China UnionPay & AmEx Ink MoU for Expansion

China UnionPay and American Express have signed a memorandum of understanding for the expansion of their current cooperative activities. This will establish working teams to develop potential new areas of cooperation between the two companies within China and in markets outside of China. This adds to the ongoing cooperation between China UnionPay and American Express over the past several years within China where American Express Cards run on the China UnionPay network. China UnionPay bankcard association in China is pivotal to the national bankcard industry, responsible for operating the unified inter-bank clearing and settlement system and developing the international acceptance network for UnionPay cards. To date, the total number of UnionPay cards issued worldwide has exceeded 2.3 billion.

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47% Seek Instant Loyalty Redemption

Among consumers, 47% cited instant redemption opportunities such as cash back at the register as incentive to choose certain loyalty programs over others. Also, 36% are attracted to generous cash back opportunities as an option that would be the deciding factor and only 7% disclosed airline miles as a deciding factor, most of whom are in higher income brackets. With this, according to Mintel Research, 61% say lower overall costs for merchandise they would have purchased anyway is an important attribute of a loyalty or rewards program as 25% disclosed getting merchandise or taking trips that they wouldn’t normally be able to are important. Twenty-four percent actively examine credit card offers in order to compare rewards programs, while 10% have switched to a different primary credit card in the past because of a better rewards program. Mintel also recently disclosed credit card marketing to U.S. consumers has more than doubled in the past year, having skyrocketed to 1.1 billion offers in 2Q/10 from just 419 million in 2Q/09 thanks to increasing competition in the credit card industry… and the subsequent need to appeal to consumers. Of the offers, 28% for new cards carried an annual fee, down from 33% a year ago, while 56% of mail offers promoted an introductory APR for both balance transfers and purchases, up from 37% a year ago.

CARD MAIL
2Q/08: 1.5 billion
3Q/08: 1.4 billion
4Q/08: 0.9 billion
1Q/09: 0.5 billion
2Q/09: 0.4 billion
3Q/09: 0.3 billion
4Q/09: 0.5 billion
1Q/10: 1.2 billion
2Q/10: 1.1 billion
SOURCE: Mintel

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Sunset Brands Deploys On-Demand mPayment

Sunset Brands has acquired Kaizen Communications mobile tech firm specializing in mobile payments, distribution of mobile content and mobile campaign management and integrated a partnership with Billing Tree payment processor. Billing Tree offers a suite of payment solutions ranging from web payments to check conversions, and is currently processing over 3.4 million transactions per month. This will power Kaizen’s “Kpay” m-payment and billing reminder software, which currently allows customers the ability to pay bills, send and receive funds, and execute point of sale transactions from any mobile phone.

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ControlCase Complies Ganart PCI DSS

ControlCase announced Ganart Technologies has achieved the PCI-DSS Certification for its Ganart Transaction Engine (Patent Pending) and supporting processing services and environment. We manufacture, implement, host and operate highly advanced, compliant, secure, proprietary solutions, powered by the Ganart Transaction Engine (patent pending) that support high volume information and financial transactions. Ganart’s me6464 was initially designed around supporting underserved banking customers by providing a wide variety of value exchange services, such as money transfer and bill pay, within an existing financial network. The Ganart solution has evolved to support the entire financial services pyramid, particularly un-banked and under-banked consumers. The ability to support transaction processing from the Cloud gives Ganart customers consistency, scalability and security for their financial services from end to end.

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Cybera Participates in PCI-SS Council

Cybera PCI compliance solutions has joined the PCI Security Standards Council as a new participating organization. With this, the Company will work with the Council to evolve the PCI DSS and other payment card data protection standards. Cybera will also have access to the latest payment card security standards from the Council, be able to provide feedback on the standards and become part of a growing community that now includes more than 600 organizations and is adding its voice to the process.

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TOPS Software Integrates Heartland RDC

TOPS Software property management software has integrated its technology with Heartland “Check Management” end-to-end check processing platform to provide RDC and check management solutions to its clients. Heartland Check Management of Heartland Payment Systems payments processors is powered by transmodus network-enabled remote deposit and check management automation. With the Heartland solution, a TOPS client simply scans a check from his location using a remote scanner, and the deposit is processed. The automated scanning process eliminates additional steps to enter data at multiple points, helping clients save time and streamline operations.

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Lake City Bank Implements FIS Core Banking

FIS banking and payments technology has signed an agreement with Lake City Bank for its “Integrated Banking Services” (IBS) core banking solution. With this, FIS will also deliver additional banking and payment solutions to the bank including bill payment, eBanking and debit card processing. Lake City Bank will also participate exclusively in the NYCE Payments Network for ATM and POS transactions. The “IBS” platform will give the bank the ability to quickly adapt to market conditions and integrate easily with related technology, delivering automated transaction integration and information delivery for operational efficiencies and eliminating many of the traditional manual processes. In addition to “IBS,” the bank will offer the FIS’ “Bill Pay” solution to allow users to receive, view, manage and pay all of their bills from a single Web site; “eBanking” with on-demand banking services; debit card processing; and access to the NYCE Payments ATM and POS debit network.

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Target 3Q/10 Card Segment Profit Up Over 100% Y/Y

Target reported that pre-tax profit for its credit card segment was up more than 100% for 3Q/10 to $130 million from $60 million a year ago thanks to bad debt expense falling 64% from $301 million from last year to $110 million this year. Receivables meanwhile decreased 16.3% to $6.9 billion in 2010 from $8.2 billion in 2009. Average receivables directly funded by Target increased to $2.8 billion for the quarter from year ago figure of $2.7 billion. Annualized segment pre-tax return on invested capital was 18.5 percent in the third quarter 2010, compared with 9.0 percent a year ago. Overall, target posted net earnings of $535 million for the quarter ended October 30, 2010, compared with $436 million in the quarter ended October 31, 2009 while earnings per share increased 28.5% to 74 cents from 58 cents in the same period a year ago. For complete details on Target’s latest performance, visit CardData (www.carddata.com).

TARGET CARD LOAN HISTORICAL
3Q/08: $8.7 billion
4Q/08: $8.8 billion
1Q/09: $8.5 billion
2Q/09: $8.3 billion
3Q/09: $8.2 billion
4Q/09: $8.1 billion
1Q/10: $7.5 billion
2Q/10: $7.2 billion
3Q/10: $6.9 billion
Source: CardData (www.carddata.com)

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First Tennessee Introduces Cash Rewards

First Tennessee Bank, a subsidiary of First Horizon National, announced the launch of First Tennessee Cash Rewards free rewards program that provides cash back when customers use their qualifying First Tennessee debit and credit cards at participating retailers online and in their neighborhoods. The kick-off date is Nov. 18. Qualifying First Tennessee debit and credit cards will be automatically enrolled in First Tennessee Cash Rewards. By using their cards at any of the nearly 500 participating local and national retailers in stores or online, First Tennessee debit and credit cardholders can earn between 1 percent and 10 percent cash back on every purchase.

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Verifone to Acquire Hypercom

Well the David-and-Goliath story we’ve been following closely has come to an end. But this time David
didn’t win. After weeks of back-and-forth, with its first bid having been rejected September 27, VeriFone Systems will acquire Hypercom electronic payment and digital transactions solutions provider. Under a definitive agreement, VeriFone will acquire Hypercom in an all-stock transaction valued at approximately $485 million, unanimously approved by the boards of directors of both companies, Hypercom shareholders will receive a fixed ratio of 0.23 shares of VeriFone common stock for each Hypercom share they own, valued at approximately $7.32 per share based on the closing price on November 16, 2010. Verifone immediately began drafting a second buyout offer after the first bid was rejected, which proposed to acquire all of the outstanding Hypercom shares for $5.25 per share in cash for a total of $290 million. Hypercom quickly responded with its rejection thanks to its projections of a prosperous 3Q/10 high above Wall Street predictions of $112 million in net revenues. Subsequently, shares in Hypercom exploded 44% to $6.10, immediately overvaluing the VeriFone proposal. The Board decided this proposal is only intended to disrupt Hypercom operations after having taken market share from VeriFone in several markets. The acquisition is anticipated to close in the second half of 2011(Cardflash Library 2010/10/04, 2010/09/30).

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Majority Pick Cyber Monday Over Black Friday

Black Friday’s just around the corner, but a new survey by CouponMountain.com suggests many Americans would rather click and save than fight the crowds at the malls. CouponMountain.com’s Online Holiday Shopping Survey found 69% of online shoppers disliking the crowds, their number one complaint of Black Friday. To shop in peace (and their pajamas if they want to) more than 129 Million American adults plan to shop online for at least some of their holiday gifts this year. The survey also discovered that while women are more coupon savvy than men, the vast majority (78%) of online shoppers will at least use a coupon code if they come across one.

The national survey of 1,000 Americans uncovered who the savvy Web shoppers are, why they like to surf sites instead of scour stores and what they’ll be buying online this season.

ESCAPE FROM BLACK FRIDAY — GO ONLINE
Consumers are growing tired of the frenzy surrounding Black Friday, such as the mobs of sale-crazed crowds, long lines to check out and gallons of gas wasted circling for a parking spot. More than half of all women (59%) and all men (54%) plan to do at least some of their holiday shopping online this year.

– Top 5 Black Friday frustrations: crowds (selected by 69% of all online shoppers), long lines to purchase
(58%), early arrivals for best deals (50%), stores selling out (48%) and lack of parking (37%).
-Online shoppers selected their top 5 reasons to shop online instead: can shop any time (selected by 67%
of respondents), can shop anywhere (40%), easier price comparisons (44%), better discounts (40%) and
better availability (40%).
– Nearly 40 Million Americans (17% of all consumers) plan to do most or all their holiday shopping online.
That percentage increases for higher income households: 25% of online shoppers earning $75,000-
$100,000 plan to do most or all their holiday shopping online and 22% for those earning more than
$100,000.

A SEASON FOR SAVINGS
Consumers plan to spend about $700 each this holiday season, according to the National Retail Federation (NRF). To make every dollar go further, savvy online shoppers use coupon codes. One-third of all online shoppers actively seek out coupon codes when shopping online.

-Women seek more savings: 37% are inclined to look for coupon codes online compared to26% of men.
– Parents are much more likely to seek and use online coupons than adults without children (44% vs. 30%).
– The Top 5 Most Wanted Savings:
o 45% Home/garden online coupons for stores like Pottery Barn and Lowes.
o 45% Sporting goods promo codes from stores like Dick’s Sporting Goods.
o 43% Jewelry/watch discounts for online stores like Piperlime.
o 43% Toys/board games coupon codes available for stores like Target and Kohl’s.
o 40% Clothing/accessories discount codes for stores like Victoria’s Secret and Aeropostale.

SOMETHING FOR EVERYONE
The NRF estimates 2010 holiday sales will total $447.1 Billion. Online retailers will see a sizeable portion of that, particularly in the most popular web shopping categories. Almost two out of three (64%) of all online shoppers will buy entertainment gifts online this season, 55% clothing/accessories, 47% electronics, 43% toys/board games and 28% jewelry/watches. However, different consumer groups are making very different lists and checking them twice.

-Women tend to buy more clothes online than men (62% vs. 48%), while men purchase more electronics
(54% vs. 40%) and sporting goods (24% vs. 14%).
-Younger adults (aged 18-34) tend to buy more jewelry or watches online than web shoppers aged 35-54
(35% vs. 25%). The same is true for electronics (55% vs. 49%) and sporting goods (23% vs. 18%).
– Dads buy far more sporting goods online than moms (34% vs. 18%), while moms get more of the toys
(69% vs. 51%) and entertainment items (70% vs. 63%) like books, movies and video games.

CouponMountain.com is the most trusted source for online coupons, promotional codes and deals from major consumer brands. CouponMountain.com has helped consumers save money for almost a decade. Check the site often for the latest holiday deals at www.couponmountain.com, and follow us on Twitter — @CouponMountain — and Facebook.

About the Online Holiday Shopping Survey
the polling company™, inc., on behalf of CouponMountain.com, conducted a national, opt-in online omnibus survey of 1,000 adults (age 18+). Fielded November 5-8, 2010, the survey included questions on online holiday shopping and coupon usage. The first question determined planned online shopping interest, which then screened out shoppers that won’t go online. The remaining sample size was 660 adults for four subsequent questions. The demographics of this audience closely match the nationwide population of adults (age 18+) with respect to gender, age, and region.

About CouponMountain.com
CouponMountain.com is the most trusted source for online coupons, promotional codes, and deals in a wide variety of categories, such as clothing, home and garden, electronics, and more. CouponMountain.com has been a leader in saving consumers money since 2001 and features exclusive online coupons from top brands such as Victoria’s Secret, HP, Ann Taylor Loft, and FTD. CouponMountain.com also regularly offers coupons and deals from a number of top retailers such as Target, Pottery Barn, Kohl’s and more. Based in Monrovia, CA, CouponMountain is part of ValueClick Brands, a wholly owned subsidiary of ValueClick (NASDAQ: VCLK).

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38% Expect Happy Holidays Despite Finances

Recent research is indicating we aren’t out of the woods regarding the economy, but this holiday season might offer the light at the end of the tunnel. With 72% having disclosed the economic distress is going to last a while or get worse, only 22% think things will get better soon while 6% think the recession is over. However, 38% expect a happy holiday season despite the fact that they and their loved ones are encountering difficult times; 21% expect the holidays not to be a happy time this year, 12% of which disclosing things are not going well for them and their families; 26% of male respondents reported a belief that recessionary times will be over soon, compared to only 18% of female respondents. This, according to a uSamp Inaugural Survey, also shows 54% intend to spend the same or more than last year for the holidays; 41% are likely to spend about the same as last year; 13% plan to spend more than they did last year; 37% plan to spend less; and 9% are unsure. According to the Cardflash Library, Americans across all income levels are planning to decrease their holiday spending, with 45% to spend less than last year while 47% plan to spend about the same and just 7% intend to spend more. With this, 42% of households making less than $50,000 annually plan to decrease holiday spending, compared to 40% of households earning $50,000 to $75,000 annually and 37% of households earning $75,000 to $150,000 annually. Also, 28% of those making $150,000 annually or more plan to decrease the amount they spend this holiday season; 48% will cut back on the cost of gifts they give this year; 19% plan to spend under $200 this year; 24% plan to spend $200 to $499; 21% plan to spend $500 to $999; while only 23% plan to spend more than $1000. This, according to a recent Citi nationwide survey, also indicates 10% plan to travel within a day’s drive but simply stay overnight with family; 8% plan to travel to another part of the country; and only 2% plan to travel internationally. This on the heels of CardWeb.com research concluding consumers plan to spend an average of 8% less on holiday products and gifts than they did during last year’s holiday season, 60% of whom citing concerns over the economy while 47% cited rising household expenses. Meanwhile, 41% plan to spend less on holiday-specific travel than the 11% of those who plan an increase with 30% travelling to friends or family outside their local area, and 10% planning holiday vacations and those who feel their personal finances are getting worse dropped to 47% from 49% in September and subsequently plan to cut out discretionary spending (CardFlash Library, 2010/9/04, 2010/11/10).

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