A new survey has found that when asked how much credit card debt they have this January as compared to last year at this time, 44% of consumers report the same and 29% report less, compared to one-year ago of 43% and 29%, respectively. The TransUnion survey conducted by GfK Roper Public Affairs & Media also found that 42% of consumers report purchasing less through the use of credit this holiday season than last year, a marked increase from the 35% reported in the 2007 vs. 2006 survey. About 30% say they purchased the same amount using credit as in the previous year, down from 37% in 2007. Only 11% indicated they purchased more, as compared with 14% the year prior.
Metavante will acquire CA-based BenSoft and its product, “RepayMe” to integrate into its existing Healthcare Payment Solutions suite of products. RepayMe software provides a Web-based tool for individuals who participate in various benefit programs to easily obtain reimbursement for eligible expenses that are covered by their benefit plans.
Washington DC-based mobile payment provider Mobilians International, has signed an agreement with online payment provider PaymentOne Corporation to provide PaymentOne’s “PhoneBill” payment service to Mobilians’ merchants. Through this new partnership, Mobilians International’s merchants can reach over 150 million U.S. consumers, providing them the option to conveniently charge digital goods and services to their existing broadband and landline phone accounts.
Rent-A-Center has partnered with Diebold to install seven “Diebold Express Cash Recyclers” as part of an agreement by which Rent-A-Center will purchase 500 units through the next two and a half years. The cash recyclers automatically count, authenticate and securely safeguard cash deposited by clients. That same cash is later dispensed for customer cash withdrawals. Diebold teamed with Arcatech Systems, a supplier of transaction automation components, to design and manufacture ECRs to penetrate the teller market with an automated recycling solution specifically designed for North America.
Chase Card Services and FL-based Office Depot have rolled out the “Office Depot Worklife Rewards VISA Signature Card” that offers 5% rebate rewards to business owners and consumers. The rebates are automatically applied as a statement credit to cardmembers’ accounts each month, as long as an Office Depot purchase is made that month. If an Office Depot purchase is not made that month, the rebates continue to accrue until the next Office Depot purchase is made and gives a 1%back in rebates everywhere else Visa credit cards are accepted. The card has contactless payment functionality and easy-to-use reporting tools for better cash flow management.
A new poll reveals that Americans will be more focused on trimming fat than trimming debt this year. Only 17% say paying down credit cards and other debt is their top priority for 2008, as compared with 32% who pick eating healthy or losing weight as their number one resolution for this year. Both figures are lower than the prior year when 22% said they wanted to trim debt and 37% wanted to trim their waistline. The latest TransUnion TrueCredit.com Survey discovered that the top resolution for 2008 is spending more time with family, up significantly from last year. When asked about their greatest financial concerns in 2008, 40% pick their salary level or job prospects and 41% name making non-mortgage payments.
Banking and payments provider Firethorn Holdings and Verizon Wireless have joined forces to enable customers of customers of major financial institutions, including Wachovia, SunTrust, FirstBank, and BancorpSouth mobile access to their accounts. The Firethorn application is currently available on several phones from Verizon Wireless, including the Chocolate and enV by LG, LG VX8700, LG VX8600, LG VX9400, and the Samsung SCH-a950. The companies expect to make the application available on additional devices in the coming months. Verizon Wireless customers can find the Firethorn application in the “Get Going”or “Tools” on the Go virtual shopping aisle of the “Get It Now” virtual store by clicking on “Get New App” and then “Business/Tools.” The mobile banking application is free, but application download, usage or megabyte charges may apply.
San Diego-based Single Touch Interactive and Atlanta-based InComm have teamed to offer customers with mobile coupons through retail loyalty cards. Combining InComm’s point of sale integration at over 100,000 national retail stores with Single Touch Interactive’s “Abbreviated Dial Code” mobile technology creates a mobile coupon platform that doesn’t change customer or retailer behavior. Consumers only need to sign up one time for the mobile coupon program via their mobile phone by dialing #SAVE and entering their loyalty card number or they can sign up online at any participating retailer. When the consumer visits a participating retail store, they dial #SAVE on their mobile phone to hear and activate available mobile coupons. At checkout, the consumer simply swipes their loyalty card to trigger the discount. Customer behavior at checkout remains the same and the retailer doesn’t need to add special equipment.
CA-based retail solution provider XProtean has announced a strategic distribution deal with Sharp Electronics’ Point-of-Sale division. Under this agreement, Sharp will bundle XProtean’s Quick Serve Restaurant Industry Solution with Sharp’s UP-X500 point-of-sale system. The UP-X500 is an integrated, open-systems platform supporting WindowsÂ® XP. In addition, the agreement allows XProtean and Sharp to collaborate on new product developments designed for hospitality and retail industry in the U.S. XProtean advanced POS systems come integrated with electronic payment processing engine that enables credit, debit, and gift card acceptance.
Sage Software has announced a new Sage “MAS 90” and Sage “MAS 200 Credit Card Processing” module. Sage Card Processing is fully integrated with Sage MAS 90 and 200 to enable users to authorize and process payments directly from within Sage MAS applications. The module provides a complete credit and debit card processing solution for mail order, telephone order and Internet businesses, including corporate purchasing cards. Data can be entered through the Sales Order and Accounts Receivable modules and the .store and .order e-Business Manager applets. Transactional information, such as authorization codes, is captured and stored within the appropriate application database for historical and reconciliation purposes. In addition, the Sage MAS card processing system is managed by the Sage Payment Solutions Division rather than through a third party, resulting in lower credit card processing fees for customers.
The NFC Forum has issued a call for entries for “Touching the Future: NFC Forum Global Competition”. Near Field Communication (NFC) is a standards-based, short-range wireless connectivity technology that enables simple and safe two-way interactions among electronic devices. In the competition, developers in a commercial track vie for the honor of having their solutions named “The Best NFC Service of the Year 2008,” while a research track recognizes “The Most Innovative NFC Research Project of the Year 2008.” Commercial Track submissions require a business case and prototype; entries will be evaluated on how successfully and innovatively their solutions meet the needs of key vertical market segments. Research Track submissions require a prototype and will be judged on creativity and innovativeness. The NFC Forum was launched as a non-profit industry association by leading mobile communications, semiconductor and consumer electronics companies.
MA-based TrustPlus announced a strategic partnership with BidPay.com to offer customers the convenience of using credit cards through the BidPay payment platform for online classifieds transactions. In coordination with TrustPlus’ reputation service, BidPay’s payment platform helps buyers make purchases using their credit cards without revealing the card’s information to sellers. By joining these services, online buyers will be able to access a seller’s reputation and make their purchase with a debit or credit card in one simple step without compromise to privacy or security. BidPay is a leading online payment service and a wholly owned subsidiary of CyberSource.