Holiday Shopping was Fun in 2010

For the 2010 holiday shopping season, 53% of shoppers planned to give a fairly equal mix of fun and practical gifts, while only 30% said that they gave mostly practical gifts. Indicating what MasterCard is calling a “return to fun,” 49% even bought a little something for themselves, 26% of whom splurged on personal electronics while 21% went for a little personal pampering. This, according to a recent MasterCard Worldwide Survey, also showed 34% of 18-24 year olds who planned to shop for the holiday season said they used social networks to get ideas about which gifts to buy; 25% said that they used social networks to get ideas about where to buy gifts; 37% used mobile phones to inform purchases; and 22% used their devices to find the best prices. Moreover, 25% planned to hold off purchasing gifts before Christmas so that they could take advantage of post-holiday sales, among which 43% shopped for themselves; 35% for their spouse/partner; and 34% for their children. As of December 19, 34% of male shoppers hadn’t started their holiday shopping yet compared to only 19% of women while 72% of males who planned to shop were not at all stressed about the fact that they hadn’t started shopping yet, compared to only 55% of women.

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Ukash Appoints New CEO

David Hunter has been appointed the CEO Ukash Global eMoney Network. The former eMoney head of ClickandBuy and Paysafecard, Hunter has a track record of leading prepaid ventures into profitable growth. Ukash empowers people worldwide to use cash electronically, irrespective of status, device or boundary, and is available at 420,000 retail locations. Globally, Ukash is active in more than 50 countries. It was established in 2001 under the holding company Smart Voucher and has since grown to more than 420,000 physical points of purchase, and is available in more than 50 countries around the world.

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SK C&C USA Awarded MasterCard Global Vendor

SK C&C USA mobile commerce solutions has met the MasterCard “Global Vendor Certification Program” (GVCP) standards and guidelines for its ‘Trusted Service Manager’ (TSM) solution. The MasterCard “GVCP” is a security compliance program for vendors that offer card production services to MasterCard issuers providing physical security of the vendors’ site, suppliers, and data preparation facilities as well as the logical security of their data environment. Offering secure and accurate provisioning of applications to a mobile device by means of a wireless connection, it is the first TSM in North America to receive the MasterCard GVCP certification.

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Moggle Launches Virtual Piggy Technology

Moggle security platform for children under the age of 18 officially unveiled its “Virtual Piggy” technology, allowing minors to conduct transactions with online merchants, games and social networks in a safe environment under parent supervision. With “Virtual Piggy,” parents can setup, monitor and control their children’s spending online. Parents can determine how much the child can spend in a single transaction, or over time, the merchants with which the child can transact, and setup approval rules and notification methods. It simply tracks all spending and gives parents alerts and reports on patterns for when and where funds are spent. The technology has been certified by the Chase Paymentech system and can process transactions from all major credit and debit card systems and is hosted on the Microsoft Azure platform.

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NICE Introduces Real-time PCI Solution

NICE Systems intent-based solutions that extract insight to impact business performance has improved its “SmartCenter” Interaction Recording, helping contact centers ensure compliance with PCI-DSS Council requirements. Non-compliant companies risk losing their ability to process credit card payments and being audited and/or fined. The updated requirement bans the audio recording and storage of sensitive cards validation codes and encourages contact centers to implement solutions that prevent the storage of this data. Subsequently, recorded interactions don’t contain the sensitive information, such as the 3 or 4-digit card verification number. NICE serves over 25,000 organizations in the enterprise and security sectors, representing a variety of sizes and industries in more than 150 countries.

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Consumers Lower Credit Card Debt 8% in 2010

Since January 2010, credit card debt amongst consumers decreased eight percent nationally to $7,404. Additionally, consumers in eight states paid down their credit card balances by more than the national average of eight percent since January 2010. Those in California, Colorado, Connecticut, Indiana, Oklahoma and Tennessee paid down credit card debt 9%; Nevada paid down 11%; and Wisconsin paid down 31%. The average consumer with an account decreased home mortgage loans 4% to $173,340, however, average credit scores are still down by one point from the beginning of the year to 668. This, according to CreditKarma.com, was mostly felt in Chicago, Houston and New York City, each with a two point decrease, credit scores in Los Angeles and San Francisco each were hit by an average credit score drop-off of 3 points, and the average consumer in Philadelphia felt a 4 point drop.

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Consumer Credit Drops for 27th Month Straight

[ihc-hide-content ihc_mb_type=”show” ihc_mb_who=”0″ ihc_mb_template=”1″] Consumer credit continued its decline as Americans cut another $1.5 billion off outstanding loan in November, bringing the year-to-date total reduction to $200 billion. Posting its 27th consecutive monthly decline, U.S. consumer revolving credit remained well below $900 billion in November but was down .7% since the year ago period. This…

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FICO Launches Risk-Based Pricing Guide

FICO has introduced its “ScoreInfo.org” educational website on the new Risk-Based Pricing Rule and other federally-mandated credit disclosure notices to help U.S. consumers understand their notices of credit approval or denial. The site also explains the composition and role played by FICO Scores which are used by 90% of U.S. lenders while over 10 billion are consulted annually. Amendments to the Fair Credit Reporting Act require lenders to send a Risk-Based Pricing disclosure notice whenever a lending decision, based on a consumer’s credit score or credit report, results in less favorable credit terms. U.S. lenders are expected to process more than one billion credit applications in 2011 for the subsequent delivery of approximately 500 million of these Risk-Based Pricing disclosure notices. The “ScoreInfo.org” gives consumers important information about their FICO Score and how it is used in lending decisions.

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Obopay Promotes Global CEO

Obopay mobile banking and payment provider has promoted President Deepak Chandnani to CEO to focus on the company’s growth in size and geographic scope. Appointed President in May of 2010 he doubled the company’s year-over-year revenue through growth in business across US, parts of Africa and India. While sustaining the focus of the Company in its home market, the United States, Deepak has spearheaded Obopay’s expansion into North and East Africa as well as positioned the Company for expansion into parts of Europe. Throughout his time as President, he has overseen Nokia, Union Bank of India, Yes Bank, Societe General, Essar, MasterCard, FIS Global and the STAR network partnerships. He was previously the CEO of Wire and Wireless in India and before that served as the Managing Director for NCR in India while his education includes an MBA from the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad (IIM- A).

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Wright Express Appoints International EVP

Gareth Gumbley has joined Wright Express as Executive VP, Wright Express International. He will be responsible for international operations and the execution of its global expansion strategy with the continued development and deployment of its payment processing platform for the global fuel card market. Also to identify key acquisitions and alliances for growth outside of North America, Gumbley comes to Wright Express most recently as CEO of the epay division and SVP and Officer of Euronet Worldwide. He also served as Managing Director of epay Australia, New Zealand and India, a Euronet Worldwide Company after having started his career at News Corporation where he lead multiple start-ups in the payments and telecommunications industries.

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GlobalCollect Appoints New CEO & CCO

Thomas Staudt has been appointed CEO of GlobalCollect. Staudt brings with him over 25 years’ experience in leading global companies to success through strategic repositioning, most recently as CEO of Ruesch International, CEO of MedE America, and COO of Card Establishment Services. With this, Koen Vanpraet has started as CCO, bringing with him extensive experience in Sales, Business Development, and Marketing, most recently as Global Sales & Marketing Director at Easynet Global Services, preceded by several executive positions at Hewlett-Packard and Xerox.

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Consumers More Savvy Than Ever

Research indicates 55% retail associates believe this past holiday season’s shoppers were better connected to consumer information than in-store associates.
This was thanks to the increasing availability of online shopping tools, mobile phone price comparison apps, access to coupons and social-networking. This, according to the latest Motorola Solutions annual holiday study, also shows 28% of store visits ended with an average of $132 unspent due to abandoned purchases driven by deal-habituated behavior, out-of-stocks, limited store associate assistance and long check-out processes. Meanwhile, 43% reported mobile smartphones improved their shopping experience; 87% of retailers believe shoppers can easily find a better deal so customer service is “more important than ever;” 85% agreed improving in-store communication between staff and managers would have a significant effect on customer satisfaction; 34% of retail managers cited frustration when alerted they need to replenish stock after getting complaints, instead of knowing ahead of time; and 55% of losses due to out-of-stocks could very likely be recovered with store associate interventions.

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