Freddie Awards 2015

Voting from 3.2 million frequent travelers reveals the Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Premier Card is the top loyalty credit card in the Americas region. The annual Freddie Awards also voted American Airlines AAdvantage as the top frequent flyer program of the Year and Marriott Rewards as the top hotel loyalty programs in the Americas region.

CFPB & Payday Lending

As expected the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) posse is circling the wagons of the payday loan industry. The CFPB says this week its mission is to end payday debt traps by requiring lenders to take steps to make sure consumers can repay their loans and not make loans on purely on the ability to collect from consumers.

Fiserv CardValet

Fiserv unveiled CardValet enabling cardholders to turn their card off when their card is not in use, establish spending limits to allow transactions up to a certain dollar value and decline transactions when amounts exceed predefined thresholds. In addition, transactions can be monitored or controlled for specific merchant categories.

Fiserv mCard Mgmt

Fiserv launched CardValet mobile card management application allowing financial institutions to improve cardholder engagement and reduce fraud losses. In doing so it allows cardholders to monitor and control how, when and where their cards are used. CardValet from Fiserv is a turnkey mobile application that can be downloaded from the Apple App Store or Google Play Store. Using CardValet, cardholders can turn their card off when their card is not in use, establish spending limits to allow transactions up to a certain dollar value and decline transactions when amounts exceed predefined thresholds. Transactions can be monitored or controlled for specific merchant categories, such as travel, restaurants, or entertainment, and can be denied or reported for specific types of merchants. Alerts can also be established to inform cardholders of specific types of transactions and sent when a card is used, when a transaction is approved and exceeds any of the permitted use policies, or when a card transaction has been attempted.

Obama Pay

While largely ceremonial, President Obama today signed an executive order at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau mandating the use of smart payment cards in the U.S. for government payments. The payment transistion in the U.S. from mag stripe/signature card payments to Chip/PIN (EMV) is already underway and will be in full steam in 2015.

Intellicheck Mobilisa Launches barZapp mApp for Android

Intellicheck Mobilisa identity solutions and wireless security systems launched an Android version of barZapp ID-checking mobile app. With it, smartphones can be used to check an ID card. An introductory version is available in the Google App Store for $1.99 and offers users 10 scans per day once a free account has been created at this link. Unlimited scans are available for a paid subscription of $9.95 per month for the barZapp Pro version. barZapp for Android requires Android Version 2.3.3 or higher. With this launch, barZapp is now available on both the Google and Apple App Stores. With barZapp, users can aim their smartphone’s camera at the barcode on a driver’s license to instantly read and verify the encoded information and display the results”including the bearer’s name, date of birth, ID expiration and ID number.

VeriFone Enables ePayment in NYC For-Hire Vehicles

VeriFone Systems will begin installing payment systems for the new class of for-hire vehicles (FHVs) established to increase service to upper Manhattan and the New York City outer boroughs. New York City’s “Five Borough Taxi” plan enables the city to sell 6,000 street hail livery permits a year for three years. The new class of FHVs will be green in color and permitted to accept street hails north of East 96th street and north of West 110th street in Manhattan, and all of the other boroughs excluding the airports. VeriFone payment systems are now available to the new green FHV drivers who are required to have installed a Livery Passenger Enhancement Program (LPEP) approved integrated hardware and software system that includes a credit card acceptance device, a GPS unit, a driver information screen, and a passenger information screen enabled with an ADA-compliant payments system for the visually impaired.

SWACHA Survey Shows Consumer Love for Loyalty Programs

SWACHA not-for-profit epayment association now shows a rewards program weighs heavily on consumers decisions when choosing a debit or credit card provider. Among consumers surveyed, 66% reported credit card rewards programs are important to them with 34% ranking them very important and 32% ranking them somewhat important. Although slightly lower than credit card interest, 21% said debit card loyalty programs are very important and 24% find them somewhat important to them when choosing a card. Debit cards are currently used by 26% daily, compared to only 15% using credit cards- among which 44% pay off their balance in full every month. Moreover, while 31% who earn between $25,000 to $45,000 hold at least three credit cards, 43% of those who earn $45,000 to $55,000 and 50% earning between $55,000 to $75,000, and 54% of those who earn $75,000 to $95,000 hold at least three.