Small Ticket Transactions Rise 29% Since 04

Nearly 20 million Americans have purchased something online for less than $2 in the past year, up nearly 29% from 2004 and 350% since 2003. Also, an estimated 45 million Americans are willing to use credit or debit cards for purchases of $5 or less, up 23% from September 2004. The findings from Peppercoin and Ipsos Insight found that only seven percent of respondents who would not use credit or debit cards for small payments indicated they find it easier or prefer to use cash rather than a credit card. When asked about purchases for which they would be willing to use their cards, more than half of the respondents indicated they would use credit and debit cards at convenience stores if they could. The other top markets included fast-food (or quick-serve) restaurants/corporate cafeterias (47%), transportation (38%), coffee/beverages (35%) and parking (32%).

Checkgateway Expands ACH and Card Processing

Phoenix-based Checkgateway’s ACH and credit card processing is now available to businesses and retailers at physical locations. Merchants that sign up for ACH and credit card processing will also be able to take advantage of FraudChek and new ChekNow, which allows merchants to easily and instantaneously convert a paper check to an e-check at the point of sale. Checkgatewayis a provider of Automated Clearing House (ACH) payment processing and uses Experian’s eSeries Authentication Solution to verify the identity of electronic check holders and StarChek, a network of First Data Corp, that enables both physical and virtual retailers to route check verifications.

NAB Inks a Three-Year Deal with Edentify

North American Bancard has signed a three-year deal to incorporate Edentify’s complete suite of identity management solutions into its full complement of merchant services offerings. North American Bancard is combating this trend by integrating Edentify’s suite of identity management solutions into its merchant payment processing services: Edentify’s IDBenchmark proprietary technology organizes, analyzes, and finds inconsistencies in customer databases that indicate fraud, and then flags identities that are at-risk, creating the Identity Quotient Index, a score that reports the degree of risk faced by a financial institution. Monetary losses associated with credit card theft reached $788 million in the U.S. in 2004 and identity theft and fraud plagues some 10 million Americans annually. Edentify provides technology solutions utilized in preventing identity theft and fraud. North American Bancard processes well over 2 billion dollars in transactions annually.

ECHO Revenues Climb 22% in the Third Quarter

Electronic Clearing House reported that third calendar quarter revenue grew 21.5% to $15.2 million. Revenue from bankcard processing and transactions grew 23.3% to $11.5 million in the quarter, as the result of growth within the Company’s current customer base as well as from new merchants acquired through enhanced marketing programs. Bankcard processing and transaction revenues accounted for 75.5% of total Company revenues in the quarter. Check-related revenues increased 16.3% to $3.7 million, as the result of an increase in ACH processing during the quarter. ACH processing grew 12.3% to 7.8 million transactions in the quarter. Check-related revenues accounted for 24.5% of the total revenues. For complete details on ECHO’s latest results, visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]).

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

51% of Consumers Prefer Cards for Xmas Buying

A new survey shows that consumers will spend an average of $655 on holiday gifts and an additional $316 for parties, decorations and other seasonal purchases — an increase of 6.3% from 2004. The latest Macerich “Shopping in America Holiday” report also shows cash or check is the preferred payment method for many shoppers (43.4%), followed by debit cards (26.1%) and credit cards (25.3%). About 5% of consumers were unsure of their primary payment method. Ranking as the top last-minute gift in the survey, consumers plan to purchase an average 2.8 gift cards for the holiday season. Gift cards are most popular with shoppers in $75,000+ household income level, who will purchase an average of 3.7 cards.

Citi and AA Offer Double Miles on AA Purchases

Citibank and American Airlines have launched a promotion to enable “AAdvantage” cardholders to earn double miles for every dollar spent on tickets, upgrades, vacation packages, and “Admirals Club” memberships purchased through American Airlines. AAdvantage program benefits for cardmembers include no blackout dates on AAdvantage award travel and miles that may never expire. In addition, cardmembers are eligible for Reduced Mileage awards, which allow members to redeem AAdvantage awards for fewer miles to select destinations and offers members Personal Business Assistant service, the ability to set spending limits on employee cards, Citi Identity Theft Solutions for small business and Fraud Early Warning.

PRAA Lands a $75 Million Credit Line

Virginia-based Portfolio Recovery Associates has closed on a new $75 million bank credit line. Portfolio Recovery purchases and manages portfolios of defaulted consumer receivables and provides a broad range of accounts receivable management services. Terms of the new line, which is being led by Bank of America and Wachovia, are generally more advantageous to the Company than its prior line.

First Premier Launches the Farrah Gray MasterCard

First Premier Bank and Diamond Financial Products have teamed to launch the “Farrah Gray Prepaid MasterCard.” The card enables cardholders to prepay or store money as a balance that can be accessed for purchases, bill payments, or ATM cash withdrawals. The cards can be used wherever MasterCard debit cards are accepted, including ATMs; with acceptance at millions of merchant locations worldwide. Cardholders can re-load the cards multiple times at various locations and by different payment types. The cards are prepaid so there are no credit checks, no interest payments and no monthly fee. Diamond Financial Products provides stored value products.

TSYS Names a Product and Knowledge Executive

TSYS has promoted Kathy Wills to group executive of product and knowledge development, effective immediately. She oversees client education, documentation, team member education, client assessment and consulting, product development, and intranet portal development and administration. In 1981, Ms. Wills joined the division that would later be incorporated as TSYS, serving as the company’s liaison with the major payment associations. Since then, she has played key roles in critical stages of the company’s evolution. Wills was a member of the original TS2 development team, working closely with clients to collect and define the system’s requirements. Later, she developed and refined the processes that govern new client conversions to the processing platform, including supervision of client enhancements and testing. TSYS provides outsourced payment services.

JCB SWEET CARD

JCB is expanding its women-oriented credit cards with the special launch of the “JCB LINDA Sweet” card. Only 20,000 of the aromatic cards will be issued with applications to be accepted on December 10th. More than 500,000 “JCB LINDA” women-oriented
cards have been issued since the card’s launch in 2002. The “LINDA” concept is backed by the LINDA League, an alliance of product
and service providers that supports women seeking a more beautiful
lifestyle. In addition to the scented “JCB LINDA Sweet Card,” three new card designs will be released next spring. The new designs are being selected by “JCB LINDA” cardholders and others who visit the LINDA web site or call an automated telephone system to vote for their three favorite designs from a field of nine. JCB has 55.14 million cardholders worldwide.