Transaction Wireless Deploys Global Solution for Virtual Gift Cards

Transaction Wireless (TW) mobile commerce, payment and marketing co has been selected as the business-to-business (B2B) virtual gift card solution provider for SpaFinder spa media and marketing company. This will allow SpaFinder to sell virtual gift cards in bulk quantities to its corporate clients worldwide, whom will be able to distribute the new electronic cards via email using TW’s “wGiftCard” technology. This agreement marks TW’s first international rollout of its virtual gift card solution, which will initially launch in North America and the U.K. and then be available in France, Italy, Spain and Germany in the coming months.

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Visa Spending at Olympics Hits US$9.8m on 6th Day

Spending by international visitors on Visa cards at the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games and in British Columbia reached $9.8million through just over
100,000 transactions on the sixth day of the Olympic Winter Games, February 17. Year-over-year, this was an increase of more than 91% and dwarfs the $6.9million
spent on day two, February 13. For the first six days of the Games, from February 12th to the 18th, international Visa cardholder spending in British Columbia
reached US$38.3 million, an increase of 65% since the year ago period, while the number of transactions totaled approximately 370,000, an increase of 42% over
since the year ago period. Accommodation, travel, entertainment and retail sales accounted for more
than 95% of the expenditures.

TOP 10 DAY#6 SPENDERS
TOP 10 DAY#6 SPENDERS
USA $5,700,00
China $625,000
UK $391,000
Japan $346,000
Aus $289,000
Korea $229,000
Rus $226,000
Hong Kong $221,000
NOR $173,000
GRM $159,000
SOURCE: Visa

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CashStar to Generate NGC eGift Cards

CashStar digital gifting and incentives company has partnered with National Gift Card Corporation (NGC) discounted gift card distributor to deliver digital gift cards to thousands of the latter’s corporate customers. Offering discounted retail gift cards for corporate, incentives, motivation, recognition and performance programs, NGC markets and distributes hundreds of nationally recognized retailer gift cards to its corporate clients. With this new partnership, NGC will utilize CashStar’s eCorporate Incentives platform, the industry’s first B2B digital gifting solution, to deliver digital gift cards to its customers. This allows NGC to deliver highly-personalized digital gift cards through an easy-to-use Web interface simply by importing recipients, entering personalized messages and selecting card designs and values.

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Online Resources and PeoplesBank Launch iPhone App

Online Resources, provider of online financial services, has launched a downloadable application for PeoplesBank customers to access mobile banking and payment services through the iPhone. The Massachusetts-based $1.5 billion asset bank is now one of fewer than 50 U.S. financial institutions that currently offer the iPhone application through the App Store or iTunes. An extension of Online Resources retail and business Internet banking and bill payment services, the new iPhone application allows users to view account balances, transaction history, schedule same day transfers, pay bills, and send and receive secure in-session messages. PeoplesBank customers simply register online for mobile access and download the iPhone application.

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Among Small Businesses, 70% See no Stimulus Effect

Most small business indicate the recent federal stimulus has been of no help, with 70% disclosing no impact whatsoever, 17% saying it has actually hurt their businesses and 10% reporting positive revenue thanks to the stimulus. Additionally, 66% are unlikely to hire new workers with the proposed $5,000 tax credit. This, according to the Discover Small Business Watch, which fell less than a point to 84.9 in February from 85.5 in January and is up 13 points over the 71.9 the year ago period, also showed 49% of owners have experienced cash flow issues in the past 90 days, down from 51% in January; The number of small business owners who think the economy is getting better is unchanged in February at 31%; and 44% see the economy getting worse, down from 46% in January. Additional findings show 25% of small business owners see conditions for their own businesses getting better in the next six months, down from 29 percent in January; 37 % see conditions getting worse, down from 43% in January; 34% expect things to stay the same, up from 23% in January; 21% of owners plan to increase business development spending on activities such as advertising, inventories and capital expenditures over the next six months, down from 25% in January; 34% plan to make no changes, while 43% will decrease spending, down from 45 % in January.

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FELICA IPHONE APP

Gemalto has launched the “UpTeq Device Service Link” which gives users the freedom to use their PC for on-the-go Internet access. Once the card is inserted in the mobile Internet device, it loads the operator’s visual identity and proposed services, and ensures security of its mobile applications in the PC world. With ‘Device Service Link’, users enjoy an instant mobile broadband experience from their computer; which, when renewing it, they can immediately retrieve their operator customized environment, their preferences, personal content and settings. The multimedia SIM card retains its original functions of authentication, portability and security for mobile applications in the PC world, while offering service continuity when users switch networks (from 3G to WiFi, for example) to provide an “always on”, seamless connection.

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Gremalto’s Protiva Solution Integrates with IBM SSO Solution

Digital security provider Gemalto’s Protiva smart card security solutions are now fully
integrated with IBM’s leading enterprise single sign-on solution. Protiva is certified for
use with IBM Tivoli Access Manager for e-business and IBM Tivoli Access
Manager for Enterprise Single Sign-On. A range of Gemalto strong authentication devices are now available and
certified under the IBM Ready for Tivoli program, including Personal
Identity Verification (PIV) cards for U.S. federal government agencies,
PIV-I for U.S. government contractors, and .NET smart cards and USB
devices for enterprises in the private sector. Smart cards or USB devices for two-factor authentication are
increasingly a customer requirement, such as in the government market as
a result of the HSPD 12 program, critical infrastructure programs
concerned with cyber security, and other industries facing increasing
privacy and security regulations such as healthcare and financial services.

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MBNA IRELAND

MBNA Ireland Credit Cards is offering all Halifax customers 0% APR for 10 months on balance transfers, for anyone
who will have to switch from their current Halifax credit card. Existing Halifax customers can benefit from
MBNA’s 0% APR on balance transfers, money transfers and credit card
cheques for 10 months with a highly competitive rate of 14.9% APR
(variable) thereafter and on card purchases. MBNA Europe, a wholly owned subsidiary of Bank of America Corporation
(NYSE: BAC), is the recognized leader in affinity marketing. MBNA credit
cards and related products and services are endorsed by more than 5,000
organisations worldwide.

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25% Willing to Work Weekends to Double Income

Among employed consumers, 25% would work every day of the year, 35% would work on holidays and 19% would agree to give up all of their vacation days to receive twice their monthly salary. Additional findings from a recent Capital One Direct Banking survey show 27% of respondents would keep any amount of money that they found on the ground outside their workplace and 15% have secretly withdrawn money from a joint savings account shared with a spouse or partner. In response, Capital One has disclosed more desirable ways to increase savings, such as automatically transferring money from your paycheck to your savings account every month (a practice in which 25% do not partake) and comparison shopping to find a savings account that works for you. In response, Capital One has introduced its “InterestPlus Online Savings,” which encourages customers to keep more money in the bank by rewarding an average monthly balance of at least $15,000 with an extra 10% quarterly bonus on interest earned. The account also offers no fees; free online transfers to and from existing external bank accounts and up to six withdrawals by online transfer per calendar month.

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PROTIVA E-ID

Gemalto has introduced the world’s first implementation of a transport application compliant with the DESFire specifications in a SIM or UICC card enabling commuters to use their mobile phones as e- tickets in MIFARE DESFire infrastructures. This innovation will enable commuters to use their NFC mobile phone as an e-ticket, as simply as any other contactless travelcard. A high level of security is ensured, as the tickets are stored in the SIM card and the application meets the stringent security requirements of the DESFire specifications.
NFC technology in transport dramatically enriches the commuter experience by adding the mobile phone’s keypad and screen to the travelcard and by connecting it to the online world. NFC-based services are part of Gemalto’s Trusted Services Management (TSM) dedicated offering of solutions and services. It enables transport operators to offer travelers the ability to purchase and recharge their transport tickets, with the convenience of the mobile phone.

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Credit CARD Provides Consumers Protection

Consumers will get relief from predatory credit card lending practices starting on February 22 when the Credit CARD Act of 2009 goes into effect. With this, card issuers will have to abide by a new set of rules that aim to rein in unfair interest rate hikes and fees, following big interest rate hikes in recent months. The Bill will limit interest rate hikes on the existing balance and can never go up on an existing balance unless it’s a variable rate card, a promotional rate has expired, or the cardholder is more than 60 days late on payment. The Credit CARD Act will also restrict how long penalty interest rates can last after late payments to six months if on time payments are made; credit card companies can’t move the due date to try to trick the cardholder into making a late payment; can’t charge an over-the-limit fee unless you have asked your credit card company to allow transactions that exceed your credit limit; and any amount paid above the minimum payment must be applied first to your balance with the highest interest rate.

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CARD DEBT

MoneySolve reports that with a growing debt problem and an ever increasing reliance on credit, experts are forecasting a substantial increase in those seeking credit card debt consolidation or restructuring or some sort. Personal insolvencies are already at their highest since records began and it is feared that our consumer society’s plastic habits could lead to even higher figures over the coming years. Recently released statistics from Credit Action include APACS figures indicate that as of 2008 there were more credit cards in the UK than people. Credit card debt continues to soar, with a collective personal credit card debt in the UK now sitting at Pounds Sterling 54.5 billion! This equates to Pounds Sterling 5,129 per person.

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