Cyber Monday Americans Charge Nearly $1B

Upwards of 60 million Americans went online Monday to shop for the holidays, charging nearly $1 billion on payment cards. Early statistics show that “Cyber Monday” spending was up 26% as traffic rose more than 30% for most retailers. VISA USA’s “SpendTrak” reports consumers charged about $505 million on the Internet using its cards, a 26% jump over the same day in 2004. VISA says between November 1st and 28th, consumers charged over $9.9 billion online using VISA, with an average ticket of $87.85. VISA also noted that the previous high for the 2005 holiday season was on November 15th when consumers spent approximately $461 million. eBay’s Shopping.com reported a 37% increase in year-over-year traffic on “Cyber Monday.” More than 3.4 million unique shoppers visited the site Monday. Among the hottest products for this year: Apple iPod Nano and Panasonic 42 inch HDTV Plasma TV. The NRF’s Shop.org said it estimated that 58.9 million consumers shopped online Monday.

The CO-OP Network Hires Work from GenPass

The CO-OP Network has hired Leah Work, formerly with GenPass as National Relationship Manager. Work joins CO-OP Network after spending four years at GenPass, where she managed marketing implementation projects and developed strategic business plans and procedures to establish an ISO client relations department. During her time at GenPass, Work also managed technical sales for financial institutions and ISO client nationally. CO-OP Network is wholly-owned by its credit union shareholders and provides volume discounts on products and services that include risk management as well as debit and deposit access.

20% of Students Turn Down Credit Card Offers

A new report has found that more than 20% of college students surveyed have decided to avoid potential credit card pitfalls by not obtaining even one credit card. More than 30% of students have just one card, according to the research by Atlanta-based NetBank. More than half of the students who have credit cards said they pay their credit card statement in full each month and don’t carry a balance. NetBank also says the survey showed that the first thing students look at when selecting a bank is the amount of fees charged for not maintaining a minimum balance. Their second biggest concern is belonging to a bank that provides easy access to fee-free ATMs.

AmEx Launches an HSA Card with WellChoice

American Express is entering the employee directed healthcare payment business with the release of a new “Health Savings Account” card. The new “American Express HealthPay Plus Card” is being issued in partnership with WellChoice, the parent company of Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield. The healthcare payment solution includes the “Empire Total Blue” consumer-directed health plan, a “Health Savings Account” from American Express Bank and the new AmEx “HSA” card. AmEx and WellChoice plan to offer the solution to corporations beginning early next year.

OCT DEBT

Credit card outstandings continued to hover around GBP 56 billion
during October. The figure is also slightly below year-ago levels by GBP
800 million. The Bank of England reports the increase in total net
lending to individuals in October of GBP 8.9 billion was larger than in
September and above the previous six month average. However, the
twelve-month growth rate continued to weaken to 10.2%.
Within the total, the increase in net lending secured on dwellings GBP
7.6 billion was larger than in September and the previous six month
average. The increase in consumer credit of GBP 1.3 billion was higher
than in September. The annual growth rate of consumer credit continued
to fall to 10.5% in October.

RBS Lynk to Offer Access to Debitman

Atlanta-based RBS Lynk is planning to provide access to the Debitman ACH debit network. Debitman is the only provider of a shared network, retailer-issued card. RBS says the primary incentive for retailers to issue store-branded debit cards was to reward consumers through their loyalty programs and keep the card value in their store network. However, with Debitman acceptance, retailers can take an active role in managing their electronic payment costs as well as save on network fees and receive incremental revenue as a card issuer. RBS Lynk says it recognizes Debitman as a debit network utilizing the national ACH system. Wal-Mart Stores recently announced it is accepting “Debitman” cards at the checkout in all Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club locations across the USA. The Debitman network interchange and switch fee is $0.15 per transaction and the network issuer rebate is generally $0.06 per transaction but can range higher. (CF Library 11/15/05)

Fifth Third’s Second-in-Command Resigns Abruptly

Fifth Third Bancorp announced that EVP Neal Arnold, who headed the Company’s payment processing business, resigned yesterday. Arnold had served as executive in charge of the Company’s investment advisor, payment processing, mortgage and consumer lending businesses. Those businesses will report to George A. Schaefer, Jr., President and CEO of Fifth Third. Fifth Third Bancorp is a diversified financial services company headquartered in Cincinnati, Ohio. with $104.6 billion in assets.

ACS Signs TransFirst for Card & ACH Processing

The Government Solutions Group of Affiliated Computer Services has inked an agreement for Dallas-based TransFirst to provide credit/debit/ACH processing. Through this relationship, ACS will have access to TransFirst’s credit card processing programs, 24/7 in-house customer support, and the ability to offer business customers multiple payment processing methods including Internet, ACH, batch, wireless and recurring payments. In addition, ACS and its customers will be able to benefit from TransFirst comprehensive online reporting services. ACS will primarily leverage the power of TransFirst proprietary ACS provides business process outsourcing and information technology solutions to commercial and government clients. TransFirst currently processes approximately $22 billion in annual sales volume for more than 155,000 merchants and more than 965 financial institutions.

GECF to Issue the Clockwork Royal Privilege Card

Success Group International’s Clockwork Home Services has signed a deal with GE’s Retail Sales Finance unit for a new private label “Royal Privilege” credit card. In addition to fast credit decisions, customers will receive competitive interest rates and responsive customer service from GE. As part of the Royal Privilege Program, GE will also be providing a one-call solution for approving Clockwork’s customers. When a customer is unable to obtain approval through GE, the contractor will be automatically transferred to a secondary finance source, eliminating the need to source the application to numerous finance companies. This will enable business owners to manage the consumer financing process more efficiently.

First Data Teams with MICROS-Fidelio for EFTPOS

First Data and POS solutions provider, MICROS-Fidelio, have teamed to transform the management of EFTPOS payments within Australia.
The solution provides commercial benefits for operators within the
hospitality and travel industry sector and modernizes the way bill
payments are made. The integrated EFTPOS system eliminates the
requirement for dedicated EFTPOS terminals and delivers
additional functionality, such as dynamic currency conversion.
Australia’s seafood restaurant Doyle’s was the first site to go live with the system.