ICMA Membership Rose 14% in 2008

The NJ-based non-profit International Card Manufacturers Association has
achieved record 14% in membership growth in 2008. The association
enables members to network with other industry professionals, address
industry concerns and participate in new initiatives. In 2008, the
association introduced a corporate member
category which was developed to expand the needs of larger
multi-location manufacturing companies. Other membership categories
include suppliers, issuers, manufacturer representatives, personalizers
and affiliated companies. Members come from around the world, including
North America, Europe, Asia Pacific and the Middle East. The ICMA
acts as a clearinghouse for industry issues, including the production,
technology, application, security and environmental issues of plastic

Heartland CEO Forced to Sell Stock

A mix of extraordinary circumstances and the recent drop in its stock
price has produced the forced sale of Heartland Payment Systems stock
held by its CEO and his wife. Robert Carr and his wife were forced to
give up 692,412 shares of the company’s common stock to meet obligations
under a loan for which the shares were pledged as security.
The balance of the common stock of the company owned by the Carrs,
approximately 4.3 million shares, continues to be subject to pledges
under the loan, and it is likely that additional shares will be sold.
The company has also been advised that Sanford Brown, chief sales
officer, is expected to be subject to a forced sale of shares. Carr said
he is extremely disappointed about this involuntary sale. Heartland
Payment Systems processes for more than 250,000 business locations

Columbia Bank Partners with ControlScan

WA-based Columbia Bank’s Merchant Card
Services has partnered with Ga-based PCI compliance provider ControlScan
to help its merchants meet mandatory requirements set forth by the PCI
Security Standards Council. ControlScan provides
easy-to-use Web-based security solutions and a personal level of service
that make it easy and cost-effective for these businesses to analyze,
remediate and validate compliance.Merchant Card Services customers now
have access to ControlScan’s “PCI 123”, which includes the PCI
Self-Assessment Questionnaire and on-demand security scanning, backed by
expert technical support. ControlScan provides
easy-to-use Web-based security solutions and a personal level of service
that make it easy and cost-effective for these businesses to analyze,
remediate and validate compliance.

LostMyDebt.Net MasterCard Introduced

Anyone can demonstrate their credit worthiness to potential creditors. By paying bills with this prepaid Mastercard, payment history is reported to Experian, Equifax, TransUnion, and PRBC. Build credit history and show your payment ability. Apply at www.lostmydebt.net/elogan.

Money may be added by direct deposit or cash can be added at 135,000 locations. Bills can be paid online, anytime. The pre-paid Mastercard offers the security of protected cash and flexibility of spending at millions of retail locations that accept Mastercard. It is also the perfect way to control spending – funds are deducted from the available card balance.

says Eric Logan, Executive Vice President and Co-Founder of www.lostmydebt.net/elogan.
Other services include credit restoration, wills and trusts, auto loans, and lifelock. These products are the best in the marketplace. Future economic stimulus workshops begin nationwide on March 5, 2009

Our company’s philosophy is to restore, build, establish, and protect” says Eric Logan, Executive Vice President and Co-Founder of www.lostmydebt.net/elogan. “Education is the key to building and maintaining your family’s legacy”

Eric Logan co-founded lostmydebt.net on the principle that everyone is worthy of good credit and should eliminate debt. The step by step plan implemented will help restore credit profiles, create discretionary income, lower monthly expenses, and give wealth building techniques.

For information: http://lostmydebt.net/elogan or contact 800-778-9940 x 214

Visa Debuts its First Global Ad Campaign

Visa will debut its first global advertising campaign this week in the U.S. that will lower its marketing costs. The new “More people go with Visa” campaign will promote migrating consumer and business spending from cash and checks to a better form of electronic payment.
The campaign opened today globally. In the U.S., two national television spots – “Let’s go” and “Aquarium” – will premier on March 4th during “American Idol” on FOX. Visa’s international markets will launch with a television commercial named “Gofesto.” In the coming weeks, Visa will roll out a series of print advertisements focusing on the benefits of the “Visa Check Card.” Visa noted that the campaign is well suited for traditional and new media, and will strongly support Visa’s global sponsorship properties and merchant marketing programs.

Regulation to Drive More Rate/Fee Changes

An analysis of the future impact new regulations will have on the
credit card industry has identified ten potential new or increased fees
for cardholders. The study suggests the coming fee changes are the
result of the industry moving towards “value-based” cardholder pricing.
R.K. Hammer says cardholders could expect to see $49 late
fees/over-limit fees and new fees for customer service calls as high as
$4 each. Hammer says twenty years ago card pricing was “cost-based”
shifting to “market-based” pricing ten years ago. The new trend will be
to more fully charge for the value of the card product. Hammer also
noted that in 1980 when bankcard P/L’s were under heavy fire due to high
costs, the introduction of the first annual fees became commonplace.
Escalating loan losses and the continued encroachment of those outside
the business will prompt many to consider these and other major pricing

Top Ten Fee/Rate Changes
1. Customer Service Calls (1 per mo free, then $4 per call).
2. Customer-Requested Line Increase, Origination Fee ($35)
3. Cash Advance Fee (4%, no cap)
4. Delinquent Account Fee ($49 per event)
5. Over limit Fee ($49 per event)
6. 2nd Card Account Fee ($30 for each additional card)
7. Inactive Account Fee ($39 for every six months inactive)
8. Default Pricing (up to 29.9%)
9. Custom-Design Plastic Fee ($10 for custom cards)
10.Paper-Statements Fee ($4 for every offline monthly statement)
Source; R.K. Hammer

TNB Signs Chetco FCU for Processing

OR-based Chetco FCU has consolidated its credit and debit card
programs with TNB Card Services. Chetco will move the processing and
servicing of its $4.7 million credit card portfolio, 12,000 PIN and
signature debit card accounts, as well as its ATM terminal driving to
TNB. TNB will assume management of all back office card
operations, including chargebacks, call center support, and fraud.
TNB’s portfolio consultants will work with Chetco to analyze and
restructure its credit card program so it can better establish pricing
strategies and offer more competitive products to its membership base.
TNB will assume management of all back office card
operations, including chargebacks, call center support, and fraud.

VeriFone and Moneris Ink a $10MM Deal

VeriFone has nailed a $10 million contract to be a premier payment solutions supplier to Moneris Solutions. Moneris selected EMV- and PCI-approved wireless, countertop and integrated payment solutions from VeriFone’s “Vx Solutions” line. Specifically, the “Vx 810” and “Vx 810 DUET” systems for countertop needs and the GPRS version of the “Vx 670” for handheld needs. Moneris processes more than 3 billion credit and debit card transactions a year, for merchants in virtually every industry segment at more than 350,000 small business and corporate locations across North America.

Credit Cards Dominate European eRetail

Consumers use credit cards to pay for more than eight out of ten purchases in European online retailing. New Research shows that credit cards share rose almost 6% year-on-year. The “Pago Retail Report 2008,” which was recently published by Deutsche Card Services also shows that that 5.04% of all retail transactions were paid for by offline methods and 11.97% by direct debiting. Their shares in overall e-commerce are only 0.77% and 8.34%. However, offline payment and direct debiting lose ground to credit cards in online retailing.

Processing Fee Calculator Introduced

Chicago-based Transparent Financial
Services has released the free online “Credit Card Processing
Calculator” to help business owners audit their credit card processing
fees. The “Credit Card Processing Calculator” helps business owners
find out if they are getting the best credit card processing rates
possible. Users enter basic company and financial information and the
calculator instantly generates an easy-to-understand online report that
includes comparison of the user’s credit card processing rates to the
rates of comparable businesses, detailed explanation of the user’s fee
composition, which are the percentage of fees that go to credit card
companies, member banks and the processor and offer recommendations on
how to reduce rates.

First Data & Members Group Renew

First Data has renewed its agreement to provide credit, debit and
merchant processing services for IA-based financial service provider The
Members Group. TMG will continue to remarket First Data’s STAR ATM and
POS Network Services to its customers throughout the new term. TMG
offers a wide variety of innovative products and services that include
card processing and reporting solutions as well as ACH, asset liability
management and item processing services. TMG is a financial services
organization dedicated to providing innovative and flexible card
processing and payment solutions to credit unions and financial
institutions across North America. TMG’s prepaid
card products are branded ATIRA.

Asta Funding Q4 Finance Income Drops 46%

Asta Funding reported a net loss of $7.8 million for the fourth
quarter, compared to net income of $13.3 million for the year ago
quarter. Finance income was $18.4 million for the quarter, down 46% from
the prior year. The Company noted that collections have slowed and the
environment for collections remains challenging. Asta says it has taken
the necessary steps to lower its debt levels as well as maintaining the
ability to purchase new portfolios as the opportunities arise and also pricing has recently become more attractive. For more details on Asta Funding’s fourth quarter performance visit CardData ([www.carddata.com](http://www.carddata.com)).