Citibank Launches Enhanced Preferred Banking

Citibank introduced its enhanced “CitiBusiness” Preferred Banking for small business owners. Focused on providing more flexibility, convenience and value, “CitiBusiness” is part of Citibank’s renewed commitment to serving the needs of small businesses, which are crucial to job creation and economic recovery in the United States. In addition, CitiBusiness Preferred Banking addresses the increasingly global nature of doing business today, as more and more small businesses look to tap global markets as a way to find new customers and drive sales. The new CitiBusiness Preferred Banking package offers the small business owner Business Interest Money Market Account; Free online stop payments; and the Free Citigold personal account.

Payment Processing & Encrypted Card Data Partner

Empower Software Technologies has integrated its “Storage Commander” V4 and V5 with PPI Managed Payer Data and PPI PayMover Encrypted Swipe from Payment Processing integrated payments. Elements of PPI’s Point-2-Point Cardholder Data Security Program, the Managed Payer Data and Encrypted Swipe technologies protect payment data through all stages of processing and play a critical role in bolstering PCI compliance for self storage operations. The “Storage Commander” utilizes Managed Payer Data for recurring business, allowing the storage of credit card data on PPI’s secure servers, significantly reducing risk for the self-storage operation and the customer.

Citi Depositary for Sky-mobi ADR Program

Citi Global Transaction Services has been appointed by China-based Sky-mobi Limited (Sky-mobi) as the depositary bank for its NASDAQ-listed “Level 3” American Depositary Receipt (ADR) program. Sky-mobi’s ADR program was established through a $58,000,000 offering, with an initial offering price of $8.00 per ADR, each of which represents 8 ordinary shares. Citi offers issuers of debt and equity local expertise and is able to deliver specialized solutions for complex capital market transactions across more than 70 countries. Meanwhile, its Global Transaction Services division offers integrated cash managemen and fund services to multinational corporations, financial institutions and public sector organizations around the world.

mUv

For last minute gift ideas, mUv is urging shoppers to log onto www.muvexperiences.com, order a “Weekend eCertificate” from and have it sent directly to their gift recipient. Each themed Weekend eCertificate from mUv is redeemable against one of a selection of experiences in locations across Canada. The certificate recipient chooses himself his all-inclusive experience online, books it by phone and redeems the eCertificate against the selected package, on location. There are 9 themes and more than 500 experiences in dining, getaways, wellbeing or outdoor activities to choose from, starting at $39.99. Offer a mUvWeekend Spa eCertificate to your spouse, a Charming Hotel to your parents or an Extreme to your teenager; you’ll give them all memorable moments they’ll thank you for, long after Christmas is gone.

89 Degrees Grows 25% in 2010

89 Degrees digital, direct and social marketing is closing 2010 with 25% revenue growth and $30 million in billings, driven by breakthrough marketing programs, a host of new clients, new technology products, agency partnerships and numerous key staff additions. 89 Degrees capped its fifteenth year in business by adding six new clients in 2010 and partnered successfully to win new business with three leading agencies. The agency developed proprietary, patent pending technology that has saved its clients over $5 million in wasted postage and email deployment costs.

Retail Sales Continue End-of-Year Success

MasterCard Advisors’ SpendingPulse macroeconomic report tracking national retail and services sales showed the holiday shopping season through the second week of December continued November’s momentum, with several of the sectors recording moderate to strong gains. With this, eCommerce continues to be one of the stars of the season with a season-to-date growth rate of 13.5%; the Total Apparel category was up 9.8% for the season-to-date; electronics sales was below 2009 levels during the three weeks leading up to Black Friday, but is currently up 0.4% over last year; and the Jewelry sector season-to-date is up 2.6%, with the Luxury ex jewelry category doing slightly better, up 2.8% over the same period last year. Women’s Apparel sales were up 4.4% for the season with the category recording a slightly better showing since Black Friday while men’s sales grew 8.4% year-over-year.

OXO Gives Boost to Think&Go NFC

Think&Go NFC solutions has secured funding with two Business Angels and OXO. With this, Think&Go NFC will accelerate the development of its future-proof solutions for mass-NFC deployment – over 300 phones, NFC native phones and NFC enabled phones- to expand its sales and support network internationally by opening representative offices in Paris and Singapore. Think&Go NFC is based in Marseille and has its R&D Centre in Sophia Antipolis, to better support its customers and technology partners. The first prototypes of services are expected to be shown at Mobile World Congress 2011, in Barcelona.

MCPS Names New Chief Operating Officer

Merchants’ Choice Payment Solutions (MCPS), also known as Delta Card Services, promoted Todd Linden Chief Operating Officer from Senior Vice President. He will be responsible for all aspects of the day to day operations including Sales, Merchant Boarding and Customer Support. He boasts MCPS’ recent improvements in technology, agent relationship management and product innovation and is well positioned to become the next Super ISO in the payments industry. TX-based Merchants’ Choice Payment Solutions (MCPS) has over 20 years experience as a full-service provider of merchant services and processes more than $4.5 billion in annual payment card volume for over 41,000 merchants.

O Bee FCU & Frontstream Pioneer Card Charity

O Bee Credit Union has partnered with Frontstream Payments to make available online charitable donations to help feed the hungry. Credit card donations are made securely via Obee Credit Union’s website and 100% of the donations go directly to the charity. O Bee Credit Union and Frontstream Payments have partnered to bring credit card processing of charity donations to a financial institution’s web site — specifically, food banks and other non-profits that might not otherwise have the online technology to accept gifts in this manner. FrontStream Payments provides payment products and services to small and medium-sized businesses and independent credit card sales organizations.

34% of Small Business Owners Use Smart Phones

A third of America’s small business owners are using smart phones these days, most of whom put the devices to work for business needs beyond e-mail and phone calls. Meanwhile, 19% of small business owners have taken or are currently taking actions to make it easier for mobile users to access their businesses; 34% use a smart phone device; 33% use the devices “very much,” 41% use it “somewhat,” 21% said “not much” and 3% said “not at all.” This, according to the Discover “Small Business Watch,” also shows 44% wished there were better mobile applications available to small business owners, 20% weren’t sure and 35% expressed no desire for more applications. Interestingly, 100% of small business owners ages 18 to 29 use their devices “somewhat” or “very much” for business, beyond phone calls and e-mail, but age wasn’t a huge differentiator in smart phone usage among small business owners, with more people in their 30s using them than in other age groups.

SMARTPHONE USE
AGE GROUP/USAGE
18-29 35%
30-39 44%
40-49 36%
50-64 27%
65+ 16%

CLEAR Deploys Gift Cards

CLEAR biometric-based secured identification program for airports is now available as a gift membership. With this offer, a first-year CLEAR membership or gift membership costs only $155 if purchased with a MasterCard by January 29, 2011, representing a discount of about 15%. CLEAR’s exclusive, dedicated paths to security screening lanes offer members speed, efficiency and predictability using biometric identification. First, members enroll online at CLEARme.com then, in person at a CLEARcube enrollment center, a CLEAR attendant authenticates the customer’s passport and secondary photo ID, fingerprints and iris image.