Phoenix to Provide CT Payment Payment Transaction Delivery

Phoenix Managed Networks has inked multi-year agreements with CT-Payment to provide mission critical financial transaction transport services to CT-Payment and its customers. With this, Phoenix Managed Networks will deliver INTERAC payment card POS transactions to CT-Payment data centers over Phoenix Managed Networks’ PCI-certified and encrypted network. Phoenix Managed Networks, formerly HBNet, operates its encrypted payment network throughout North America and Europe for transaction delivery services to financial institutions, payment acquirers, ISOs and merchants in the United States, Canada, Europe and the Caribbean. Phoenix will also provide CT Payments and its customers with value-added capabilities to assist in areas such as end-to-end encryption, risk management, card security and management information and reporting, for which Phoenix will continue to provide multi-protocol support for a wide array of POS terminals and advanced levels of network availability in the Canadian payments industry.

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FIS

FIS banking and payments technology has signed a 10-year agreement with Banco Bradesco through its card processing joint venture, Fidelity Processadora e Servicos S.A. (FPS), further strengthening its Brazil operations. With this, FIS FPS will process and support Banco Bradesco’s private label Visa and MasterCard portfolios through 2020. Brazil currently has an average annual estimated gross domestic product (GDP) growth of 5% over the next five years, which FPS is well-positioned to serve having grown the number of cards on file by 37% per year over the past five years. During this same time period, credit card outstandings in Brazil more than doubled and analysts predict this growth trend to continue as credit and debit card usage as a means of payment has steadily increased among members of the country’s less affluent consumers.

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FIS Payment Kicksoff Brazil Operations

FIS banking and payments technology has signed a 10-year agreement with Banco Bradesco through its card processing joint venture, Fidelity Processadora e Servicos S.A. (FPS), further strengthening its Brazil operations. With this, FIS FPS will process and support Banco Bradesco’s private label Visa and MasterCard portfolios through 2020. Brazil currently has an average annual estimated gross domestic product (GDP) growth of 5% over the next five years, which FPS is well-positioned to serve having grown the number of cards on file by 37% per year over the past five years. During this same time period, credit card outstandings in Brazil more than doubled and analysts predict this growth trend to continue as credit and debit card usage as a means of payment has steadily increased among members of the country’s less affluent consumers.

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SCA Endorses Security Tiger Team Recommendations

The Smart Card Alliance is endorsing the Electronic Health Record (EHR) privacy authentication recommendations made by the HIT Policy Committee Privacy and Security Tiger Team. The group proposed rules it deems as necessary to provide a suitable trust framework for information exchange between EHR systems. Specifically, the Alliance agrees with the team’s recommendation that all organizations involved in health data exchange involving personally identifiable health information should be required to use digital certificates. This on the heels of the close to the Organization’s 9th Annual Smart Cards in Government Conference in Washington, D.C. Friday of last week. Organized to share status updates and lessons learned for projects underway, main points touched on at the Conference include the emerging National Strategy for Trusted Identity in Cyberspace (NSTIC), putting Personal Identity Verification (PIV) credentials to work for physical and logical access and identity management in healthcare. Through education programs, market research, advocacy, industry relations and open forums, the Smart Card Alliance keeps its members connected to industry leaders and innovative thought (2010/11/29).

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uMonitor Adds Credit Union Sales VP

uMonitor financial solution services has added Greg Campbell vice president, credit union sales. He will be focused exclusively on the credit union market to assist with the ever-increasing demand to improve efficiencies and next generation online banking services for credit union members. Bringing with him more than 20 years of computer software industry and sales experience to uMonitor, Greg previously held senior positions at Unified Physical Security, Oracle, Fiberlink and Ikon Video/IDX Technology and has managed sales teams and helped companies grow revenues and sales organization from start-ups to successful large companies.

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SmartyPig Launches Cash Rewards Prepaid MasterCard

SmartyPig has kicked off the “SmartyPig Cash Rewards Prepaid MasterCard” with no monthly maintenance, customer service or reload fees. It also lets users earn up to 10% cash back at more than 9,000 select U.S. retailers. The “SmartyPig Cash Rewards Prepaid MasterCard” lets SmartyPig online savings account holders now have the option to load funds anytime through their online account onto a prepaid MasterCard that can be used anywhere Debit MasterCard is accepted. The SmartyPig Cash Rewards Prepaid MasterCard was developed in response to requests from SmartyPig savers wanting additional redemption options with added flexibility, as well as ways to make everyday spending more financially rewarding. The SmartyPig Cash Rewards Prepaid MasterCard provides both acceptance anywhere Debit MasterCard is accepted and cash-back savings on everyday purchases. SmartyPig online social banking helps customers save for specific savings goals while earning high interest as well as cash back savings on everyday purchases. Family and friends can also contribute to an account via social networks.

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Balance Transfer Fees, Intro Rates Fall

Average balance transfer fees fell slightly in November on 0% balance
transfer credit card offers, as did the average length of 0%
introductory rates. Namely, Citibank increased the length of their Citi
Platinum Select Card’s balance transfer offer from 18 months to 21
months while the 0% introductory rate on the Citi Diamond Preferred Card
was increased from 12 months to 21 months. Presently, 21 months is the
longest 0% introductory rate on the market. Discover also increased the
length of their “Discover More” Card’s balance transfer offer from 15
months to 18 months, making it the second longest 0% introductory APR
available. This, according to a recent SmartBalanceTransfers.com monthly
survey, shows the overall average length of 0% balance transfer credit
cards surveyed in November was 11.18 months, down from the October
average of 11.6 months. Average balance transfer fees charged by major
credit card companies dropped to 3.63% in November from an average of
3.65% in October. This drop is thanks to in part to Citi having
decreased transfer fees from 5% to 3% on both credit cards that come
with a 0% APR for 21 months on balance transfers.

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Acquirgy Launches Western Union Program

Acquirgy digital and traditional Acquisition Marketing has deployed its “Direct Response TV” test campaign to introduce and gain distribution of its Western Union “MoneyWise” Prepaid MasterCard. Based on initial positive results, the Western Union Direct Response TV program has been rolled out on a National basis. Acquirgy provided complete services including creative development, production, post-production, media planning and buying and state-of-the-art offline to online response reporting through their proprietary iFactz tracking system.

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First Data Releases its Black Friday Analysis

First Data has released its “SpendTrend” analysis for Black Friday 2010 compared to Black Friday 2009. Tracking same-store consumer spending via credit, signature debit, PIN debit and EBT cards at U.S. merchant locations, this year’s “SpendTrend” shows card spending growth returned to pre-recession levels. This despite a year-over-year same-store dollar volume growth of 12.3% and overall transaction growth of 10.1%. Consumers increased their overall average purchase size by 1.9% on Black Friday 2010; average tickets increased 1.1%; and retailers saw Black Friday 2010 dollar volume growth of 8.6%. General Merchandise Stores outperformed all other retail sub-categories with a dollar volume growth of 12.6%; Clothing sales posted dollar volume growth of 10.6%; Sporting Goods/Hobby/Book and Music Stores saw dollar volume growth improve to 12.2%; and Electronics/Appliances was down -6.7% compared to last year. Overall Black Friday dollar volume growth was 12.3%, with retailers marketing toward value-conscious consumers with low prices so they would purchase more individual items.

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Credit Card Delinquency Down 24.6% Y/Y

Going into the busiest retail shopping season of the year, the national credit card delinquency rate is down 0.83% in 3Q/10 by nearly 9.8% since 2Q/10 and down 24.6% since the year ago period. Thanks mostly to eight million consumers having stopped actively using bank-issued, the national average credit card borrower debt still edged upward for the first time in six quarters by 0.28% to $4,964 since the $4,951 clocked in 2Q/10, but down 11.54% from the year ago figure of $5,612. This is in conjunction with the TransUnion Credit Risk Index (CRI) having declined for the third consecutive quarter by 0.9% in 3Q/10 by 87 basis points to now stand at 126.79, from 127.66 and 1.9% lower than in the year ago period. This pushes down consumer risk to a risk level not witnessed in the U.S. since 1Q/09 thanks mostly to fewer borrowers delinquent on one or more accounts and lower outstanding debt. Not everything is coming up roses; although delinquencies improved for the ninth straight month, with late stage delinquency down 6 bps to 3.5% and early stage delinquency down by 1 bps to 4.61%, credit card chargeoffs are still above the vital 10% mark. The credit card charge off rate is still way down after having skyrocketed to 10.93% in March of 2010, with having soared past the 6% mark in December of 2008, the 8% mark that following spring, and finally the 10% mark in September of ’09. Charge-offs are expected to continue declining into 1H/11, thanks to credit card issuers having already written off balances from borrowers with weak credit over the past couple of years and tightening underwriting standards. Delinquency is down because of charge-offs in the higher risk segments of the population, more conservative spending in the low-risk segments, and significant efforts by consumers across the board to maintain the health of their credit card relationships as a financial cushion. These promising findings are coupled with a 6.5% compounded quarterly increase in demand for credit, showing consumer credit activity will be stronger in terms of quality and volume (CardFlash Library, 2010/11/29, 2010/11/1, 2010/11/08). For complete details on credit card charge-offs and the credit card delinquency rate visit Carddata.com (www.carddata.com).

COFS HISTORICAL
Jun/08: 5.3%
Sep/08: 5.5%
Dec/08: 6.0%
Mar/09: 8.7%
Jun/09: 9.5%
Sep/09: 10.1%
Dec/09: 10.6%
Mar/10: 10.93%
Jun/10: 10.28%
Sep/20: 10.19%
Source: CardData
(www.carddata.com)

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AmEx and Zynga Offer Members Added Rewards

American Express has partnered with Zynga to let customers use Membership Rewards points from American Express to pay for limited edition virtual goods, as well as physical and virtual game cards for Zynga’s games. American Express is the first financial services provider to offer reward redemptions for virtual games and lets Cardmembers enrolled in the Membership Rewards program use points to purchase Zynga game cards, as well as a variety of virtual goods. These include FarmVille manors and windmills, Café World fountains and stoves, and YoVille roadsters and robots. Typing “Zynga” in the keyword search on www.membershiprewards.com brings up all virtual goods for use in Zynga’s games. The specific redemption offers will start at 200 points.

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AIDS Foundation To Compete for AmEx $200K

The AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) has been selected as a candidate charity in the American Express “Members Project,” in partnership with TakePart. Supporters of AHF can now go online and vote weekly to help the organization be one of five charities in the current round of voting to share a total of $1,000,000 in funding from American Express. The funding will help AHF further its mission to provide cutting-edge medicine and advocacy regardless of a person’s ability to pay and will make a significant impact on the fight against HIV/AIDS in the U.S. and around the globe. The “Members Project” is a social action network to encourage everyone to take his or her step and help support worthy causes and charitable organizations.

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