American Express 4Q EPS Rises

American Express Company reported 4Q net income of $1.3 billion, up from $637 million a year ago. Diluted earnings per share rose to $1.21, from $0.56 a year ago. Excluding expenses associated with the merchant litigation settlement agreement announced in late December, fourth-quarter adjusted net income was $1.3 billion, or $1.25 per share. U.S. Card Services reported 4Q net income of $864 million, up from $423 million while International Card Services reported 4Q net income of $103 million, up 8 percent from $95 million a year ago. Total revenues net of interest expense increased 8% for U.S. Card Services and 2% for International Card Services.

TSYS Announces Authorization Controls

TSYS announced plans today to release TSYS Authorization ControlsSM ” a new product that enables credit and debit cardholders to turn their account “on” or “off” from any user interface. This innovative product can be integrated with existing mobile and other online customer service tools, and will help financial institutions empower their consumers to manage their own account preferences, reduce fraud and build customer loyalty. According to the recent TSYS 2013 Consumer Payment Choice Study, more than half of consumers stated they would be “Interested” in using their phone to temporarily allow or block transactions on their card.

NRF Asks Appeals Court to Uphold Lower Swipe Fee Cap

The National Retail Federation today asked an appeals court to uphold a judge’s ruling that the Federal Reserve set its cap on debit card swipe fees far higher than intended by Congress and that the cap needs to be recalculated at a lower level. A three-judge panel of the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals is scheduled to hold a hearing in Washington this morning on the Fed’s challenge of U.S. District Court Judge Richard Leon’s July ruling that the 21-cent cap that took effect in 2011 was too high. The ruling came in a lawsuit brought by NRF and other groups.

Wallaby Certified by PCI

Wallaby announced its official certification by the Payment Card Industry (PCI) Security Standards Council, making Wallaby the first and only credit card optimization solution to receive PCI certification. The certification reflects Wallaby’s full compliance with PCI standards for the security of cardholder data. The report commended Wallaby for its effective implementation of information security policies and processes.

Acculynk Seeks PIN-Based Patent

Acculynk announced that the European Patent Office granted Acculynk patent protection for the company’s propriety process for PIN based authentication over the Internet. The patent protects the mechanisms and processes behind Acculynk’s innovative PaySecure® product, a software-only service that allows consumers to pay for online purchases with their debit card and bank-issued PIN. Acculynk is the only global payment gateway that brings e-Commerce merchants PIN authenticated payments for debit or credit cards across some of the largest markets in the world. Currently the PaySecure solution is supported in 3 of the 5 largest PIN debit markets: USA, India and China. Globally Acculynk supports over two billion bank issued cards in its network.

First Professional Sports Team to Accept Bitcoin

The Sacramento Kings announced they will become the first major professional sports franchise to accept Bitcoin, a popular online currency. The bitcoin purchases will be processed through BitPay. Since purchasing the Kings earlier this year, majority team owner Vivek Ranadivé has directed a business philosophy coined “NBA 3.0,” which focuses on investments in technology, globalization and deep community partnerships. The BitPay relationship marks another manifestation of the 3.0 philosophy in Sacramento.

Primax Enlists First Data for Processing

Primax debit and credit card issuing and merchant acquiring programs, products and services entered into a payments card processing service agreement with First Data. Primax closed on the transaction to acquire the processing business of New England Bankcard Association Inc. (NEBA), a Massachusetts-based association of banks that provided credit card issuing and merchant acquiring programs, products and support services for its members. The Primax acquisition of NEBA processing consolidated the current processing and servicing business of NEBA into Primax and the processing agreement, which was previously between NEBA and First Data, is now between Primax and First Data.

WorldPay & Delego Partner

WorldPay’s end-to-end payment services integrated with Delego epayment processing platform, combining SAP enterprise systems with online payments. The Delego software securely captures electronic payment transaction data from customers and this information is routed to the WorldPay Gateway. WorldPay then manages the payment authorisation and settlement process. This allows merchants to implement WorldPay’s payment processing, alternative payment methods and risk management services through a single connection. The integration also increases security of payment information and reduces the scope of PCI DSS.

Citigroup Net Profit Doubles

Citigroup reported today a 4Q profit for 2013 at double that of its 4Q profit of 2012. Net Income was at $2.7 billion on revenues of $17.8 billion for 4Q/2013 compared to net income of $1.2 billion on revenues of $17.9 billion for 4Q/2012. CVA/DVA was a negative $164 million ($100 million after-tax) in the fourth quarter, mainly resulting from the improvement in Citigroup’s credit spreads, compared to negative $485 million ($301 million after-tax) in the prior year period. Excluding CVA/DVA, fourth quarter revenues were $17.9 billion, down 2% from the prior year period. Fourth quarter 2013 results also included a $189 million after-tax benefit related to the divestiture of Citi’s Credicard business in Brazil, while results in the prior year period included a $1.0 billion repositioning charge ($653 million after-tax). Excluding CVA/DVA, the impact of the Credicard divestiture in the fourth quarter 2013 and the fourth quarter 2012 repositioning charge,6 earnings were $0.82 per diluted share, up 19% from the prior year period.

Visa Metrics 2014

Visa has decided to no longer provide financial metrics for marketing expense, capital expenditures and tax rate for fiscal full-year 2014. However, for fiscal full-year 2014 Visa did provide financial metrics on net revenue growth and client incentives as a percent of gross income. Visa expects annual net revenue growth to be in the low double-digits on a constant dollar basis, with an expectation of two percentage points of negative foreign currency impact for fiscal full-year 2014.

Computop Launches Updated Payment Platform

Computop PSP made available its Computop Paygate 6.0. This latest version of the company’s multichannel global payment platform offers new features and functionality that make it even easier and faster for merchants to conduct business both domestically and internationally, and is fully SEPA enabled in preparation for the pan-European payment harmonization initiative due to go live in February and August 2014. The release of Computop Paygate 6.0 extends yet further the choice of international and domestic alternative payment and processing methods available to support consumer preferences. Paygate 6.0 sees Computop significantly extend its local market presence in a number of key global territories.