Bank Sohar has signed up for Polaris Software Financial
Technology’s “Intellect GUB 10.0” Debt Management solution, allowing
control on receivables and to minimize delinquent accounts. The
“Intellect GUB” Debt Management Solution (Intellect Collect) is a
comprehensive debt collections system that enables Banks to design
strategies to collect outstandings from their customers and effectively
control the rising tide of delinquencies. Intellect Collect is a single
platform that facilitates customer based collections across multiple
products, and has been implemented in four leading banks in the Middle
East region. Polaris will follow Accelerated Implementation Methodology
(AIM) to enable the business ‘go live’ in 8 weeks.


2009 Holiday Retail Sales Still Running 1% Lower

Based on data thus far it looks like overall retail sales will be down about 1% for the holiday season. However, e-commerce holiday sales are up about 4% and debit card usage is up 10%. Americans are projected to use general purpose credit/debit cards and store credit cards to charge about $126 billion in retail purchases this holiday season, compared to $136 billion last year and $148 billion in 2007. The figures exclude travel, everyday and business expenses. The National Retail Federation forecasts that sales will decline to $437.6 billion for 2009, compared to $447.5 billion last year. According to comScore e-sales peaked on Tuesday, December 15th instead of “Cyber Monday” December 14th. Total e-sales of $913 million set an individual day spending record, the first such day to surpass the $900 million threshold. According to the Chase Paymentech “Cyber Holiday Pulse Index,” which tracks top retailers only, peak sales of $339.5 million hit on Wednesday, December 16th.

Holiday Card Volume
(four weeks ending 12/25)
2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 Y/Y Gain
Credit: $ 77.1 b 85.6 92.2 77.1 63.5 -13.6%
Debit: $ 28.2 b 35.3 41.0 45.6 50.2 +10.0%
Store: $ 14.7 b 13.9 15.1 13.0 11.8 – 9.2%
TOTAL $120.0 b 134.8 148.3 135.7 125.5 – 7.5%
Source: CardData (

Details Names Ten Best New Cards of 2009

With new credit card rules in place the top issuers launched more consumer and business friendly products in 2009. Among the best new card products of the year is a truly “green” card and a debit card with discounts for teens. has compiled a list of the ten best new cards of 2009. And the winners are: 1. Gconomy Visa; 2. Chase Ink; 3. BofA Basic Visa; 4. Citi Forward; 5. Chase Sapphire; 6. AmEx Gold Premier Rewards; 7. Discover Current; 8. U.S. FlexPerks Visa; 9. Priceline Visa; and 10.BBVA Compass ClearPoints. The “Gconomy Visa” offers points for each purchase, donates a portion of every purchase to a “green” schools program, and rewards households for recycling. The Chase “Ink” card is a new business card portfolio that includes four distinct cards and marks the issuer’s first introduction of a pay-in-full charge card. The “BankAmericard Basic Visa” has simplified rates and terms offering the same APR for purchases, balance transfers and cash advances. The “Citi Forward” credit card lowers the purchase interest rate by a quarter percent when cardholders use credit wisely and rewards them with points has emerged each billing period for paying on time and staying under the credit line has emerged. The Chase “Sapphire” is targeted at the upper 15% of U.S. households in income and offers no preset limit, offers personalized customer service and is linked Chase’s “Ultimate Rewards” program. The American Express “Premier Rewards Gold Card” offers the opportunity to earn triple “Membership Rewards” points on airfare purchases, double points on gas and grocery purchases, and one point for all other purchases. The Discover “Current” card isa debit card for teens that offers members-only in-store coupons and online discounts at hundreds of merchants. U.S. Bank “FlexPerks Travel Rewards” earns double points for spending on gas, groceries or airline purchases – whichever is highest for the customer during the month as well as double points on most cell phone related charges. Barclays launched the “ Visa” enables cardholders to use their points as soon as they post to the account (typically within two days). Sunbelt-based BBVA Compass introduced the “BBVA Compass ClearPoints” credit card that features clear, simple and transparent terms and conditions, as well as pricing terms that will never change.
For more details visit


Power Moms Prefer Cash and Debit

Online bargain shopping network CheapToday has released the results of
a survey that indicate “Power Moms” prefer cash and debit this holiday
season.CheapToday regularly surveys its Power Mom subscribers to monitor their
buying behavior, attitudes and trends. When asked, “By which payment
method will you have purchased the majority of your holiday gifts this
year?” 134 CheapToday Power Moms responded and the results were as follows:
43% reported using Visa for their holiday purchases, preferring the
debit payment option over the credit payment option, with 32% reported using cash or check
payment for their holiday purchases; 14% reported using MasterCard for their holiday purchases, preferring
the debit payment option over the credit payment option; 3% reported using retail store credit cards such as those provided by
Walmart; 2% reported using their American Express Card and 6% reported using other options such as gift cards and the Discover Card



Excluding Europe, consumers around the world lose track of about $24 in cash spending each week. The new survey reveals that Australians reported the largest cash disappearance, both in terms of actual amount lost ($59) and also percentage of total spend (34%). Conversely, adults in India reported only $8 missing weekly, which is actually 31% of their total weekly cash spend. The survey commissioned by Visa is aimed at bolstering debit card usage globally. Consumers around the world report they are unable to account for 20% of their cash spending. Compared to 12 months ago, the cash-oriented countries of Russia (38%) and India (74%) believe they are losing track of more cash at a significantly higher rate than U.S. consumers do (13%). Consumers in Korea (74%) and South Africa (71%) either “strongly agree” or “agree” that use of debit cards keeps “mystery spending” to a minimum. Shopping for food or other groceries (43%), leisure shopping and/or shopping for nonessentials (33%) and out for the night or socializing (32%) were the top spending categories around the world where consumers feel they lose track of spending.



Those who live off the interest of their accumulated wealth to subsidize
their pension may actually be poorer in real terms by keeping money in
certain accounts. This is due in part to the worsening interests rates
offered by the banks, creating an environment in which taxpayers are
better off investing their money into gold bullion than they are with
savings accounts, and to the Consumer Prices Index rising beyond
economists’ expectations from 1.5% to 1.9% in one month. With the
Consumer Prices Index rising, according to, basic rate
taxpayers need their banks to provide a minimum savings rate of 2.375%
before seeing any real return on their investments while higher rate tax
payers need a sizeable 3.166%. In reality, currently only 9 out of 744
variable rate savings accounts available in the UK actually offer an
interest rate higher than this.


GE Money to Power the EcoQuest Card

GE Money has signed a multi-year agreement to offer a credit card to DBG for the “EcoQuest” line of air and water purification
products. The private label financing program provides attractive
financing programs and special credit promotions that simplify payment
options on initial and
on-going purchases. Key benefits of the program include, 24-hour online
access, promotional financing and low minimum monthly payments. In
addition, the credit card can be used for purchases wherever GE Money’s
Home Design program is accepted. EcoQuest air and water purification
products are sold through a network of independent business owners who are
committed to providing affordable products and services that enhance the
wellness and comfort of its customers and their families.



FNDS3000 financial transaction processing services company has completed
the “Market Test Phase” and has commenced deployment of its card
processing operations in South Africa. The test ensures stability,
confirming and validating the processes and systems required to handle
the higher volume of prepaid card processing. The Market Test was
conducted by continuing the distribution of cards to corporate clients
while simultaneously stress-testing the processes and systems, by
increasing the number of transactions handled and continuing to meet
service expectations. FNDS3000 surpassed the 50,000 card threshold in
early November and enter this next phase with approximately 70,000 cards
distributed to corporate clients, consisting of 37 contracted customers
with 11 more customers under active negotiation.


Sheshunoff Offers New Reg E Service

TX-based Sheshunoff Consulting + Solutions has introduced a new consulting service to assist financial institutions in
designing a comprehensive approach to the new Regulation E. The key offerings include: communication approaches that target customers most
affected by the new regulation, system considerations and impacts and identification of process gaps. SCS consultants enable institutions to implement the new requirements and integrate them
into the institution’s current and future overdraft program with the “Reg E Customer Communication Toolkit” that includes
sample letters, scripting, customer brochures, timelines and checklists to start identifying and contacting relevant customers.
The final ruling of “Reg E” requires institutions to have customers opt-in to overdraft services before charges can be
assessed on ATM and one-time debit card transactions. Institutions can continue assessing fees on existing accounts until
August 15, 2010. Accounts that are opened as of July 1, 2010 require a
customer’s consent before fees can be charged.


Debit and Charge Cards to Drive 2010 GDV Growth

Driven by debit cards and charge cards, gross dollar volume is expected to grow 3.9% during 2010, but remain slightly below the record volume set in 2008. Despite the “CARD Act,” credit cards will likely remain out-of-favor with consumers next year while new overdraft rules will likely drive more debit card usage. Charge cards have been gaining traction this year and this trend will likely continue in 2010 as consumers remain debt and rate sensitive. According to, gross dollar volume for 2009 in the U.S. should post at $3.447 trillion, compared to $3.582 trillion for 2008. Based on current trends in the payment card market and the general direction of the economy, 2010 should produce gross dollar volume of $3.580 trillion. For the third quarter, total charge volume (purchases and cash advances), for credit and debit cards in the U.S. is down year-on-year by 5.3%, compared to 6.9% in the prior quarter. Gross dollar volume for Visa, MasterCard, Discover and American Express logged in at $869 billion for the third quarter, compared to $858 billion in the second quarter and $918 billion in 3Q/08. (Visa will report third quarter performance data February 3rd, but it is estimated the network’s 3Q/09 GDV is about $514 billion). expects fourth quarter GDV to be $912 billion, up 3.9% over the fourth quarter of last year. The fourth quarter of 2008 was the beginning of the “Credit Crunch” wherein GDV fell below the third quarter for the first time in the industry’s history. This aberration will likely produce the industry’s first Y/Y gain in GDV since then. For more details on the performance of the payment card networks visit CardData (

Gross Dollar Volume Forecast
1Q/08: $864 billion
2Q/08: $922 billion
3Q/08: $918 billion
4Q/08: $878 billion
1Q/09: $808 billion
2Q/09: $858 billion
3Q/09: $869 billion
4Q/09: $912 billion
1Q/10: $838 billion
2Q/10: $896 billion
3Q/10: $901 billion
4Q/10: $945 billion
Source: CardData (


CAPITAL Card Deploys KXEN Data Mining

SD-based portfolio management and card outsourcer CAPITAL Card Services
has successfully adopted KXEN’s advanced data mining automation solution.
Before deploying the KXEN solution, CAPITAL relied on a previous
generation alternative, but found it too time consuming in use. CAPITAL
is a leading servicer of MasterCard and Visa accounts for
financial and non-financial institutions, nationwide. CAPITAL provides
turnkey account acquisition services, underwriting strategies,
marketing, customer service, collections, and portfolio management
services for its clients. KXEN delivers next-generation
Customer Lifecycle Analytics to enterprises that depend on analytics as
a competitive advantage. KXEN’s Data Mining Automation Solution drives
significant improvements in customer acquisition, retention, cross-sell
and risk applications. The solution integrates predictive analytics into
strategic business processes, allowing our customers to drive greater
value into their business.



The PCI Security Standards Council (PCI SSC) open industry standards
body providing management of the Payment Card Industry Data Security
Standard (PCI DSS), PIN Transaction Security (PTS) Security Requirements
and the Payment Application Data Security Standard (PA-DSS), has
launched its new PCI SSC micro site to provide resources to secure
payment card data in eight languages. Available at, the site is now posted in French,
French (Canadian), German, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese, Spanish, and
Traditional Chinese. This coincides with a significant increase in
international participation, including a 26% increase in Participating
Organizations based outside of the United States; an 8% increase in
attendance in the European Community Meeting; new PCI SSC Standards
Training sessions conducted in Australia, Czech Republic, United Kingdom
and Canada; and media interviews and speaking engagements in 14 countries.