A new study has found that five West Coast cities are the most likely places to become a victim of identity fraud. The San Francisco Bay Area is the most at risk area for “iJacking” followed by Seattle, Denver, San Jose and San Diego. The Sperling’s “Best Places” survey, commissioned by VA-based Intersections, also found a correlation between transaction rates and affluence, showing that those with the most to lose are also at the most risk for losing it. San Jose, San Francisco and Washington DC all rank in the top ten in transaction rates and also have the highest number of households making over $250,000. A combination of high ATM use, Internet use and purchasing habits make the West Coast the most dangerous region for “iJacking.” Intersections is offering a three month subscription to its “Identity Guard Fraud Protection” service for $12.99 and will also provide a free credit report and credit score to all who sign up.
MD-based First Annapolis has promoted Frank Martien, who currently heads its “Commercial Payments” practice, to Partner. Frank has played a key role in expanding our capabilities and growing our client base. He was instrumental in the growth of our Card Issuing practice through his relentless focus on quality, analytical rigor, and relationship building. Over the past two years, Frank has led the Commercial Payments practice where he has built a specialized body of expertise and a strong client base in the commercial sector. First Annapolis is a management consulting and M&A advisory firm with a focus on the consumer financial services and a specialty in payment-related products, services, and delivery.
Official Payments and Datatel have signed Chaffey College in Rancho Cucamonga, CA as their first joint client. Official Payments’ hosted eCommerce solution enables Datatel Colleague users to offer enhanced payment processing services to their customers such as the ability to accept all four major credit card types and electronic check payments either in-person at the point-of-sale, through the Internet, or via a telephone-based Interactive Voice Response system.
A new survey has found that 64% of small businesses have taken action within the last 12 months to better protect customer financial information and 29% have done so in the last 3 months. The research from VISA USA and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce also found that 34% of small retailers spend more resources preventing the theft of products and cash from their store compared to 20% who spend more to secure customer data. Additionally, about 53% of retailers think their customers, rarely, if at all, worry about their personal information. VISA and the Chamber of Commerce began a 12-city nationwide town hall tour today titled, “Securing Our Businesses, Protecting Our Customers.” It is the second year that VISA and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce have teamed to educate small businesses about new fraud threats and how to protect themselves.
Nova Information Systems has sued a Virginia businessman who allegedly received 96 inadvertent transactions between March 2004 and March 2005. The suit is seeking nearly $23,000 via Suffolk County Circuit Court. According to the The Virginian-Pilot, the businessman, a developer who ran a furniture store for 25 years in downtown Suffolk, denies ever receiving the funds in any bank account. The businessman says Nova approached him last year with complaints from people who said they weren’t receiving the items they had paid for with credit cards. However, the businessman says he didn’t even sell the items in question. NOVA offers integrated payment processing services to more than 1 million merchants worldwide.
Shell Oil has launched a $30 million marketing campaign that includes giving away 200,000 $10 “Shell Gift Cards.” The new campaign will include advertising, Point-of-Purchase (POP) materials and a “Million Gallon Giveaway” sweepstakes. Online and print advertising will also appear in general interest, lifestyle and automotive outlets such as Yahoo! and Car and Driver magazine. A comprehensive POP program, including pump toppers, column banners, in-store materials, and pole and yard signs will be on display at more than 13,000 Shell stations nationwide.
The IRS has renewed its electronic tax payment processing contract with Official Payments Corp. and has expanded the tax return types eligible for card payment by both individual and business taxpayers. OPC began processing federal tax payments made by credit card in 1999 with today’s renewal representing the exercise of the fourth of four optional one-year contract renewals. Beginning in 2007, individuals can pay “Trust Fund Recovery” penalties and “Trust Fund Recovery” penalty installment agreements for prior tax periods starting in 1997. Also in 2007, business taxpayers will be able to pay prior tax years Forms “940” and “941” payments from 1997 onward on a payment card. Additionally, business taxpayers will be able use a card to pay their Form “944” “Employer’s ANNUAL Federal Tax Return” for 2006. This year, the IRS began accepting credit card payments made by businesses for balance due business returns on Form “940” and Form “941.” OPC currently has more than 2,000 federal, state, and local governments and agencies including the IRS, educational institutions, utilities and commercial clients. OPC is a subsidiary of Tier Technologies.
A newly launched study of the effectiveness of consumer credit counseling has found the act of seeking counseling is a valuable “early warning” indicator of serious financial trouble that facilitates timely intervention and assistance. Credit bureau information available at the time of counseling often does not reflect private information that many counseled clients possess regarding recent or impending negative changes to their financial condition. As a result, creditors have limited indicators that such borrowers may need assistance. Effective credit counseling agencies can help to identify borrowers who are in financial distress. Telephone and face-to-face delivery of the initial counseling appear to generate equivalent outcomes for consumers’ creditworthiness measured two years later. This is true both for clients who complete only an initial counseling session and those who enter debt management programs. The ongoing study is being conducted for the Consumer Federation of America and American Express Company by the Georgetown University Credit Research Center using data supplied by ten leading consumer credit counseling agencies.
Capital One has named a new head of its $47 billion U.S. card business. Jory Berson, a fourteen year company veteran, has been promoted to EVP of U.S. Card Operations, effective immediately. Berson most recently served as head of U.S. Card Operations. Capital One says Berson has been involved in every aspect of the card business including marketing, credit management, and operations. He will replace Catherine West, who has accepted the role of EVP/COO and COO for the TX-based J.C. Penney Company. West began heading U.S. Card in 2004 after having previously served as Capital One’s head of U.S. Card Operations. Capital One has 37 million credit card accounts in the USA.
VA-based Tier Technologies has been subpoenaed by the Philadelphia District Office of the SEC requesting documents relating to financial reporting and personnel issues. Tier says it intends to cooperate fully in this investigation. Last week Tier confirmed that James Weaver has resigned as Chairman and CEO. The decision followed a recommendation by the audit committee of the board of directors that Weaver’s employment be terminated. Tier provides information technology solutions and through its Official Payments Corp. subsidiary.
Capital One released disaster-planning guidelines and a checklist to help small businesses prepare for emergency situations. The checklist provides details to help small businesses develop a continuity plan that addresses post-disaster recovery procedures; consider alternative operational locations; equip backup operations sites with critical equipment, data files and supplies;prepare for emergency cash management to handle cash flow and develop multiple and reliable communication methods to reach employees and customers.
OH-based Fifth Third Bank has introduced the “Private Client Group World MasterCard” for its clients in Private Banking, Trust, Wealth Planning, Investment Services, High-Net-Worth Insurance and PCG Brokerage groups. As of March 31, 2006, the Investment Advisors division of Fifth Third Bank, which includes the Private Banking Group, had $33 billion in assets under management, $203 billion in assets under care and $12 billion in Fifth Third Fund Assets.