Citi Releases a Money Guide

Citi has introduced a personal finance guide, “The Citi Commonsense Money Guide for Real People” The Citi Commonsense Guide for Real People shows readers how to achieve financial health by tackling the various aspects of money management through a series of simple yet effective steps. The guide is divided into three easy- to-follow sections, which together teach consumers how to avoid the financial pitfalls that life can present. In section one, “Get Back on Track,” Citi takes a look at several situations where people find themselves in turmoil, such as running out of money before the next payday, keeping credit in check, falling behind on a mortgage payment or covering college costs. Once a plan is set in motion, section two, entitled “Basic Training,” addresses the fundamental building blocks of financial responsibility. The final section addresses potential “Curveballs” such as losing a job unexpectedly, or becoming a victim of identity theft. This section goes back to the basics of education as the most efficient and effective method of making the right choices and getting back on track. Citigroup will donate all profits from book sales to not-for-profit organizations and programs that support and teach financial education.

Lightbridge Inks With Payment Services Interactive

Lightbridge Inc. and Payment Services Interactive Gateway Corp
(PSiGate) have signed a non-binding letter of intent(LOI) stipulating that
Lightbridge will acquire PSiGate’s outstanding shares, currently at
10,554,469 common shares. Also in the agreement is the transaction will
be all cash and valued at approximately C$1.55 per share with maximum
consideration of C$17.825 million and is subject to customary closing terms
and conditions. PSiGate will provide e-commerce solutions allowing
Lightbridge the means of expanding transaction processing beyond U.S.
borders. Total revenue for PSiGate was approximately C$4.2 million in
2006.

PayPass Vending Adds 6 Major Players

Six top vending companies are installing USA Technologies’ “e-Port” cashless payment technology on their vending machines to accept MasterCard “PayPass” cards and devices. North County Vending, Five Star Food Service, A & B Vending, First Class Vending, Mid-Atlantic Vending, and PGI Services are participating. These machines are part of the deployment of 5,000 “PayPass”- and cashless- enabled vending machines announced late last year. The latest rollouts follow “e-Port G6” deployments by Coca-Cola Bottling Company United, the Philadelphia Coca-Cola Bottling Company, the Great-Plains Coca-Cola Bottling Company, and Cadbury Schweppes Americas Beverages. There are nearly 13 million “PayPass” cards and devices issued globally, and “PayPass” is currently accepted globally at 46,000 merchant locations.

Meta Financial Hires Top Card Exec

Meta Financial Group has named Scott Galit, formally a SVP of Global Prepaid Products, as EVP of Meta Payment Systems. Prior to joining MasterCard, Galit was SVP and GM of First Data Prepaid Solutions. Meta is a provider of payment products and services to the emerging prepaid card industry and to business clients nationwide and works with banks, card processors, and third party marketers to develop and issue card programs carrying the brands of MasterCard, VISA, Discover, and various regional debit networks.

RSA Introduces New PCI Solution Tools

RSA has expanded its “Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard Solution” portfolio. RSA also announced a new blueprint for promoting compliance by discovering data and infrastructure, assessing risk, enacting remediation and ensuring sustained controls. Additionally, RSA has formed strategic alliances with nCircle Network Security and Qualys. The new RSA “PCI Solution” offers “PCI DSS Pre-Assessment & Gap Analysis”; “Credit Card Data Discovery & Classification” professional services; and “EMC Infoscape,” an enterprise information risk management solution, which helps customers identify credit card data stored in unstructured formats, such as PDF and Excel files. EMC Infoscape discovers files in file shares and classifies them based on both content and file attributes.

Debit Cards Emerge as Preferred Payment Device

A new study has found that more consumers prefer debit cards than any other type of payment for POS purchases. This is the first time in the study’s history that debit cards exceeded all other payment devices as the overall preferred payment product. The “PaymentDynamics 2007 Preferred Payments Study” from TransUnion and Edgar, Dunn & Company found that 29% of respondents prefer debit cards versus 26% for credit cards. This year’s study shows fewer consumers are adding payment products to their wallets and more consumers are eliminating products from their wallets than in prior years’ studies. Only 31% of respondents added a new payment device to their wallet this past year versus 56% in 2004, while 20% of consumers said they shed payment products compared to 16% in 2004. The study also showed that rewards credit cards represent 50% of all preferred credit cards with 83% of rewards card owners using their reward credit card.

Monthly Payment Rates Begin to Spiral Downward

Monthly payment rates continued their downward spiral in March, falling below 18.50% for the first time since July 2005. The MPR, or the amount that cardholders pay on their credit card debt each month, peaked in October of last year, reaching almost 21%. The higher payment rates were driven by new minimum payment standards that took effect last year. Last week, Moody’s reported that the payment rate among credit card-backed securities fell slightly to 17.72% in February, after posting a record-setting forty-two months of consecutive year-over-year improvement. Moody’s noted that the combination of higher interest rates and a cooling off of the real estate market diminished the attractiveness of “cash out” refinancing activity in which many borrowers reduced their more expensive credit card debt by drawing on the equity in their home — either by refinancing their mortgages or by accessing their home equity lines of credit.

MONTHLY PAYMENT RATES
Apr 06: 20.01%
May 06: 19.68%
Jun 06: 19.99%
Jul 06: 20.46%
Aug 06: 20.20%
Sep 06: 20.02%
Oct 06: 20.83%
Nov 06: 20.01%
Dec 06: 19.70%
Jan 07: 19.88%
Feb 07: 18.79%
Mar 07: 18.21%
Source: CardData (www.carddata.com)

First Data Inks Acquiring Agreement With WestJet

First Data has announced the signing of an acquiring agreement with
WestJet Airlines to provide electronic processing services. VISA and
Mastercard will be among processing services provided to the Airline.
WestJet offers flight service through its 35-city North American and
Caribbean network. First Data serves over 5 million merchant locations
with 1,900 card issuers and their customers. The company’s STAR
Network offers debit acceptance at 2 million ATM and retail locations.

DCS Receives a CardWizard Patent

CO-based Dynamic Card Solutions has been awarded a patent for its flagship product, “CardWizard” instant issue technology. The patent, titled “Systems and Methods for Enterprise Based Issuance of Identification Cards,” covers CardWizard’s enterprise server component, which is the center of the CardWizard system, and the methods and associated systems used in the enterprise-wide issuance of ATM, debit and credit cards. The enterprise server component handles card production requests, logging, reporting, production queues and database storage. As an easy-to-use, component-based Windows 9x/NT software application, CardWizard can be combined with a variety of card issuance machines and PIN pad devices to create flexible card issuance environments to accommodate most user requirements. Dynamic Card Solutions is an innovative developer of instant issuance and PIN selection solutions for banks, credit unions and retailers.

Gilbarco Certifies NPC on Passport

Gilbarco Inc. has certified an electronic funds payment service from National Payment Card, LLC of Boca Raton, FL for use with the Gilbarco Passport point of sale system. National Payment Card is an electronic funds payment service bureau that interfaces with point of sale systems that enables consumers to associate their driver’s license or existing membership card with a bank account so it initiates payment at the pump or inside the store through the Federal Automated Clearing House (ACH) system. The Passport interface to the electronic funds payment service from National Payment Card enables funds to come directly from the consumer’s bank account, removing middlemen in the credit card and debit card networks altogether. Retailers can pass along the savings in processing fees to the consumer in the form of discounted fuel. Gilbarco Veeder-Root and Gasboy are leading suppliers of integrated fuel control, site management, and support services for petroleum marketers and commercial fueling enterprises worldwide. National Payment Card is a marketer of card-based payment systems.