INSIDE Contactless and U.S.-based CPI Card Group have received both an “Elan” award and a finalist position at the 2009 ICMA Annual EXPO for their innovative payment sticker products. The payment sticker, based on INSIDE’s “MicroPass” contactless chip technology, can be affixed to any portable device such as a cell phone, and is available with a companion PVC card. The “Elan” award and finalist placement were in the following categories: “People’s Choice”, Winner (Tie): First Data GO-Tag sticker, manufactured for First Data and “Best Other Secure Card Design,” Finalist: First Data “GO-Tag” sticker, manufactured for First Data. CPI’s project management and manufacturing expertise combined with INSIDE’s technology leadership and support enabled the companies to go from prototype engineering samples to developing and introducing a real payment sticker product in a very short time.

Asset Acceptance Revenues Dip 10% in Q1

Debt collector Asset Acceptance Capital reported the total revenues
declined 10% year-on-year to $57 million for the first quarter.
Net income for the quarter was $4.6 million, compared to net income of
$6.8 million for 1Q/08. During the first quarter the Company invested
$22.1 million to purchase charged-off consumer debt portfolios with a
face value of $747.8 million, representing a blended rate of 2.95% of
face value. This compares to the prior-year first quarter, when the
Company invested $22.0 million to purchase consumer debt portfolios with
a face value of $542.8 million, representing a blended rate of 4.06% of
face value. AACC says it carefully controlled its levels of purchasing
in the first quarter and expect to do so again in the second quarter in
order to free up capital to purchase at what it expects will be more
advantageous pricing in the second half of 2009 and early 2010. For
complete details on Asset Acceptance Capital’s first quarter performance
visit CardData ([](


Euronet Worldwide reported that first quarter revenues declined 4.5% to $233.7 million, impacted by four unusual factors. However, total transactions hit 347.8 million, compared to 339.5 million in the first quarter 2008. The Company faced significant declines in foreign currency exchange rates against the U.S. dollar, adjustments in 2009 to the fourth quarter 2008 estimated goodwill and intangible asset impairment charges, the first quarter 2009 receipt of termination fees for two previously announced contracts and charges incurred in the first quarter 2008 associated with abandoned efforts to acquire MoneyGram. The EFT Processing Segment reported revenues of $46.2 million, compared to $48.2 million for the first quarter 2008 and transactions of 159.5 million, compared to 168.4 million for 1Q/08. The Prepaid Processing Segment reported revenues of $134.5 million, compared to $144.3 million for 1Q/08 and transactions of 184.3 million, compared to 167.3 million for the first quarter 2008. The Money Transfer Segment reported revenues of $53.0 million, compared to $52.3 million for 1Q/08 and transfer transactions of 4.0 million, compared to 3.8 million for the first quarter 2008. For complete details on Euronet’s latest results visit CardData (

Business Cash Advance Targets Spas

FL-based Business Cash Advance has launched a micro-site to offer advice
to salon and spas seeking cash advances.During the last several years,
cash advance providers have issued
millions of dollars in cash advances for salons and spas that are being
turned away by banks and credit cards. With the decline in sales for
hair salons and spas as consumers rein in discretionary spending, these
businesses are losing their ability to secure beauty salon loans and
salon financing via conventional loans and lines of credit from banks
and credit cards. In order for salons and spas to obtain the funds they
need for working capital, products/equipment and unexpected expenses,
many are turning to beauty salon business cash advances as an
alternative financing option. A business cash advance is similar to an
unsecured loan for salons and
spas, but cash advances do not require the guarantees, liens or
collateral associated with traditional loans for salons and spas. There
are no application fees, out-of-pocket costs or fixed monthly payments.


Gemalto reports that total revenue for the first quarter was 367 million euros, lower than 1Q/08 by 8% at constant exchange rates and by 5% at historical exchange rates. However, the Company notes strong progress continues to be made in securing new contracts for mobile services and contactless payment devices. At 100 million euros first quarter the Secure Transactions unit revenue was essentially unchanged from last year. In the first quarter Security again posted a strong growth, with revenue up by 26% at constant exchange rates and 27% at historical rates. At 192 million euros first quarter Mobile Communication revenue was lower than the very strong first quarter of 2008 by 19% at constant exchange rates and by 14% at historical exchange rates, in line with seasonality expectations for 2009. Public Telephony revenue continued to decline as mobile telephony expands, and POS Terminals grew on strong sales in Europe and the Middle East. For comeplete details on Gemalto’s latest performance visit CardData (


Financial blog Thinking Money has announced that Irish businesses are
using credit
cards to come to terms with their short-term finances. Anywhere between
a third and two thirds of
small businesses put cashflow as their greatest financial concern and
this strain
is only going to increase as the recession continues. Many small
businesses and sole traders are increasingly likely to take
advantage of their credit cards as a short-term form of credit. Credit
cards also
have the benefit that they can offer rewards and cash back too. This
enables businesses to temporarily allocate some of their expenses on a
business credit card providing a temporary and flexible method of debt
management. Thinking Money has previously stated that credit cards may
not be an ideal
long-term solution in managing SME debt, but can provide a reliable
stop-gap in the short-term, possibly even preventing a temporary,
insolvency shortfall.

CPI Lands Multiple Elan Card Awards

CPI Card Group received
two Élan awards and five finalist positions at the 2009 ICMA Annual
EXPO. The awards recognize the latest advancements and achievements in
card design throughout the industry. CPI’s awards and finalist cards, for five different clients, were in the
following categories: Winner of the “Best Gift & Promotional Card”, Toys Card, manufactured for Walgreens;
“People’s Choice” was a tie, First Data Go-Tag Sticker, manufactured
for First Data; “Best Identification Card” and a finalist for Guanajuato Driver’s License,
manufactured for Latin ID; “Unique Innovation” VSX Sport Card, manufactured for Limited Brands;
“Best Secure Financial Card Design”, Elevate Card, manufactured
for Virgin America and Barclaycard US; “Best Other Secure Card Design”, First Data Go-Tag Sticker,
manufactured for First Data and “People’s Choice”, Toys Card, manufactured for Walgreens
The only award that recognizes card design innovation as well as
technical achievement in the industry, the ICMA Élan Awards honor card
manufacturers and vendors for their excellent card design and innovative


The Bloomberg Euro-Zone Retail
Purchasing Managers’ Index rose in April
to 48.4, from 44.1 in March, indicating the weakest rate of decline
since the current sequence of contraction began last June.
Retail sales again fell compared to one month earlier in each of the
three largest euro economies. In all cases the rates of contraction
slowed and the differentials between the three countries narrowed.
Italy continued to register the steepest overall fall in retail
sales. The month-on-month sales index rose from 41.9 in March to 46.8 to
indicate the weakest rate of decline since October 2007, while retailers
in Germany saw sales fall at the slowest pace in the
current 11-month sequence of decline. Sales were down only modestly
during April to represent a marked contrast to the steep rate of decline
recorded at the start of the year. The month-on-month index for Germany
picked up from 44.4 in March to 48.9 and France registered only a
marginal decline in sales that was the
weakest among the three countries covered, as has been the case
throughout much of the past year. The month-on-month index rose from
45.7 to 49.2, indicating the smallest decline for three months.
The sales against targets index rose from 36.9 to 44.4, staying well
below the 50.0 neutral level to indicate that sales objectives were
again missed. Clothing & footwear sales came closest to planned levels in
April. The April survey showed that euro area retail sales rose on an
basis for the first time since May 2008. The year-on-year sales index
surged above the 50.0 no-change level from 36.4 in March to 51.9.
However, anecdotal evidence from panelists suggested that the marked
improvement reflected both the later timing of Easter this year compared
to 2008 and to milder weather.

Portfolio Recovery Q1 Profits Fall 15%

Portfolio Recovery Associates reports a 15% decline in first quarter
net income. However, total revenue in the first quarter increased 6% to
$68.2 million. Cash collections rose 13% to $89.9 million. The Company
purchased $961 million of face-value debt during the first quarter for
$52 million. This debt was acquired in 87 portfolios from 19 different
sellers. PRAA says it was able to produce record cash collections of
nearly $90 million in the first quarter. Call center and other
collections increased 13%, external legal collections decreased 19%,
internal legal collections grew 95% and purchased bankruptcy collections
gained 63% when compared with the year-earlier period. For complete
details on Portfolio Recovery Associates’ first quarter results visit
CardData ([](


Digital technology provider ARM has licensed the “ARM SecurCore SC300”
processor to
Toshiba Corporation for use in future embedded security
applications. The ARM Cortex-M3 processor forms the foundation of the
SC300 processor and was specifically developed to target the low-cost
requirements of a broad range of markets and applications where memory
and processor size significantly impact device costs. The “SC300”
processor combines the proven security features of ARM
SecurCore processors, currently the most widely-licensed 32-bit RISC CPU
for smartcards worldwide, with the processing performance of the
“Cortex-M3” processor. This assures full compatibility with other ARM
processors as well as direct and immediate support from the “ARM
RealView” Microcontroller Development Kit which is ideal for developing
the firmware that will run on smartcards.

Visa Posts Strong Profits In Weak Economy

Visa reported that first calender quarter net income increased 70% to
$536 million and net operating revenue rose 13% to $1.6 billion,
compared to the same quarter in 2008. However, global transaction growth
for the quarter ended March 31st slowed to an annual rate of 6%,
compared to 8% in the prior quarter and 15% in the year ago quarter. For
the first calendar quarter there were 9.4 billion transactions processed
via VisaNet. Though slightly negative in the U.S., payments volume
continued to grow on a constant dollar basis in all other regions
globally. Visa also notes that processed transactions continued to post
solid growth globally. Visa released fourth calendar quarter
performance data which showed that payments volume growth, on a nominal
basis, was a negative 1% over the prior year at $675 billion. Total
volume, on a nominal basis and inclusive of cash volume, was $1.1
trillion, flat over the prior year. Total cards carrying the Visa brands
rose 8% worldwide over the prior year to over 1.7 billion. Total
transactions increased by 9% over the prior year to 14.9 billion. For
complete details on Visa’s latest performance visit CardData

Mar 30, 2009 9,360
Dec 31, 2008 9,797
Sep 30, 2008 9,590
Jun 30, 2008 9,473
Mar 31, 2008 8,800
Dec 31, 2007 9,094
Sep 30, 2007 8,645
Jun 30, 2007 8,411
Mar 31, 2007 7,645
Note: Visa, Visa Electron, Interlink and PLUS
cards processed on Visa’s networks.
Source: CardData (


American Express Business Travel’s “Business Travel Monitor” revealed that international and domestic airfare
prices ended 2008 up year-over-year and hotel rates down slightly.
Looking at Q1 2009 data, signs point to the effect of a weakening
economy, belt tightening by corporations, and falling consumer demand
noticeably impacting travel rates across the board. Average domestic and international airfares paid increased 7% and 6%
respectively in 2008 as a whole, but began to
slide in Q4 2008,continuing into Q1 2009. The Q1 2009 domestic average airfares paid are down 9%
compared to the first quarter last year and international average airfares paid are down 12%
versus Q1 2008. The average international and domestic booked hotel rates both showed
year-over-year decreases of 12% in the first quarter 2009. International business class air travel fell from an average of
50% of all bookings in 2008 to 39% in Q1 2009 while economy class international air travel surged to 56% of all travel in Q1 09 versus a steady 43%
throughout 2008. The BTM includes both average published and purchased air fares captured
across hundreds of domestic and international routes, including
unrestricted first class, business, economy, and discounted, restricted
economy air fares. The methodology for the average air fare paid is the
one-way price paid by all travelers booked through American Express
Business Travel, including taxes and fees, for all routes.