allEtronic Powers Up Paperless Card Receipts

allEtronic is offering digital paperless receipts to reduce the energy used to manufacture paper. Cardholders swipe a credit card in the normal fashion and the receipt automatically and instantly appears in a secure and private allEtronic account or by giving a cashier a phone number or email address to receive the receipts electronically. Customers still retain the option of getting paper receipts by just asking for them at checkout. Consumers can link as many credit or debit cards to their allEtronic account as they wish. The allEtronic system only requires the first 6 and last 4 digits of the card number in order to electronically transmit a receipt into the consumers allEtronic account. At no time will allEtronic ever ask for or require the consumer-™s entire card number.

United Airlines Faces More Card Holdbacks

United Airlines debt ratings are sinking as the airlines grapples with higher fuel costs. Fitch Ratings yesterday revised its “Rating Outlook” for UAL to “Negative” from “Stable.” Ratings for UAL reflect the airline’s highly levered balance sheet, volatile cash flow generation capacity, and ongoing susceptibility to intense fuel and revenue shocks in an industry that remains particularly vulnerable to macroeconomic risk. United’s two primary credit card processing agreements provide for the holdback of cash by processors in certain circumstances. As of March 31, United reported $319 million in credit card holdbacks, classified as restricted cash on the balance sheet. United’s largest processor agreement provides for additional holdbacks, but covenants are linked to those in the credit facility at a reduced threshold. There is no fixed charge coverage test for the next four quarters. For the second processing agreement, there are currently no holdbacks. However, the processing institution could require the posting of cash collateral if certain material adverse changes occur.

Wells’ Small Biz Index Sinks to a 5-YR Low

According to the latest Wells Fargo Gallup survey, small business owner optimism is at a five-year low with the “Small Business Index” having dropped 35 points since January to reach its lowest level since August 2003. The 35-point drop is the Index’s largest quarterly decrease to date, which has been on a steady 5-quarter decline and is currently at 48, a 66-point drop from the Index’s highest score of 114 in December 2006. Satisfaction among the small business owners, however, was down only 4 points from January to 86% while 94% feel successful in their role as a small business owner.

Nielsen Consumer Survey Shows a Recession

A recent Nielsen survey indicates that 85% of consumers think the U.S. is experiencing a recession and consumer confidence has dropped 17 points. The survey reveals that 35% of U.S. consumers consider the economy their biggest concern over the next six months. Debt comes in a distant second place at 15%, followed by work/life balance at 8%. International affairs, such as war and terrorism, rank near the bottom of the list (2% and 3%, respectively). Americans-™ view of the economy is bleak with 66% of U.S. respondents have a pessimistic view of their local job prospects over the next 12 months, with 50% saying it-™s not so good, and 16% calling it downright bad. However, 51% say the state of their personal finances remains excellent or good, while just over 36% rank their situation as not so good.

HSBC Joins the Green Card Migration

A new MasterCard has been launched that offers cardholders one reward point for every dollar spent, redeemable towards charitable donations for organizations dedicated to environment preservation. The new “ecosmart MasterCard with Plus Rewards” from HSBC has linked with The Climate Group, Earthwatch Institute and Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute for the new “green” card. Additional organizations to which card members may donate include Arbor Day Foundation, Wind Power Renewable Choice, and Our Energy. Additional organizations to which card members may donate include Arbor Day Foundation, Wind Power Renewable Choice, and Our Energy. Plus, cardholders have the option to redeem reward points for environmental-friendly merchandise such as a rechargeable mulching mower or a garden composter. They may also redeem rewards to purchase gift cards at various retailers.

Merchant e-Solutions Beefs-Up Pay Security

Merchant e-Solutions has added “Payer Authentication” security programs to its e-Commerce service offering and include support for Verified by Visa and MasterCard SecureCode, as well as alternative payment brands like Bill Me Later. MeS has developed the MeS Payment Network that includes a direct association connection for authorization. Proprietary payment solutions include the MeS Payment Gateway and MeS Virtual Terminal, which provide for better control of costs, interchange qualification, and service levels. The payment solutions provided by MeS are comprehensive and PCI compliant and designed with features that eliminate the need for merchants to store cardholder data, thereby reducing a merchant’s risk exposure.

VISA EXPANSION

The director of the Azericard Ltd processing center has disclosed the
Visa Inc director for the CIS region is expected to arrive in Baku come
June as part of corporate restructuring. The International Bank of
Azerbaijan owning Azericard Ltd does not participate in creation of NNSS
(National Net Settlement System), which includes settlements on Visa
International cards in the country without the necessity of additional
currency conversion on commissions lower than international
rates.Additionally, the manager’s office for the CIS region is being
moved from Moscow to Kiev while issues of e-commerce development and
card-to-card money transfers are currently under discussion.

MasterCard Deploys CSC’s CAMS II Card System

VA-based IT technology provider CSC has announced that MasterCard Worldwide is using CSC’s “CAMS II Card & Merchant System” to power its debit and prepaid processing platform, MasterCard Integrated Processing Solutions. CAMS II, which is the functional and architectural foundation of MasterCard IPS, uses a high-performance transaction processing engine that scales to manage the industry’s highest volumes. With the CAMS II rules-driven system, MasterCard IPS enables companies to rapidly design, deploy and operate innovative payment products and services that can be customized by demographics or geography. Specific IPS services include PIN and signature debit and prepaid transaction processing, fraud detection, rewards and loyalty programs, and ATM network management. In addition to the software agreement, CSC is providing MasterCard with related professional services and has provided business domain expertise and program management, testing and Web development services during MasterCard’s development of IPS.

Shipping Fees Drive Down E-Purchases

A new survey has found that unexpectedly high shipping fees are the number one reason consumers abandon online purchases. Checkout abandonment is a significant challenge for online merchants, with an estimated two out of every three consumers failing to pay for items they put in their shopping carts. The study conducted by PayPal and comScore also revealed that many consumers abandon their purchases for payment-related reasons. Of those surveyed, more than one in five shoppers didn’t complete purchases because their preferred payment option was not offered on the merchant’s Web site. Many shoppers simply think it is too much of a hassle to search for their wallets or purses – 21 percent did not complete online purchases because their wallets were not easily accessible.

VIDEO SURVEILLANCE

A new study forecasts a nearly fourfold increase in revenue from video surveillance software between now and the end of 2013, rising from about $245 million to more than $900 million. Such software can be used in ATMs and in banks, to identify known criminals before they commit a crime. ABI Research says the quickening transition from analog to digital video has made it possible to use software for detection and analysis. This can free humans from the drudgery while improving accuracy and creating opportunities to use video in ways never before possible. ABI notes that there are many small software companies in this market, and some big ones such as IBM, which has released software that is largely platform-agnostic, increasing pressure for others to follow suit.