Data communication provider TNS reported fourth quarter and full-year 2006 results. The Q4 2006 total revenue increased 13.4% to $74.4 million from Q4 2005 revenue of $65.6 million. Revenue from the International Services Division increased 23.3% to $29.3 million from $23.7 million. Revenue from the Financial Services Division increased 12.2% to $9.3 million from $8.3 million. Revenue from the Telecommunication Services Division increased 12.0% to $15.1 million from $13.4 million. Revenue from the POS Division increased 3.2% to $20.8 million on 1.5 billion transactions from $20.2 million on 1.4 billion transactions in Q4 2005. Total 2006 revenue increased 10.5% to $286.2 million from 2005 revenues of $258.9 million. TNS is a provider of business-critical, cost-effective data communications services for transaction-oriented applications.
U.S. Bank’s Elan Financial Services reported that it acquired 83 credit card portfolios with $324.6 million in combined outstanding balances. Elan says this is a 53% jump over the prior year. Elan notes that while service and product needs were the primary concerns, 2006 saw the rising cost of funds and other issues, such as fraud risk, which was what truly opened the door to discussions on portfolio sales and ensuing outsourcing partnerships. Elan has more than 1,600 financial institution partnerships in place to-date.
Shop.org announced that its CyberMonday.com website raised more than $107,000 during the holiday season for the Ray M. Greenly Scholarship Fund to promote careers in online retail. To date, the Fund has collected more than $120,000 since it was created in January 2006. According to Mall Networks, which powers the website, consumers spent $3.2 million through CyberMonday.com during the holidays. Shop.org is the network for retailers online with 600 members. Its programs and activities include benchmarking research, events and networking communities.
A bill was introduced in the Financial Institutions Committee in the Texas State House of Representatives that would permit Texas retailers to pass the cost of electronic transactions onto consumers who choose to pay with payment cards. “HB 1236” would amend current Texas statute which prevents merchants from surcharging customers who choose to pay for their purchases with credit cards. “HB 1236” would allow merchants to surcharge consumers who choose to pay with credit cards for purchases not exceeding $10. The Washington, DC-based Americans for Consumer Education and Competition says similar legislation was popping up in state legislatures around the country last year and we are seeing a similar pattern emerge as the 2007 sessions begin.
Global Cash Access, has signed a multi-year extension to its current agreements with Virgin River Casino, Oasis Casino and Casablanca Casino. Under the agreement the three Nevada based casinos will take advantage of GCA’s latest products and services, including CasinoCash Plus 3-in-1 ATM, QuikCash Plus(QCP) Web, Arriva Card, and QuikCash cash advance terminals. The Arriva Card, issued by CIT Bank, is the first credit card specifically designed for use in casinos and has many features not typically available with most traditional credit cards, including potentially better rates and terms on cash advances and an exclusive loyalty program. Arriva also benefits casino operators by providing their guests with a new source of credit, at no risk to the casino operator.
VISA USA will distribute a $300,000 grant to the National Federation of Independent Business Young Entrepreneur Foundation to ignite the entrepreneurial spirit in students. VISA will sponsor the “Entrepreneur-in-the-Classroom program”, a three-module curriculum designed to bring real life stories of entrepreneurship into the classroom; “Take Time to Teach Mentoring”, a program designed to familiarize teachers with the subjects of small business and entrepreneurship in which NFIB-member entrepreneurs serve as mentors to educators and offer real-world advice and expertise on starting and running a business and an online game, “Johnny Money,” designed to enhance a students’ exploration of the risks and rewards of small-business ownership. The NFIB Young Entrepreneur Foundation is a 501(c)(3) organization promoting the importance of small business and free enterprise.
Capital One has launched a cash-back credit card building on its popular “No Hassle Rewards” product line. The new “No Hassle Cash Rewards” card offers one percent cash back on all purchases, plus a 25% annual bonus on the total cash back earned. The card has no rewards expiration date, no minimum cash redemption levels, no limit to earning amounts, no spending minimums and customers can redeem for cash, statement credit, or gift card at any time. Cap One had U.S. managed card outstandings of $53.6 billion for 4Q/06 and 37.6 million accounts as of December 31st, according to CardData ([www.carddata.com]).
San Diego-based MedImpact Healthcare Systems and Bank of America have teamed to combine a “Consumer-Directed Health Care” platform with a rewards-based credit card. This is the first healthcare offering that delivers both a co-branded rewards card and an account-based benefit product set. MedImpact serves 27 million members nationwide from its client companies. The MedEmpower integrated account-based benefits package also includes “Flexible Spending Accounts,” “Health Reimbursement Arrangements,” debit cards, account and claims administration, marketing, communication and education services. MedImpact is also offering its clients a BofA credit card with the “WorldPoints” reward program. In addition to earning reward points for everyday net retail purchases, the no-annual-fee credit card offers cardholders double reward points for net retail purchases of medical services and pharmaceuticals. The points can be redeemed for merchandise, travel, cash back, or converted to cash which can be deposited into a “Health Savings Account.”
VA-based Smart Payment Solutions has partnered with NJ-based iPro Invoice to provide back-end ACH processing services. SPS is a full service payments provider specializing in ACH processing, Returned Check processing, and check conversion. iPro Invoice makes electronic invoicing accessible and affordable to smaller businesses.
Charge-offs for credit card-backed bonds in the U.K. hit a new peak
during the fourth quarter to 7.2%, compared to 5.80% one-year ago and
6.9% for the prior quarter. Delinquencies were fairly stable and even
fell slightly from 3.7% at the end of September to 3.6% at year-end.
According to FitchRatings, the driving factor behind the quarterly
improvement in delinquency was a fall in the delinquencies in the Pillar
and Arran trusts, and to a much lesser extent, improvements from the
Gracechurch, CARDS I and Sherwood trusts. While delinquencies showed
some positive signs, falling back slightly over the quarter, “Individual
Voluntary Arrangements” and bankruptcy cases continue to increase. It is
possible that the high number of personal insolvencies is continuing to
have a significant impact on charge off numbers as
these are quickly reflected as losses. The monthly payment rate fell
from 16.4% at the end of 3Q/06, to 16.2% by year-end. The yield also
fell from 18.9% at the end of September to 18.4% in December.
American Express and Delta have beefed-up the “Delta SkyMiles Card” program. Consumer and small business cardholders can now earn more bonus miles depending on the amount of purchases made during the year. Plus, “Gold” and “Business Gold” cardholders will automatically receive a $99 domestic companion certificate upon renewal and “Platinum” and “Business Platinum” cardholders will automatically receive a complimentary domestic companion certificate upon renewal. Delta and AmEx also offer “Platinum” and “Platinum Business” cardholders the ability to earn 10,000 “Medallion Qualification Miles” from $25,000 in annual spend and an additional 10,000 “MQM” for $50,000 in annual purchases. Additionally, the program offers “Always Double Miles” on every eligible dollar they spend on Delta Air Lines purchases, as well as at supermarkets, gas stations, drugstores, home improvement stores, and more, except for “Options.”