TNS to Power Worsley Convenience Stores

North Carolina-based Worsley Operating Corporation, which operates 138 convenience stores throughout North and South Carolina, has selected Transaction Network Services’ “FusionPoint” for credit card and debit card authorizations, ATM authorizations, fuel tank monitoring systems and back office operations. TNS will provide Worsley with a fully managed network in addition to 24/7 customer service and support. Worsley operates 138 stores throughout North and South Carolina.

Membership Rewards Adds 7 New Partners

The American Express “Membership Rewards” program has added point redemptions for Apple “iTunes.” The music download service is one of several new options in the 2006 American Express “Membership Rewards” program. Other new partners include: Blockbuster, Cole Haan, L’Occitane, Talbots, AirTran Airways, Loews Hotels and Preferred Hotel Group. The program has more than 140 redemption partners. Last year, the program introduced a new benefit enabling cardholders to book travel using “Membership Rewards” points instantly on the American Express travel Web site without blackout dates or restrictions for airlines, hotels or cruises.

Ukash Payment System Now Available

New Media Lottery Services has announced that the Ukash payment system is
now available at over 1,000 retailers through Alphyra’s
“PAYzone” terminals, promoting NMLS’ lottery games and client charities
throughout Ireland. The Ukash payment system allows customers to use cash
instead of a card when buying goods and services over the Internet. To
exchange cash for Ukash, customers simply pay the shopkeeper for Ukash to
their desired value from EUR 10 up to EUR 150. The shopkeeper then issues
a Ukash voucher, which customers can redeem online. New Media Lottery
Services operates and markets a variety of lottery games for charities
and other lottery license holders.

ACI Worldwide Powers Emporiki Bank’s EMV Cards

ACI Worldwide has enabled the deployment of one million EMV debit cards
for Emporiki Bank. Emporiki Bank issues its multi-application EMV cards
using ACI “Smart Chip Manager for Card and Application Management” to manage and automate the process of smart card issuance.
Emporiki Bank was the first Greek bank to issue EMV on a sizable scale
and now has the ability to handle international payments quickly and
efficiently. The bank will also benefit from the liability shift and the
market positioning of the Visa and MasterCard brands.

CARD SHARE

The market share of American Express and Diners Club has slipped in January to its lowest level since June. In December AmEx and Diners held a 16.8% share but it plummeted to 15.2% in January. One-year ago the two card networks held a combined share of 17.0%. While the January decline can be attributed to higher VISA, MasterCard and Bankcard activity during the holiday season, merchants are resisting the higher fees charged by American Express and Diners Club. The Reserve Bank of Australia forced pricing reforms on VISA, MasterCard and Bankcard in 2003. The average merchant service fee charged by Bankcard, MasterCard and VISA in the fourth quarter rose slightly to 96 basis points but remains down by three basis points compared to one-year ago, but up four basis points from the prior quarter. American Express’ average merchant service fee declined by five basis points to 2.30% from the prior quarter and eight basis points lower than one year ago. Diners Club edged up by four basis points to 2.33%, compared to the prior quarter.
(CFI Library 3/15/06)

Chase Paymentech Offers the Vx 510

Chase Paymentech Solutions has launched the VeriFone “Vx 510” payment solution for smaller Canadian merchants. This solution efficiently processes all major credit and Interac debit payments, and supports Chase Paymentech’s electronic gift card program, FlexCache. The Vx 510 countertop payment system, supported by the external SC5000 PIN Pad, provides extraordinary electronic payment options using Chase Paymentech’s communication methods.

NTT DoCoMo and LAWSON Partner for Wallet Phones

NTT DoCoMo and LAWSON have entered into a business alliance that will
result in customers using DoCoMo’s “Osaifu-Keita” phones with wallet
functions for a variety of practical mobile services at LAWSON convenience
stores. The deals will converge substantial business assets of the two
companies, namely DoCoMo’s more than 50 million mobile phone subscribers
and LAWSON’s some 8,300 convenience stores nationwide. In addition,
DoCoMo will acquire 2,092,000 shares of LAWSON common stock owned by
LAWSON as treasury stock, or about 2% of total issued shares, for about
nine billion yen on tentatively scheduled for April 14, 2006. LAWSON is
the one of biggest franchiser for convenience stores business in Japan.

Triton ATM Shipments Rise 21% in 2005

Mississippi-based Triton reports it shipped a total of 20,481 ATMs worldwide last year, with 14,782 of those shipments representing U.S. sales, a 21% increase from its 2004 U.S. shipments. International sales numbers increased in several targeted markets including Asia, Australia, Canada and South Africa. Triton is a provider of off-premise ATMs and ATM management software in North America.

LG Card to Deploy Blue Coat Protection

LG Card has deployed Blue Coat’s “SG-Series” and “AV-Series” appliances to
protect its corporate network and customer database from spyware, viruses
and other security threats and to ensure the privacy and integrity of its
data. LG Card offers installment financing, consumer loans and leasing as
well as credit card services to more then 9.8 million cardholders in South
Korea. In the past, its network had experienced several security
threats, including spyware and other virus attacks that caused a slow down
in overall operations. Blue Coat secures Web communications and
accelerates business applications across the distributed enterprise.

Simon Malls to Deploy BofA ATMs

The nation’s largest mall owner has signed a new strategic agreement with Bank of America to install more than 360 of the bank’s ATMs in 160 malls in 31 states. The installations will be largely completed by June. BofA has more than 16,700 ATMs and is the largest financial institution ATM provider in the USA. Simon, through its subsidiary partnership, currently owns or has an interest in 286 properties in the USA and a market capitalization of about $42 billion.

Bankruptcy Surge Lowers Q4 Delinquencies

Credit card delinquencies, based on total dollars outstanding, dipped to its lowest level in more than fifteen years for a fourth quarter period. Sequentially, delinquent dollars slipped 53 basis points largely due to the recent change in the bankruptcy law. The number of past-due credit card accounts also dropped. According to the American Bankers Association’s “Consumer Credit Delinquency Bulletin,” delinquencies based on total dollars outstanding for 4Q/05 were 3.21%, compared to 3.74% in the third quarter and 4.19% for 4Q/04. Based on the number of accounts past-due, the figures were 4.27% for 4Q/05, 4.74% for 3Q/05, and 4.20% one-year ago. The ABA says the Oct 12th deadline for filing bankruptcy under the old system had a close-out sale effect on filings, wiping clean credit card debt that would normally have been reported as delinquent in the fourth quarter.

4Q CREDIT CARD DELINQUENCY HISTORY
(based on total dollars outstanding)
1999: 4.28%
2000: 4.25%
2001: 4.67%
2002: 4.63%
2003: 4.92%
2004: 4.19%
2005: 3.21%
Source: ABA Delinquency Bulletin