Visa Defends Consumer Protection Policies

Visa disclosed it is committed to preserving its pro competitive and pro consumer policies in its response to the Canadian Competition Bureau legal challenge. Its no-surcharging protection was created specifically to prevent retailers from imposing a check-out fee on consumers who choose the convenience, security and reliability of Visa cards over cash and checks and, by eliminating this, the Competition Bureau proposes to allow merchants to penalize Canadians by charging more than the advertised price for products and apply a surprise fee at check-out simply because a cardholder has exercised their individual choice to use a credit card. Removing this pro-consumer policy, according to Visa, will lead to consumer confusion and reduce consumer choice at the POS.

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Credit Card Fee Income Up in Total Revenue

Total revenue for the card business declined somewhat last year – fee income, too. But as a percentage of total revenue, fee income has been continually rising, and is expected to do so again this year. In this the fifth in their annual year-end series of seven industry trend reports, industry analyst R.K. Hammer reports not only is fee income rising as a percentage of total credit card income, but its upward trend is coming closer to overtaking the percentage banks earn for credit card interest income. Banks overall still earn a greater percentage of their revenue from fee income, at 54%. Cards, on the other hand also earn an increasing percentage of total revenue from fees, but lower than banks overall, at 48% of total card revenue. Fifteen years ago, card fees accounted for only 18% of total revenue. We predict that cards will very soon join banks in terms of fee income becoming the greatest revenue stream in their P/L. Over the last 20 years of tracking these numbers, the Hammer model shows such income rising throughout the period, for both banks and card companies.

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Chargeoffs Down on Unemployment Rate

[ihc-hide-content ihc_mb_type=”show” ihc_mb_who=”0″ ihc_mb_template=”1″] December Chargeoffs were the lowest of all months in 2010- falling to 8.3%- while unemployment hit its second to lowest month of the year having dropped to 9.1%. Charge-offs are expected to continue improving- in conjunction with the unemployment rate- after having peaked in 2Q/10 at 10.4% and in January at…

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ScanSource Income Up $6mm Q/Q, $10mm Y/Y

ScanSource POS, communications, and electronic security products has posted 4Q/10-its fiscal second quarter- with net sales of $684 million and net income of $21.6 million, compared with the previous quarter figures of $635 million and $15.7 million, respectively. For the quarter, net sales increased 25% to the $684 million figure compared to $548 million for the year ago period. Operating income increased by 85% to $33.5 million from $18.1 million in the comparable prior year quarter while net income increased 83% to $21.6 million for the quarter ended December 31, 2010 versus $11.8 million for the quarter ended December 31, 2009.

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ID Data Now Vincento Payment Card Supplier

ID Data Cards has been reappointed Vincento Payment Solutions’ preferred card supplier on its “Kalixa” online eAccount and prepaid MasterCard for at least two more years. having first begun supporting the program in 2008, ID Data Cards will support the company’s expansion plans for the Chip & PIN “Kalixa Card” into at least five new European markets, providing a complete plastic card solution for all production and fulfilment requirements such as design, manufacturing, personalization and mailing. The “Kalixa” solution hit the UK in February 2009, followed by subsequent launches in Germany in November 2009 and most recently in Italy earlier this year.

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IPP of America Expands Network, Changes Name

IPP of America (IPP) retail payment services has acquired AmeraCash Solutions bill payment service provider with a network of over 600 locations throughout the Mid-Atlantic region to significantly expand its retail and biller network. Targeting cash-preferred consumers, the network offers domestic and international bill payment processing, pay by phone technology, international mobile phone top-ups, prepaid wireless and debit cards. Additionally, IPP is changing its name to Softgate Systems to more accurately reflect focus on its technology processing platform; “Retail Payments Exchange.” Finally, the Company is launching its “PayXchange” retail brand across it’s 18,000 retail locations throughout the U.S., over half of which provide bill payment, throughout 2011.

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Chase Appoints New CIO

Irene Tse is joining Chase as CIO for North America, bringing with her more than 17 years’ portfolio management experience. Prior to joining J.P. Morgan Chase, she was a managing director and portfolio manager at Duquesne Capital Management, focusing on global macro investing. During her three years at Duquesne, she worked closely with founder Stanley Druckenmiller, focusing on various rates, mortgage, credit, foreign exchange, equity, commodity and structured product offerings. Prior to joining Duquesne in 2008, she was a partner and co-head of U.S. rates at Goldman Sachs.

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MasterCard, Interswitch Launch Debit Card

MasterCard and Interswitch have forged a strategic co-brand debit card agreement in conjunction with Central Bank of Nigeria’s “Financial System Strategy 2020” to advance the efficiency of the country’s e-payment systems. By reducing the reliance on cash and promoting interoperability among financial institutions, the co-brand “Verve” chip and PIN debit card will provide users a wide acceptance network by the end of February with acceptance at over 12,000 POS, 400 online merchants and at 10,000 ATMs throughout Nigeria. Also, as a MasterCard branded-card, it will be accepted at 30.9 million acceptance locations across 210 markets worldwide.

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Ravensburger Implements Omikron Payment Factory

Ravensburger games and books is centralizing corporate workflows through Omikron’s “MultiCash Transfer” to meet its specific requirements to build a Payment Factory that can be used across the group and ensure payments could be authorized from separate locations. This consolidates its multibanking solution, designed for Straight-Through-Processing, has been integrated into Ravensburger’s IT landscape, and is SEPA compliant. The “MultiCash Transfer” option also incorporates bank-proprietary delivery channels, which allows access to banks not, or not yet complying with the latest standards.

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Western Union Extends Network Across Europe

Western Union has forged agreements with PayPoint payment services to extend its network reach into the United Kingdom and Romania. The deal will make Western Union Money Transfer available on PayPoint´s in-store terminals across the UK and will serve as a stepping stone for market expansion for additional services. Meanwhile, the “Money Transfer” service will be rolled out over time in Romania across the PayPoint network of convenience stores in urban and rural areas, where it will be provided via PayPoint´s point of sale terminals. The new service will offer additional convenience to consumers in both countries through customer-friendly opening hours and easier access. PayPoint delivers payments and services through a combination of local shops, internet and mobile distribution channels and handles over GBP10B annually from almost 570 million transactions annually.

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Chase Donates $25mm to Small Business

Chase announced $25 million in grants to Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) serving hard-to-reach communities, part of the Bank’s $100 million commitment to strengthen these institutions. CDFIs lend to low-income persons and businesses in struggling communities for community development purposes with grants from $2 million to $5 million for institutions across the country. Chase has taken additional steps to support small businesses, including lending 40% more in 2010, becoming the #1 Small Business Administration lender in the United States and encouraging economic development through innovative programs such as Chase’s “Loan for Hire,” which reduced the interest rate on a small business loan for every new employee the business hires. These grants will in most cases double the existing capital bases of the organizations and allow them to grow. Chase has partnered with top-tier CDFIs for more than 20 years, having provided more than $1 billion in loans, grants and investments to CDFIs and their affiliates, committing $100 million toward CDFIs just last year.

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NxSystems Launches Web-Based POS System

NxSystems Global Payment Solutions has launched its “NxPOS” web-based POS allowing merchants to issue, activate and manage prepaid debit cards. The “NxPOS” lets merchants deposit or remove funds in multiple government-issued currencies; check current balances; review transactional history; receive payment from prepaid debit cards; and manage reward card programs. Users can also instantly issue an open or closed loop prepaid debit card to their customers. Customers can check their prepaid debit card account balances online by logging into the “NxPay” Payment Platform or ask the merchant

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