. and the Caribbean. Goldman, Sachs & Co. acted as financial advisor to GCA and Morrison & Foerster LLP acted as legal advisor to GCA.

Euronet Pulls Out of MoneyGram Negotiations

Euronet Worldwide has decided not to submit a proposal to acquire MoneyGram International. The Company says it has ceased discussions. In December, after rejecting a prior offer, KS-based Euronet made a new offer to acquire MoneyGram International in a tax-free, all-stock transaction valued at $1.65 billion. The deal represented a premium of about 43% to the closing price of MoneyGram shares on December 4th, the day Euronet made its latest offer. Earlier this month, Thomas Lee Partners and Goldman, Sachs made a $700 million+ investment into MoneyGram International. The Company also entered into an agreement with affiliates of Goldman Sachs to provide debt financing of up to $500 million, with additional $200 million to follow. (CF Library 12/13/07; 2/13/08)

Credit Card Issuers Must Dig Into Segments

A new report suggests that the existing models and metrics do not prepare issuers for the credit crisis that followed in the wake of the subprime mortgage collapse. To remain successful, TowerGroup believes, card issuers must look deeply into each segment of their portfolios and react more quickly to the fast-changing environment. The new TowerGroup research report, titled “Process and Data Risks in a Changing Economy: How Credit Card Issuers Can Protect Their Portfolios,” five core challenges to the credit cycle: Changing Purchasing Habits; Changing Payment Patterns; New Tests for Risk Models; Redefinition of a “Good” Customer; and “Wild Card” Vulnerabilities.


Giesecke & Devrient (G&D) and Wirecard Bank AG have introduced the
e-business application that the organizations have jointly developed at
this year’s
CeBIT. Upon registration with the Wirecard Bank internet payment service,
consumers can use the electronic application in conjunction with a
card reader on their own computer, allowing authentication with personal
identity documents and PIN. This implementation confirms the importance of
standards for microchip-equipped cards and peripheral middleware support.
Giesecke & Devrient develops solutions and systems for payment processing,
employs nearly 8,300 people and generated a 2007 revenue of EUR1.3
billion while Wirecard AG electronic payment provider supports over 9,000

Americans Worry About Non-Mortgage Debt

A new survey shows that 61% of Americans carry non-mortgage debt. The poll by Bankrate found that while 91% believe debt can be controlled by disciplined saving and spending, 72% also believe that debt is a part of modern life and difficult to avoid. About 75% of those with annual incomes of at least $75,000 regularly carry debt month-to month as opposed to only 36% of those with annual incomes under $20,000. Bankrate says men worry less than women about the debt they carry (40% vs. 30%) The national random-digit-dialed phone study of 1,014 adults 18 or older was conducted for Bankrate by GfK Roper Public Affairs & Media.


Misys has partnered with Petra Financial to launch its “Customer Payment
Initiation” through the “Touchstone” interface. With this Petra interface,
users will be allowed to capture, validate and route payment instructions
using integrated reference data, subsequently providing automatic
improvement in Straight Through Processing rates, charge backs and
efficiency. The Misys Payments aims to provide a complete integrated
payments solution for every stage of the payments transformation
lifecycle with this development. Misys banking and payment solutions are
used by more than 1,200 customer clients while the organization employs
around 4,500 people serving customers in over 120 countries.


In conjunction with the Company’s recent influx of POS terminal deployment
from 20,000 to 25,000, Yucheng Technologies Ltd has appointed Remington
Hu as its new CEO. Aside from the decision to deploy a greater number of
POS terminals, which were at 8,900 at the end of 2007, the Yucheng board
has elected to appoint Hu based on his previous experience and education.
Included in his experience, Remington was a venture capitalist Chief
Representative/PRC for CVM Capital Partners LLC and was the CFO of the
Wholesale and Retail Business Group for Yue Yuen Industrial Holdings
Limited. Remington’s advanced education includes an MBA degree in Finance
from the Wharton School of Business, University of Pennsylvania, and a BS
degree in Computer Science and Information Engineering from National Chiao
Tung University in Taiwan. Yucheng Technologies Limited (YTEC) has over
1,700 employees, serving banking clients nationwide through its offices
in 11
different cities.


Wincor Nixdorf Int has partnered with FedEx to enhance its ATM and
POS repair service through the latter’s 24-hour, U.S. Kinko centers. With
this development, FedEx Kinko locations will provide Wincor Nixdorf
service technicians with parts inventory from its central Memphis,
Tennessee warehouses, intent on simplifying the process of replacement-
part shipping. Additionally, Wincor Nixdorf will maintain parts inventories
at the FedEx Kinko’s locations, which will also maintain a website for
customers to place orders and provide customer support on a 24/7 basis.