XMAS CASH VOLUME

Brits have been hitting ATMs heavily this holiday season as cash withdrawals are running about 7% higher than one-year ago. Through December 10th more than GBP 3.2 billion in cash has been withdrawn from LINK cash machines during December, an increase of GBP 140 million compared with the same period in 2006. LINK Data for December show that cash withdrawals since Friday, December 7th have been particularly high, suggesting that mortgage holders may have been encouraged to spend more freely following the recent rate cut. On December 6th the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee voted to reduce the official “Bank Rate” paid on commercial bank reserves by 0.25 percentage points to 5.5%. LINK also noted that ATM cash withdrawals in previous years grew about 5.00% to 5.50% per year, however this year there was a significant jump. LINK data covers cash withdrawals from more than 64,000 cash machines in the UK.

Apple’s Wozniak to Speak at CO-OP’s Think 2008

CO-OP Financial Services has slated its “Think 2008” conference for April 14-16 in Rancho Mirage, California. Speakers addressing “The Best of Ideas, Insights and Innovations” conference theme include Steve Wozniak, co-founder of Apple Computer (now Apple Inc.); Barry Gibbons, former CEO of Burger King Corporation; John Moore, Director of National Marketing for Whole Foods Market and former Retail Marketing Manager of Starbucks; and Howard Putnam, former CEO of Southwest Airlines and Braniff International. Wozniak, who’ll discuss the importance innovation plays in a business model, will draw from his experience shaping the computing industry with his design of Apple’s first line of products. Gibbons will tell the “David and Goliath” story of how he turned Burger King from a failing corporation into a direct competitor with McDonald’s. Moore, a brand marketing expert, will share advice on how to become the next Starbucks. And Putnam will talk about how he created Southwest’s service culture, helping it become the only airline to remain profitable every year for more than three decades. Additional speakers will be announced at a later date.

RBS Lynk to Power an E-Philanthropy Card

Software developer edatanetworks USA has signed a multi-year agreement with RBS Lynk to develop and launch a VISA gift-card program that will operate within the “Automated Cause Marketing” technology. The first implementation of the gift-card program will be at St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center in Phoenix, AZ, where edatanetworks recently launched its ACM technology branded St. Joseph’s “allRewards”. The “allRewards gift card” will be marketed to hospital staff, friends and supporters. In addition, the gift card will be available for purchase at the hospital and selected events by consumers who care and recognize that their everyday spending can support life-saving programs at St. Joseph’s. When consumers use their new VISA gift card at Joseph’s allRewards Merchant Partners, additional donations will be generated to the St. Joseph’s Hospital & Medical Center; visit www.stjosephsallrewards.com for more details. RBS Lynk is a leading, single-source provider of electronic payment processing services.

IRS Extends OPC E-Payment Tax Contract

The Internal Revenue Service has extended its electronic tax payment processing contract with VA-based Official Payments through November 2008. To date, the company has processed over $7 billion in federal taxes. Through this service, individual taxpayers can make secure tax payments for a variety of federal tax types including Balance Due, Estimated, Extension, Installment Agreement, Prior Year, Advance Payment of a Determined Deficiency and Trust Fund Recovery Penalty for both Prior Tax Periods and Installment Agreements. In addition, businesses can make credit card payments for business returns on Form 940 (Employer’s Annual Federal Unemployment Tax Return) for the Current Tax Year, for Prior Tax Years and for Installment Agreements, Form 941 (Employer’s Quarterly Federal Tax Return) for the Current Tax Year, for Prior Tax Years and for Installment Agreements and Form 944 (Employer?s Annual Federal Tax Return). Official Payments charges a convenience fee for the service, however taxpayers using credit or debit cards with bonus rewards programs may, depending on their card’s program, earn reward points, airline frequent flyer miles or cash back for paying their taxes. Official Payments Corp., a wholly owned subsidiary of Tier Technologies, is a provider of electronic payment processing services to governments, businesses and consumers throughout the United States.

Consumer Spending Index Falls Sharply

Falling home prices continues to dampen consumer spending. The Deloitte “Leading Index of Consumer Spending” fell sharply in December to 2.64%, from an upwardly revised loss of 3.47% a month ago. The “index” tracks tax burden, initial unemployment claims, real wages and real home prices. Real home prices saw their largest fall this month in 2007 and the news from housing continues to remain grim. Existing home sales, an indicator of housing demand, fell 1.2% over September and were down 20.7% as compared to the same month last year. Meanwhile, the “Credit Manager’s Index” fell for the third consecutive month in November as all four components of the “Index” declined for the first time in five years, also indicating a contraction.

U.S. Bank Provides SmartPay 2 P-Cards

The U.S. Department of Transportation has selected U.S. Bank to provide purchasing cards under the new GSA “SmartPay 2” contract. Under the GSA contract, each government agency issues a task order to solicit proposals from the four card issuers who qualified for a contract under GSA SmartPay 2. U.S. Bank has served federal agencies since the inception of the purchase card program in 1986, making it the single most experienced payment provider to the federal government. It was the sole provider of purchase cards during the International Merchant Purchase Authorization Card (I.M.P.A.C.) program from 1988 to 1998, and is one of several providers participating in the current GSA SmartPay program, which ends in 2008. U.S. Bank is the first issuer to be awarded a tailored task order from a federal agency under GSA SmartPay 2, which was issued in June and takes effect November 30, 2008. U.S. Bancorp holds $228 billion in assets.

PayPal Lands Four Seasoned Card Executives

PayPal has hired four seasoned card industry. The online payment company has hired Jack Stephenson, SVP/Strategy and New Ventures; Mary Anne Gillespie, VP/Sales; Barry Herstein, chief marketing officer; and Robert Mansell, VP/Product Development. The new hires come from Avon, American Express, McKinsey & Company, Oracle and VISA International. PayPal had 164 million total accounts at the end of the third quarter, a 34% increase from one-year ago. Total payment volume also rose 34% to a record $12.2 billion which includes payments initiated through the PayPal system but excludes its payment gateway business. The number of active accounts hit 37.5 million as of September 30th, its highest level to-date. (CF Library 10/18/07)

Card Activation Patents Target 500 Firms

Chicago-based Card Activation Technologies reported that it has sent out 500 letters of notice to retailers, petroleum companies, and other companies that are potential licensees of the Company’s patented POS technology. This technology is designed for the activation and processing of transactions related to debit styled cards, which include gift cards, phone cards and other stored value cards. These letters are important in that, should companies ignore them and/or choose not to respond to a request to negotiate a license agreement, Card Activation Technologies may take legal action to enforce its rights. Once Card Activation Technologies prevails in this action, the damages are determined based on the date of the letter of notice. The company is actively seeking to license its technology to the thousands of current users and believes that many retailers, gas stations, phone companies and others that utilize those stored value cards, such as gift and debit, infringe on its patent, for which the company is now seeking damages.

Loyalty Specialist Lands a Card Veteran

Los Angeles-based loyalty specialist Source has named Roger Van Scoy, formerly Managing Director for TSYS and First Data, as COO. Van Scoy began his career at First National Bank in Texas and eventually was part of the LBO that formed First USA. Mr. Van Scoy moved into banking technology at EDS in 1991, where he served as Operations Manager for the landmark launch of the GM Card. He directed the team that helped the GM Card reach 2 million members in less than two months. During the launch of TSYS in Europe, Mr. Van Scoy oversaw the formation of the operation from the ground up while supporting the conversion of over 9 million accounts for the Royal Bank of Scotland and five other banks. In 2005, he joined Kanbay International as a Managing Director heading up Credit Services and Banking, which led him to Capgemini, where he served as Industry Consultant.

FINANSBANK & KXEN

Finansbank has signed agreements to deploy KXEN’s data mining
technology to better serve loan and credit customers. With the KXEN
data mining solution, Finansbank can now provide analysts with answers
through methodology that’s fast and easy to use. With these developments,
the bank has been able grow its market share, increase credit card
transaction volume and pique the interest of nearly half its dormant
customers. In doing so, the data mining technology allowed the bank to
shorten execution times for analytics and identify useful investment
products
given its credit card customers’ spending patterns. KXEN provides banks
with solutions such as these to increase customer acquisition and provide
retention applications at more than 500 sites around the world.

Dresser Wayne Certified by PCI and Interac

The Dresser Wayne fuel dispenser secure payment solution has become the first to receive “v2.0” security standard certifications for both the “PCI EPP” security requirements and the Interac Association “Chip PED Technical Specifications and Testing Requirements.” The payment security components will be available as a modular solution for easy implementation in “Dresser Wayne Vista”, “Ovation” and “Ovation iX” fuel dispensers. To be offered as an option group for new dispensers and as a retrofit kit for existing dispensers, the secure payment solution leverages Dresser Wayne’s “iX Technology Platform” for increased security and advanced marketing and dispenser management capabilities. The PCI EPP Security Requirements are designed to secure personal identification number (PIN)-based transactions globally. They apply to unattended terminals such as automated fuel dispensers that accept PIN entry for all PIN-based transactions. Similarly, the Interac Association requirements assure the security of debit transactions being processed on the Interac national payment network, which allows Canadians to access their funds through automated banking machines and point-of-sale terminals across Canada.