Obopay Launches Licensed Payment Services for Partners

Obopay, a leading provider of mobile and instant payment solutions for market-leading brands, announced the availability of Obopay Licensed Payment Services for Partners. Obopay Licensed Payment Services for Partners is a new offering that enables partners to leverage Obopay’s money transfer licenses throughout the U.S. and its expertise in compliance to accelerate bringing their own…

Fiserv Offers Sagework Products on Processing Platforms

Fiserv made available five products from Sageworks for financial institutions using its account processing platforms. This strategic partnership combines the strength of Fiserv as the U.S. market leader in account processing services and its expertise in lending, account origination and business analytics with Sageworks’ credit analysis and loan portfolio management solutions. The Sageworks suite collects and analyzes data, efficiently identifying and monitoring emerging loan portfolio risks and measuring and reporting the impact those risks represent. The products through Fiserv include Sageworks “Analyst” for credit analysis of commercial borrowers by performing a global cash flow analysis; “Surety” calculation module that calculates and summarizes loan reserves; “Certainty” for internal policies to risk rate each loan after a lending decision is made; “Clarity,” allowing financial institutions to stress-test entire portfolios and “Monitor” loan tracking module.

Late Payments Plague US Consumers & Businesses Alike

Although improving, late payments are continuing to negatively impact consumer and business credit reports across the country. This is reflective in the 39% of American invoices paid late over the past 6 months, which is in conjunction with consumer monthly payment rates having just posted negative numbers month-over-month to now stand at 13.11% in August from 12.86% in July, but an improvement from the year ago figure of 16.96%. These findings, according to CardData.com and the “Payment Practices Barometer” global report, also show this seriously disrupts cashflow. This subsequently required 48% of companies left waiting for payments to conduct corrective measures to manage internal cash flow. Additional findings show 52% of U.S. consumers asked for extended payment terms over the last six months; 48% had delayed payment without prior agreement; and average domestic payment term was 28 days.

MONTHLY PAYMENT RATE
Jul 09: 17.12%
Aug 09: 16.96%
Sep 09: 16.59%
Oct 09: 17.77%
Nov 09: 17.66%
Dec 09: 17.23%
Jan 10: 17.15%
Feb 10: 15.95%
Mar 10: 18.79%
Apr 10: 14.61%
May 10: 13.96%
Jun 10: 14.22%
Jul 10: 12.86%
Aug 10: 13.11%
Source: CardData (www.carddata.com)

New Survey Reveals Economic Crisis Extent

Nearly 40% of global respondents expect the economic crisis to end by 1Q/10 while 66% of US respondents anticipate a rebound in business by the end of 2010. Also, 50% of US respondents believe their companies’ financial position will stabilize at the end of 2009 while 30% anticipate an improvement in their financial stability by this year’s end. This, according to the MD-based Atradius “Global Economic Crisis Survey,” additionally found 34% have suffered a decrease in their access to financing; the US remains the most pessimistic country; 40% have changed their credit terms; 34% have increased their use of outsourced collection services and 41%increased the frequency of their buyers’ credit reviews. Additional findings show 32% are considering or have begun using credit insurance and 56% of US businesses think the government’s efforts thus far have largely been ineffective while 62% think the government should stimulate economic growth through tax cuts and incentives.

ARTA & UAL

ARTA Canada is condemning United Airlines initiatives to prohibit U.S.
travel agencies from continuing to report and remit sales via the
Airlines Reporting Corporation (ARC) through its credit card merchant
agreement. With the initiative, agencies no longer can process credit
card payment transactions by United reported via ARC, rather, will be
required to process transactions as a cash sale. In response, ARTA
Canada is proposing travel agents take a greater role in distribution
technology to keep costs for all stakeholders reasonable, imploring
carriers resist any change to the status quo and allow merchant
agreements used by agencies reporting through BSP Canada or through
direct sales via a GDS or web site. ARTA Canada non-profit federally
incorporated professional association of travel retailers in Canada is
the strategic partner in Canada of the U.S.-based Association of Retail
Travel Agents (ARTA).

UAL and Travel Agents Collide Over Card Fees

Travel agents are flying off the handle over a pilot program launched by United Airlines to require them to process their own credit card payments. United Airlines informed a limited number of travel agencies that, effective July 20th, they would “no longer have continued access to United’s credit card merchant agreements.” If the agent continues to use United’s merchant facilities then a $75 fee would be assessed for each transaction. ASTA listed off six reasons why the new policy is headed for a mid-air collision: 1. About two thirds of travel agents’ access to merchant services is limited to the “ARC TASF” program, which is designed to process service fees, not airline tickets; 2. United is requiring these agents to absorb United’s cost of doing business; 3. United will save no credit costs if the result of the policy is that consumers, or agents on behalf of consumers, book on credit cards at United.com; 4. travel agents have been given insufficient time to prepare their systems and procedures to accommodate a process change of this magnitude; 5. Travel agents’ cost of doing business will increase well beyond the agent absorbing the credit card merchant fees that United will avoid; 6. Consumers will be disadvantaged as costs shifted from United to travel agents will ultimately be borne by consumers in the form of higher service fees on top of the existing fare level.

PAYMENT PRACTICES

The “Atradius Payment Practices Barometer”, a twice-yearly survey
amongst 1,800 firms in nine European countries that indicates there are
significant differences in payment terms of countries surveyed: German
companies set the shortest term of payment, 24 days on
average, followed by Swedish companies with 30 days. Companies in
Spain set the longest term of payment with 75 days, followed by Italy
with 67 days; Southern European countries have worst payment practices
Italy (76% of respondents), France (74%) and Spain (64%) rate
domestic payment practices as “poor” or “fair”. Sweden and Denmark (62%
of respondents in both Countries) rate domestic payment
practices as “good”, “very good” or “excellent”. In general, foreign
payment practices rated better than domestic payment practices
Great Britain (70% of companies surveyed) and Sweden (59%) rate foreign
payment practices as “good”, “very good” or “excellent”;
France (56%) and Spain (57%) rate foreign payment practices as “poor”
or “fair”. Sweden and Denmark only countries surveyed that rated
domestic payment practices higher than foreign payment practices. The
Atradius Group provides trade credit insurance, surety and
collections services worldwide.

ATRADIUS GROUP

Atradius and Credito y Caucion have completed the combination of
business operations under the “Atradius Group” name.
Under this collaboration, the organizations will be providing customers
in 40 countries around the world with credit insurance, surety / bonding,
collections and credit information. The combination will provide for
operations under the single brand, however, Atradius global credit
insurance and Credito y Caucion will maintain local brand names in the
name of recognition. Atradius has nearly $1.9 billion in revenue, a 24%
share of the credit insurance market, insures almost $588 billion of world
trade per annum and employs 3,500 in 40 countries while Credito y
Caucion has 60% of the Spanish market-share and has recently expanded
into Brazil. With the introduction of the “Atradius Group” collaboration,
designed to provide credit insurance, surety and collections in 40
countries,
the organization reflects total revenues of nearly $2.6 billion with a 31%
global market-share, insures $683 billion of world trade and has 160
offices serving 52 million companies.

Half of Consumers Express Online Concerns

A new survey has found that 44% of consumers feel their information is safe when engaging in e-commerce and 50% avoid making purchases online because they are afraid their financial information will be stolen. The Cyber Security Industry Alliance survey also found that 34% of Americans feel that banking online is as safe as banking in person, however, 94% of Americans feel that identity theft is a serious problem and only 24% of Americans say that businesses are placing the right emphasis on protecting information systems and networks.

Illinois AG Sues Two Catalog Credit Card Firms

The Illinois Attorney General has filed a lawsuit against FL-based Latin Card Plus and Pro Line Card for an alleged deceptive catalog credit card offer. Madigan’s two lawsuits ask the court to prohibit the defendants from offering for sale and selling credit cards or credit card services in Illinois. In addition, the lawsuits ask the court to assess civil penalties of $50,000 and additional penalties of $50,000 per violation found to be committed with the intent to defraud. Finally, Madigan’s lawsuits ask the court to order the defendants to pay restitution to the consumers as well as the costs of the investigations and litigation.

Chase Card Earnings Up 25%, Volume Grows 13%

J.P. Morgan Chase reported that operating earnings for its card business increased 25% in the fourth quarter, and that its credit card outstandings hit $52.3 billion in the fourth quarter, a 3% increase over the prior quarter, and a 2% gain over 4Q/02. Charge-offs declined and dollar volume increased for the third consecutive quarter. Operating earnings for the fourth quarter were $171 million, compared to $137 million one-year ago. Charge-offs came in at 5.76%, compared to 5.83% in the previous quarter, and 5.71% one-year ago. Charge volume for 4Q/03, which includes total customer purchases, cash advances and balance transfers, was $23.9 billion, compared to $21.2 billion for 4Q/02, a 13% increase. However, delinquency (30+ days) increased 6 basis points over the third quarter to 4.68%. Delinquency for 4Q/02 was 4.67%. Chase reported that it signed up about one million new accounts in the fourth quarter. The issuer ended the year with 30.8 million gross card accounts and 16.5 million active card accounts. For complete details on Chase’s fourth quarter performance visit CardData (www.carddata.com).

Kmart Sues Capital One Over its Co-Branded MasterCard

Kmart disclosed this week that it filed suit against Capital One last month in regard to its co-branded “Kmart MasterCard.” The complaint, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan alleges breach of contract. Kmart also says Capital One failed to market and support a co-branded credit card. The “Kmart MasterCard” was launched in September 2000. The suit was filed against Capital One Bank, Capital One, F.S.B., and Capital One Services, Inc. The complaint alleges “breach of the covenant of good faith and fair dealing, unjust enrichment, promissory estoppel and tortious interference with business relationships and prospective economic advantage arising out of Capital One’s alleged failure to market and support the co-branded credit card.” Kmart says its seeking monetary damages.