Smart Circle Cards Go Digital

Marketing and direct sale provider Smart Circle International has introduced digital format “Smart Circle Cards.” The Smart Circle’s new card, once only available to consumers in the form of a tear-away coupon card, includes an easy to use digital format that’s designed to look and function like a gift card. Among the card’s newly added features is the ability to hold multiple Smart Circle offerings from multiple businesses in one card. Once the savings are “cashed in,” consumers can reload new offers online, giving them the ability to easily stock up on their favorite discounts and incentives at their convenience. Merchants also reap a number of new rewards as well, including a convenient processing application that allows them to scan the cards digitally with standard credit card terminals and redemption capabilities which enables The Smart Circle to monitor purchases, to manage overall campaign efficiency and effectiveness.

RELIANCE MPAY

Reliance Communications and HDFC Bank have partnered to launch
the “Reliance mPay” virtual credit card, offering no physical plastic
card to Reliance mobile phone users and HDFC Bank credit card
users. The virtual card will be accepted with all merchants that
currently accept payment via Reliance mPay, will authenticate payments
using “RCom” and will issue accounts with no card number, Card
Verification Value (CVV) or Expiry Date. Moreover, the new service
will offer Reliance Mobile “Post paid bill payment”, “Pre-paid top-up,”
and payment of “Reliance Energy” monthly bills. Housing Development
Finance Corporation (HDFC) housing finance bank serves over 10 million
customers throughout India with its 754 branches, its 1,906 ATMs and
reported a 1H07 37.3% surge in net profits to Rs.687.7 crores. Reliance
Mobile World has implemented over 2500 useful applications, over
200,000 content titles and is a subsidiary of Reliance Communications
which has a market capitalization of over Rs.300,000 crore.

AFFINION & ISO

Affinion International, global affinity marketer, has been awarded the
“ISO 27001” Information Security Certification for the 2nd consecutive
time and the ISO certification for its North America operations. Nearly
50 companies in the United States carry the latter credential and 4,100
worldwide have been awarded the former. Affinion’s information security
management was awarded based on the adoption of best practice across
information security domains, risk management, security framework
operation, consistency in security requirement compliance, continuous
security management and the Organization’s published international
standard. Affinion Group helps generate incremental revenue for over
5,200 affinity partners, employs 3,000 employees and oversees
operations in the U.S. and Europe.

ACI Fourth Quarter Revenue Up 9%

ACI reported fourth quarter revenue of $101.3 million, an increase of 9% over the prior-year period. The increase was largely attributable to an increase of $5.1 million in license fees received; of which 80% originated in the United Kingdom and Scandinavia with the remainder in the United States. The remaining $2.9 million in revenue increase on a year-over-year quarterly basis was derived primarily from maintenance revenue growth. The Company reported a net loss of $2.0 million for the quarter compared to net income of $2.6 million during the same period last year. During the quarter ACI signed-up 17 new customers for 37 products. For complete details on ACI’s latest performance visit CardData (www.carddata.com).

WaMu and PetSmart Launch a VISA Card

WaMu and PetSmart have teamed to issue a co-branded credit card. The new “PetSmart PetPerks VISA” enables consumers to upload a photo of their pet when they apply and the image will be printed directly on their card after their application is approved. Alternatively, the customer can choose one of several standard pet-themed card designs. The card also awards three points for every dollar spent on purchases at PetSmart, PetSmart.com and Banfield, The Pet Hospital, and one point per dollar spent everywhere. Points can be redeemed for PetSmart gift cards, donations to PetSmart Charities, travel rewards and statement credits, starting at just 2,000 points. Cardholders also receive a $20 PetSmart gift card after using the card for the first time within one year. Online applicants receive 0% introductory APR for the first six months on purchases and balance transfers requested at the time of application. PetSmart operates more than 993 pet stores in the USA and Canada.

4Go SecureSuite Avoids PCI DSS Headaches

Shift4 says that merchants concerned about “PCI DSS” compliance can use its “4Go SecureSuite” to avoid its burdensome requirements. 4Go SecureSuite removes credit card information at the point-of-sale device, replacing it with a unique “token” that substitutes for the PAN throughout the entire transaction process, which is useless, however, to anyone outside the system. Useable credit card information is never retained in the POS device or the merchant’s system, so even if there is a breach, nothing is exposed to theft or loss. Shift4 is a developer of secure financial transaction processing software and services, provides web-based, real-time enterprise payment solutions for the hospitality, retail, foodservices, auto rental and e-commerce markets.

CARIFS

Alaric International will be providing the Barbados Public Workers’
Co-operative Credit Union Ltd (BPWCCUL) with its
debit card solution. In doing so, Alaric will be providing EFT
authorization and switching for the implementation of the national
CarIFS (Caribbean Integrated Financial Services) debit solution, which
has just recently made available debit switching to credit unions.
Authentic will link the Union to the CarIFS Network while Prism Services,
the network manager, is fully endorsing the development.

Citi Lands the DoD Travel Card Contract

Citi announced it has been selected to administer the U.S. DoD “Travel Card” program. The program, the largest under the GSA’s umbrella “SmartPay 2” master contract, currently has 1.2 million cardholders accounting for 61% of government-wide travel spending in 2007. Citi will immediately begin working with the Defense Travel Management Office and the DOD Service Commands to implement a program customized to meet their requirements, as well as to plan for an effective and smooth transition from the previous provider. The DTMO was established in 2006 to serve as the central point of contact for commercial travel within the DOD. It is responsible for establishing strategic direction and managing all commercial travel programs, including the travel card program. The new official travel cards will activate on November 30th.

Encore Capital Q4 Revenues Decline 14%

San Diego-based Encore Capital reports fourth quarter net income of $4.8 million, compared to net income of $6.6 million for 4Q/06. Revenues from receivable portfolios were $55.8 million, a 14% decrease over the $64.9 million in the same period of the prior year. Revenues from bankruptcy servicing were $2.9 million, compared to $3.2 million for 4Q/06. Investments in receivable portfolios were $74.6 million to purchase $1.8 billion in face value of debt, compared to $63.6 million to purchase $1.4 billion in face value of debt in the same period of the prior year. For complete details on Encore Capital’s latest results visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]).

ENCORE CAPITAL REVENUES
4Q/06: $65.0 million
1Q/07: $62.2 million
2Q/07: $64.0 million
3Q/07: $59.4 million
4Q/07: $55.8 million
Source: CardData (www.carddata.com)

[1]: http://www.carddata.com

Q4 CARD SURVEY

The Hong Kong Monetary Authority has published its 4Q07
credit card lending survey, reflecting an 8.8% increase in card
receivables, due largely to salaries tax payments, and a 1.6% increase
in total cards issued. Moreover, since 3Q07, the survey demonstrates
the amount customers spent with their credit cards reached HK$24.6
billion, up HK$.2 billion, the charge-off amount dropped HK$38 million
and the annualized charge-off ratio dropped by .37%. Also for 4Q07,
the delinquency ratio dropped to 0.35% and rescheduled receivables
remained at HK$52 million, while the combination of the 2 ratios
declined to 0.42%.

U.S. Bank Renews its VISA Partnership

U.S. Bank has renewed its multi-year partnership agreement with VISA. Under terms of the deal, U.S. Bank will continue to issue VISA-branded credit products, including “VISA Signature.” The agreement also covers the issuance of VISA debit, prepaid and commercial products across the USA. U.S. Bank recently reported that its fourth quarter average credit card loans were up more than 7% year-on-year to $10.6 billion. The issuer has about 5.5 million credit card accounts according to CardData (www.carddata.com).