Small Businesses Projections Better for 71%

Being the most gleaming reflection on how well the economy is doing,
small business owners are feeling optimistic. In fact, 71% have
disclosed “much better” or “somewhat better than expected” performance
when compared to their initial 2010 projections. Only 4% of business
owners answered “worse than expected” and only 21% had been turned down
for a bank loan or credit line in the past year. This is in conjunction
with 38% having disclosed credit card companies had “unjustifiably”
either lowered their card’s credit limit or closed the account
completely. This, according to the first semi-annual survey of national
business owners by Prepaid Expense Card Solutions, also showed when they
were asked to rate on a 1-10 scale how hard it has been over the past
year to maintain adequate cash flow for their businesses, 48% of owners
ranked between 6-10 while a mere 27% placed this in the 1-4 scale.
Additional findings show 65% are most concerned with maintaining a
“sufficient cash flow”; 31% are most concerned with “taxes”; 29% are
most concerned with “volatile sales”; and 25% worry about their “debt.”
This is consistent with the Discover “Small Business Watch” monthly
index having risen to 87.2 in November, up 3 points from 84.2 in October
for a third consecutive monthly gain, up more than 10 points since the
year ago period. The Discover “Small Business Watch” also shows 25% of
small business owners reported they will increase spending on business
development in the next six months, up from 22% in October; 40% will
decrease business development spending in the next six months, down from
46% in October; and 28% don’t plan any changes. Also, 33% believe the
economy is getting better, up from 31% in October and the highest since
May; while 46% believe the economy is getting worse, down from 48% in
October; 17% believe it’s staying the same, equal to last month; and 4%
are not sure. Meanwhile, 24% of small business owners extend credit to
their customers and over the past three months 66% reported customers
delayed payment, down from 73% in 2009 (CardFlash Library, (2010/11/29).

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Charity Gift Cards Now on Facebook

CharityChoice Gift Cards introduced a new method for giving charity gifts to friends on Facebook. You can now create a personalized charitable “GivingBuddy” ecard that can be shared with Facebook friends on their Wall, showing a message and ecard graphic. CharityChoice provides a redemption URL for the card, to be attached as a link when sharing with your friend. This non-invasive system enables users to post charitable ecards on Facebook, Twitter and other social networks. The “GivingBuddy” card allows the giver to pre-select a charity to receive a portion of their donation, leaving their Buddy with the opportunity to pick another two causes. You can now select from over 500 major national and local charities. Causes include those for children, environment, health, military, animals, disaster relief and more. The gift-giver can choose cheerful holiday, environmental green, birthday or all-occasion card designs, specify an amount starting from $2, and add a greeting and message.

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USANA to Sponsor Visa Women’s Ski Jumping

USANA Health Sciences will be the official health supplements supplier of the Visa Women’s Ski Jumping Team. The team continues to compete on the Continental Cup circuit and has been fighting for inclusion in the Olympic Winter Games. Ski jumping is the only discipline in the Olympic Games that does not allow women to participate. In addition to sponsoring the Visa Women’s Ski Jumping Team, USANA demonstrates its commitment to sports by sponsoring teams and organizations such as the Women’s Tennis Association, US Speedskating, USA Luge and many others.

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GROUND LABS

Ground Labs payment card security has introduced its EBCDIC support to make its security and auditing software solutions for PCI compliance compatible with many enterprise legacy systems. Ground Labs provides development of security and auditing software solutions across the payment card industry. Its “Card Recon” and “Enterprise Recon” identify and analyze data storage risks on thousands of computer systems worldwide, helping companies prevent security breaches that result in the theft of customers’ credit and debit card numbers.

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19% of Small Businesses See Revenue Increase Y/Y

The Discover “Small Business Watch” monthly index rose to 87.2 in November, up 3 points from 84.2 in October for a third consecutive monthly gain, up more than 10 points since the year ago period. Additional index findings show 25% of small business owners reported they will increase spending on business development in the next six months, up from 22% in October; 40% will decrease business development spending in the next six months, down from 46% in October; and 28% don’t plan any changes. Also, 33% believe the economy is getting better, up from 31% in October and the highest since May; while 46% believe the economy is getting worse, down from 48% in October; 17% believe it’s staying the same, equal to last month; and 4% are not sure. Meanwhile, 24% of small business owners extend credit to their customers and over the past three months 66% reported customers delayed payment, down from 73% in 2009.

SMB HISTORIC
JAN: 85.2
FEB: 85.0
MAR: 78.2
APR: 85.1
MAY: 87.4
JUN: 86.1
JUL: 83.0
AUG: 73.0
SEP: 73.8
OCT: 84.2
NOV: 87.2
SOURCE: CardData.com

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Employees Gift Cards Huge for Christmas

This year, 60% of companies intend to spend about the same on corporate gifts for both employees and prospects or clients while 31% plan to spend less and only 12% plan to spend more. Food or beverages are the most commonly cited client or prospect gift for 33%, followed by calendars (25%), gift cards (25%), writing instruments (25%) and desk accessories (24%). Gift cards are the most commonly cited gift for employees (40%), followed by cash bonuses (32%), apparel (24%), food or beverages (24%) and calendars (18%). This, according to a survey conducted by Successful Promotions magazine, also shows 54% plan on decorating the gifts with their logo.

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Blackhawk Network Gets PTPA Approval

Blackhawk Network prepaid and financial payments products for consumers and businesses announced its Gift Card Mall has been awarded the PTPA Winner’s Seal of Approval. Gift Card Mall was among many entries from across North America competing to earn the PTPA™ Seal. Because independent parent volunteers evaluate these products in their own homes, PTPA winners are chosen based on merit and consumer experience — not on commercial considerations. As a result, the PTPA Media™ Seal has quickly gained recognition as an international leader in certifying consumer products for quality, effectiveness and value. Gift Card Mall reaches more than 165 million consumers each week and features a variety of gift cards across a number of categories including sports, entertainment, restaurants and fashion.

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DBS

Some 1, 000 DBS customers with StarHub mobile plans will be the first in Singapore to use the NFC Mobile Payment Solution trial service for everyday mobile payments, which is set to commence in December 2010 and will last for eight months. Organized by DBS Bank, EZ-Link, Gemalto, MasterCard and StarHub, the trial will add an “N-Flex” solution enabling to turn conventional handsets into NFC-enabled mobile phone without any change to the device. The “N-Flex” solution functions on SIM cards across multiple mobile handsets hence helping to accelerate the ubiquity of handsets supporting NFC. The solution is also the first-of-its-kind conforming to the Single Wire Protocol (SWP) as endorsed by the GSM Association (GSMA). The trial will involve a group of participants who will receive an electronic mailer from either StarHub or DBS Bank that contains instructions on how to register their participation online.

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AmEx Ad Hit & Miss, Younger Women Like

The new American Express television commercial with Conan O’Brien has been found to resonate most strongly with women ages 21-35. Women age 50 and over gave the ad its lowest scores, based on research from Ace Metrix lifecycle management. The ad first aired on November 8, plays off O’Brien’s penchant for detail featuring the comedian in India selecting the perfect curtain fabric for his new show. It registered an overall Ace Score of 467 which is on par with the average for all financial service ads, but well below the average of 536 for all ads in the Ace Metrix database of nearly 8,000 national ads. These comments from consumers illustrate the difference in scores between younger and older female viewers: a 21-35 female said, “It is a good commercial, even if I’d say it has nothing to do with Amex” while a 50+ year old female said, “I have no idea what the connection is between the ‘return’ of Conan O’Brien and American Express!”.

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CLICKLOYALTY

Wipro Technologies has made avilable its ‘Wipro ClickLoyalty’ customer loyalty management solution on Salesforce.com’s AppExchange 2. The enterprise cloud computing platform, “ClickLoyalty” is readily available for test drive and deployment on AppExchange 2 at Salesforce.com. This solution is suited for multiple industry processes and covers features like multilevel rewards and behavioral promotions along with superior loyalty analytics. Wipro will be attending ‘Dreamforce 2010’, the cloud computing event of the year, at Moscone Convention Center in San Francisco from December 6 to December 9, 2010. Be sure to stop by booth no 507 for a demo and more information.

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eBillme Wins Contract to Sell Top 10 Retailer Gift Cards

eBillme online payment using online banking and walk-in locations has won contracts with new retailers on its growing list of gift cards now being sold with eBillme. All gift cards processed by eBillme can be paid for with cash, allowing retailers to attract the growing number of shoppers who prefer cash over credit. The latest retailers now selling gift cards with eBillme include Bass Pro Shops; Cabela’s; Champs Sports; Circuit City; Dell; Endless.com; Foot Locker; JCPenney; Omaha Steaks; The Home Depot; and Tiger Direct. This comes right in time for the holidays, during which 69% plan to purchase at least one gift card for the holidays this year. The eBillme Gift cards can be purchased in denominations of $5-$5,000 from eBillme directly without releasing any financial information.

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