Ceridian CPI Index Up in 1.7% in July

The Ceridian-UCLA Pulse of Commerce Index (PCI) by UCLA Anderson School of Management climbed 1.7% in July after dropping 1.9% in June. Though the PCI fell significantly in June, it was not as bad as the headline number suggested because of a late Memorial Day and due to the second half of June being stronger than the first. This more positive interpretation of the June data has now been confirmed with a strong July PCI. Year-over-year growth for July of 8% represented the eighth straight month of mid to high single digit year-over-year percentage growth after approximately two years of decline. The sustained growth is welcome news; however, the PCI needs to reach year-over-year growth of 10 to 15 percent in the near term to drive a meaningful increase in employment. As a leading economic indicator, the PCI also offers insight on expected quarterly GDP results. Last month, the PCI forecasted second quarter GDP growth of 2.5 percent, essentially matching the subsequent release of the federal government’s initial GDP Q2 estimate of 2.4 percent.

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AmEx Launches Fashion Show Promo

American Express is giving its Cardmembers exclusive access to “Fashion’s Night Out: The Show” public fashion show in New York City on September 7. With a portion of the proceeds benefitting The New York City AIDS fund, the show will feature over 150 looks based on the season’s top trends and will precede the second-ever Fashion’s Night Out which is set to take place on September 10 in over 100 cities across the country. The event will boast designers, celebrities, models, and fashion editors and will once again stage exciting, one-of-a-kind events in stores open after-hours to the public, from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. Fashion’s Night Out is a global initiative created to celebrate fashion, restore consumer confidence, and boost the industry’s economy.

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SafetyPay Brings Intelligent Payment Solution to U.S.

SafetyPay secure payment is embarking on the U.S. market with its retail pilot program. Designed to allow U.S. merchants to tap the online banking customer base of a leading U.S. bank partner for a three-month trial period, the program allows users to process purchases in real time through their banks online banking platform. This will also provide merchants access to millions of local and international shoppers. SafetyPay was created to help financial institutions monetize their online banking platforms by providing a secure, direct payment method between a consumer’s bank and the retailer of choice. SafetyPay links the customer directly to their online banking account and has partnered with more than 22 prominent international banks such as Santander, ScotiaBank and BBVA/Bancomer, and more than 2,000 international retailers such as Nike and Sears.

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KeyNote Introduces Mobile Performance Index

Keynote Competitive has released its first smartphone “Mobile Financial Services Performance Index,” weekly performance ranking of the Websites of leading U.S. banks, brokerages and credit card companies when accessed by a variety of leading smartphones. The Index shows the average response times, success rates and download speeds for downloading the homepage of selected US financial services mobile sites on popular smartphones using Keynote’s commercially available mobile performance monitoring solution, Mobile Application Perspective. The financial services sites that appear in the index were selected to provide an industry benchmark for well-known company sites. The Mobile Financial Services Performance Index is the benchmark for financial companies to compare their mobile site performance against the biggest names in the industry. Measurements are taken from New York, Dallas, Chicago and San Francisco to measure single page downloads of the home page of the mobile Web site.

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eCommLink to Provide AllCom Payment Processing

AllCom integrating telecommunications, internet and commerce solutions has inked 5 year agreements with eCommLink prepaid debit processor to provide the prepaid transaction processing for the AllCom “GenieCard.” This is in conjunction with AllCom’s plans to increase the “GenieCard” distribution level and to expand its retail distribution network in both the U.S. and Canada. The “GenieCard” is a full-service, general-purpose reloadable Visa prepaid debit card that includes: numerous reload and transfer options; full ATM and POS access; robust email and SMS notifications; and bill payment services. The card can be purchased by AllCom’s subscribers online and will soon be distributed through independent retailers throughout North America. It is available as both a standalone product and as a value add to AllCom’s Universal Office communications platform.

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PayPal Seen as More Secure than Credit Cards for Online Shopping

Among the 78% of respondents who shop online, credit cards continue to be the dominant method of payment for online purchases, used by 70%. However, increasing numbers of consumers are using other payment methods as well: 39% use PayPal, just edging out debit cards, used by 37%, for second place. This, according Auriemma Consulting Group, shows credit cards are considered the most convenient way to pay for online purchases, PayPal was rated as the most secure. The average purchase amount for PayPal transactions was virtually unchanged from 2008, at just under $60. However, the number of PayPal transactions reported by consumers in the survey doubled, from 10.8 in 2008 to 21.2 in June 2010, raising the average annual spend by about $635. It’s not just for eBay anymore, Stahl noted.

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MoneyGram Expands to United Kingdom Post Office

MoneyGram International has signed a multi-year contract extension with the United Kingdom’s Post Office. The Post Office, which has been a MoneyGram agent since 1997, offers MoneyGram money transfer services in every one of its 12,000 branches throughout the UK. It has the largest retail network in Western Europe, and over 93 percent of the UK population lives within one mile of a Post Office. The partnership with the United Kingdom’s Post Office is MoneyGram’s longest-standing post office agent relationship. As part of its growth strategy, MoneyGram strategically aligns itself with post offices, providing consumers with convenient access to reliable and affordable money transfer services close to where they live and work. Other post office systems in MoneyGram’s network include Canada, Cape Verde, Cyprus, Guernsey, Isle of Man, Italy, Jamaica, Jersey, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Moldova, Poland, and Ukraine.

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BMO Forges Spend & Payment Alliance with IBM

BMO Spend & Payment Solutions has forged an alliance with IBM’s Managed Business Process unit to help joint clients control business travel and expense management costs, drive process and policy transformation, and improve compliance with corporate spend policies. The partnership benefits organizations with expense data from BMO and Diners Club corporate MasterCards. This reduces employee’s time and effort to submit expense reports and gives corporate travel managers improved visibility and control into travel and entertainment (T&E) spend. BMO Spend & Payment Solutions’ products are widely used by corporations, non-profit and government-sector organizations for commercial spending and payments visibility.

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RETALIX POS

Zen Nippon Shokuhin is set to deploy the Retalix POS software services, Loyalty solutions and Retalix HQ system at more than 1,000 of its locations. Following its successful pilot, Zen Nippon Shokuhin chose the Retalix software to enhance the customer experience and create a centralized and integrated retail IT infrastructure as it continued its growth in the Japanese market. Retalix Store Solution software is an open-architecture, multi-channel solution to differentiate, innovate and drive a superior customer experience. Deployed at leading retailers worldwide, the application contains advanced POS functionality and supports customer loyalty, self-checkout, fuel management, QSR and a wide variety of electronic payment services.

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M-Com Launches mBanking SaaS Platform

M-Com mbanking solutions has launched its “BankAnywhere” ‘Software as a Service’ (SaaS) version of its globally deployed mobile banking and payment platform. Labeled “BankAnywhere ASP Edition,” the SaaS in being deployed in conjunction with Fiserv financial services technology solutions and will thus be incorporated with “Mobile Money” from Fiserv. Over 150 credit unions have chosen to implement “Mobile Money,” 84 of which are already live. The “BankAnywhere ASP Edition” allows users to check balances and transaction history, transfer funds, view and pay bills and receive alerts.

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2009 Retail Cards in Circulation up Meager 1.1% Y/Y

The number of retail credit cards in circulation held steady in 2009, up 1.1%. Meanwhile, according to the Fitch’s “Retail Cards Index,” gross charge-offs registered another consecutive monthly drop-off in June by more than half a percentage point to 10.57%, a dip of 56 basis points from the month prior. The “Monthly Payment Rate Index” for retail cards for the same month rebounded after a one month dip, reporting an increase of 26 bps to 14.22% and a 10% improvement year over year. This rate is also an improvement to the 13.96% seen in the prior month. According to CardData, the total number of private label cards in circulation held steady for a slight increase to an estimated 444 million in 2009, compared to 440 million in 2008 and 510 million five years ago (CF Library 1/13/10; 4/28/10).

RETAIL CARDS-IN-FORCE(millions)
1999: 572
2000: 590
2001: 583
2002: 571
2003: 549
2004: 510
2005: 481
2006: 468
2007: 455
2008: 440
2009: 444
Source: CardData (www.carddata.com)

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