Vision Electronics electronics retailer has joined Alliance Data’s
AIR MILES(R) Reward Program”. Participants in “AIR MILES” can collect
points when making purchases at any of the 100 retail sponsor locations for
redemption of various goods and services, such as travel, entertainment
attractions and merchandise, among much else. The program was introduced
over 15 years ago and has grown to include participation from over
of Canadian households. In total, Alliance Data manages over 120 million
consumer relationships and employs over 9,000 around the world while
Electronics has 25 superstores throughout Western Canada.

Credit Card ABS Delinquency Hits a 07 High

Credit card delinquency, among “prime” credit card-backed securities, rose for the fourth consecutive month, hitting a new high for 2007. However, charge-offs headed down in October for the third straight month, largely due to fewer collection days. Delinquency (60+ days), which is an indicator of future charge-offs, rose by 14 basis points in October. Charge-offs declined 25 basis points, but remain 72 points higher than one-year ago. According to FitchRatings, “prime” charge-offs for October were 4.50% compared to 4.75% in the prior month and 3.78% for October 2006. The “prime” 60-plus day delinquency index for October was 2.74%, compared to 2.60% in September and 2.40% one-year ago.

Jan 07: 4.31% 2.57%
Feb 07: 4.13% 2.66%
Mar 07: 4.36% 2.69%
Apr 07: 4.51% 2.64%
May 07: 4.63% 2.61%
Apr 07: 4.51% 2.64%
May 07: 4.63% 2.61%
Jun 07: 4.60% 2.57%
Jul 07: 4.52% 2.51%
Aug 07: 4.88% 2.57%
Sep 07: 4.75% 2.60%
Oct 07: 4.50% 2.74%
* 60+ day
Source: Fitch Ratings

NCO Group to Acquire Outsourcing Solutions

PA-based NCO Group has inked a definitive agreement to acquire Outsourcing Solutions for $325.0 million in cash. OSI is a provider of business process outsourcing services, specializing primarily in accounts receivable management services. OSI produced about $441.5 million in annual revenue in fiscal 2006. The acquisition is currently expected to be accretive to NCO’s earnings in 2008 and beyond. NCO Group recently reported that third quarter revenue was up about 2% to $307.2 million. After the completion of the acquisition, the combined company will have over 29,000 employees operating in 10 countries. NCO is a portfolio company of One Equity Partners, a private equity investment fund. (CF Library 11/15/07)


Wise Media’s 2007 “ID World automatic identification summit” grew by over
50% from the previous year with 2,419 individual visitors
and 112 exhibitors. The conference provided vendors with an ideal
environment in which to establish business contacts and integrators to
discover new technology applications. Additionally, the ID World summit
was inaugurated by 4 CEOs, whom are fundamental to the ID Revolution
community, and featured the launch of applications for state-of-the-art
identification technologies illustrated by other top executives, for a
total of
over 140 speakers’ contributions. This summit was endorsed by such
organizations as the European Commission, the Italian Ministry of Interior
and the Presidency of the Italian Council of Ministers. With these
endorsements, the conference’s primary focus is on identification
comprising of RFID, biometrics and smart cards.

Webster Bank to Brand ATMs in Walgreens

CT-based Webster Bank and Walgreens have entered into an agreement to place its brand on 158 ATMs in select Walgreens’ pharmacy stores. Webster will not charge withdrawal fees to customers who use their Webster debit or ATM cards in these new ATMs. Approximately 150 of the new ATMs will be in Webster’s Massachusetts and Rhode Island market regions. The project is scheduled to begin and reach completion in the first quarter of 2008. Webster expects to have more than 500 ATMs operating in its footprint by the second quarter of 2008. Webster Financial Corporation is the holding company for Webster Bank, National Association and Webster Insurance, with $16.8 billion in assets.


Farmers have been issued 3,500 bar-coded Ginger Commodity
Credit Cards throughout the Indian countryside. The cards double
as a tamper-proof identity card to ensure against fraud and theft.
Additionally, smaller farmers will be now be able to conduct cashless
purchases and avoid “revolutionary” taxes that would, otherwise, be
imposed upon them for cash purchases. Other benefits afforded
“G-Card” holders is an opportunity to penetrate mainstream banking
and the option to take out a loan for up to Rs. 10,000.

FTC & State AGs Sue Payment Processor YMA

The FTC and seven state attorneys general have charged a payment processor with illegal activity involving debiting consumers’ bank accounts on behalf of numerous fraudulent telemarketers and Internet-based merchants. The defendants, collectively known as YMA, allegedly processed more than $200 million in debits and attempted debits to consumers’ bank accounts between June 23, 2004 and March 31, 2006 and more than $69 million of the attempted debits were returned or rejected by consumers or their banks for lack of consumer authorization. Named as defendants in the complaint are Your Money Access d/b/a Netchex, Universal Payment Solutions, Check Recovery Systems, Nterglobal Payment Solutions, Subscription Services; and YMA Company. Participating state AGs include Illinois, Iowa, Nevada, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, and Vermont.

Cardtronics IPO Produces Lackluster Interest

Cardtronics shares closed down 50 cents per share yesterday, its first day of trading, from the IPO price of $10 per share. The day before trading began the Houston-based ATM specialist reduced the size of its offering and cut the price to the low range of what was expected. The shares are trading on “The NASDAQ Global Market” under the ticker symbol “CATM”. Cardtronics expects to receive net proceeds of approximately $110.1 million from the offering and intends to use the net proceeds to pay down existing debt. Cardtronics posted third quarter revenues of $110.6 million, a 45% leap over the year-ago quarter and up 43% sequentially. The increase was primarily driven by the July acquisition of the financial services business of 7-Eleven, which added $30.1 million of revenues in the third quarter. However, the Company recorded a net loss for the quarter of $10.7 million, compared to a net loss of $0.3 million for the same period in 2006. The Company has a nationwide U.S. network of more than 28,600 ATMs operating in every major market and all 50 states, as well as over 1,900 ATMs throughout the U.K. and over 1,000 ATMs in Mexico. (CF Library 11/15/07)


The ASIC has put an end to the sales of the “Virtual Money” ATM card
citing its customer distribution without an Australian financial
services license
(AFSL). The ATM cards are designed to provide cardholders with a
debit card solution that allows typical card functionality and because
offering is considered to be a non-cash payment Australian consumers, it
must hold an AFSL under ASIC regulation. In response to this
investigation, Virtual Money has complied and has instructed agents not
to sell any more cards.


The RBI subsidiary, The Institute for Development and Research in
Banking Technology
(IDRBT), has thrown out policies that require customers to pay Rs 2
for transaction switching when using ATMs. In place of this fee, banks
will only charge
mutual interchange transaction fees while some may waive the fee entirely.
All banks involved support this amendment and look forward to providing
a more user-friendly ATM service. A Nationwide Financial Switch (NFS)
was originally established to provide banks with a network of 16,891
ATMs under 27 member banks. ATM usage accounts for nearly 70% of
banking transaction in India with around 75,000 transactions on a daily
basis. With this development, however, experts project that ATM usage is
soon to account for closer to 90% of all banking transactions. The member
banks concerning this development include ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank, Axis
Bank, Canara Bank, Corporation Bank, Bank of Baroda and Punjab
National Bank, among others.