ACS Launches Benefit Program, Saves $20MM/Y

Affiliated Computer Services has launched a electronic benefit transfer program for California that has a planned cost avoidance of more than $20 million dollars annually The state’s EBT program, one of the largest in the nation, allows 1.3 million Californians to receive benefits from a number of public assistance programs on the “Golden State Advantage” card. The card can be used at more than 21,000 retailer locations or 50,000 ATMs, increasing convenience and security for recipients while reducing costs for the state. ACS recently implemented the program for the state as part of a seven-year contract, which includes three optional one-year extensions.
Benefits included in the program are food assistance, both the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and the California Food Assistance Program, and cash benefit programs such as California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids (CalWORKs), Refugee Cash Assistance, General Assistance/General Relief, and Cash Assistance Program for Immigrants. ACS services under the contract include transaction processing, data center services, training of state and county staff, reconciliation and settlement, and reporting. ACS also supports Californians by providing an automated call center response unit, as well as live customer service support.

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mPayy Offers an Android App

Alternative payment provider mPayy has released a free Android app to
make P2P payments.
All mPayy Personal and Business accounts may use the Android application
to make and receive person-to-person payments, track activity, and
withdraw funds from their mPayy accounts to linked bank accounts. Small
business account holders are also able to issue refunds for any sale
through the application, even if it occurred on their website.
Once members open Small Business accounts, they will be able to generate
their own API key to unlock mPayy’s payment services, and add secure
debit payments to their online or mobile websites and applications. API
keys may be used to authorize one-time or recurring billing subscription
payments. Merchants can receive mPayy members’ shipping information to
fulfill orders conducted through its online & mobile payments service.
mPayy members without bank accounts can receive funds into free, no fee,
Stored Value accounts. These funds can be easily budgeted and used to
make purchases at e-commerce merchants where mPayy is accepted, or
transferred for free to account holders that have bank accounts where
the funds can be withdrawn quickly for free.

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EMALL

Chinova Information Technology e-commerce and payment JV has been
appointed partner for the development and operation of UnionPay’s online
shopping mall for high quality domestic and overseas products and
services. Formed by China-based LeiXune commerce and technology and the
Sweden-based Paynova Payment Service Provider to take a leading role in
B2C and cross-border e-commerce markets to and from China, Chinova has
signed partnership agreements with ChinaPay for development, operation
and joint marketing of the China UnionPay “eMall” domestically and
overseas. The new solution will offer merchants a prime channel for
selling their products and services and to online shoppers a place with
attractive, high-quality goods and customer support.

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CashEdge Inks Two Banks for POPmoney

CashEdge “Intelligent Money Movement” services has made available its
“POPmoney” email and mobile person-to-person (P2P) payments service
through two U.S. banks. Five additional financial institutions have
signed on to launch the service in early 2010. “POPmoney” email and
mobile payments service allows bank customers to send an electronic
payment directly from their online or mobile banking service, using the
recipient’s email address, mobile phone number or bank account
information. Customers of participating banks can access POPmoney
through their bank’s online banking or at POPmoney.com.

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Robocalls are Not Universally Rejected

Despite negative perceptions of robocalls, 96% find an automated phone
call or message to confirm their doctor’s appointment, notify them about
a package ready for pick up or to pay a credit card bill beneficial,
compared to only 10% when regarding a generic message about a political
campaign or mortgage refinance offer. Sixty-three percent of digital
natives, those between 18 and 34 years old, consider reminders to pay
credit card bills to be at least somewhat beneficial, compared to only
25% of those over 55, 76% of whom are very or extremely likely to hang
up on a caller they don’t know, compared to only 53% of former.
Additional findings, according to a study conducted by Harris
Interactive and sponsored by the Varolii Corporation, shows 21% of 18 to
34-year-olds would find auto political calls beneficial vs. 8% of those
over 55 and 11% of 35 to 44-year-olds. Additional research by Forester,
however, shows nearly 35% of online adults are inundated by more than 50
messages on any given day and more than 75% would hang up on a caller if
they considered the information not relevant or important to them–83%
of those over 55.

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Nearly 30% of Consumers Opt for Cash Over Credit

With 32% of American concerned economic conditions will continue to
deteriorate, a 4% gain over last month’s figure, many are hoping to
modify their financial habits accordingly. Thanks in part to rising
unemployment, the bleaker outlook is having a positive impact on
spending plans with 40% expressing their goals on cutting back on
excessive spending. These findings, according to the November survey of
the First Command Financial “Behaviors Index,” also show 35% are hoping
to get out of debt; 29% will use cash or debit more instead of using a
credit card; 25% are learning to not live beyond their means; and 67%
plan to use only cash for holiday shopping while 49% intend to use credit.

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TRAVEL SPEND

Throughout one of the busiest travel times of the year, data show
airlines have raised average international airfares 2%
quarter-over-quarter, as they did for average domestic airfares.
Meanwhile, average international booked hotel rates decreased 10%
year-over-year, average domestic booked hotel rates decreased 2%
year-over-year, but increased 7% in budget-tier hotels
quarter-over-quarter and car rental rates increased 5% in Q3 2009,
remaining flat year-over-year. This is according to American Express
“Business Travel” third quarter data and analysis from its Business
Travel Monitor (BTM) North America monthly pricing index, published by
eXpert insights.

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Heartland and AmEx Settle Breach Lawsuit

Heartland Payment Systems has agreed to pay American Express $3.6
million related to the 2008 criminal data breach. Under
the agreement,the payment will resolve all intrusion-related issues
between the two parties. Heartland Payment Systems, the 5th largest
payments
processor in the United States, delivers credit/debit/prepaid card
processing, payroll, check management and payments solutions to more
than 250,000 business locations nationwide.

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Leading Economic Indicator Moves Up Again

The Conference Board “Leading Economic Index” rose 90 basis points while The “Coincident Economic Index” edged up by 30 basis points in November. With the increase, the “LEI” for the USA now stands at 104.9, which also increased 30 basis points in October and 120 basis points in September. Meanwhile, the “CEI” results for the month were preceded by no change in October, a 0.1% decrease in September and now stands at 100.1. “LEI” results for the month were attributed to positive gains in 6 of the 10 indicators that make up “LEI” for the U.S., including interest rate spread, average weekly initial claims for unemployment insurance (inverted), average weekly manufacturing hours, building permits, stock prices and real money supply while negative contributors include the index of supplier deliveries (vendor performance), the index of consumer expectations, and manufacturers’ new orders for nondefense capital goods.

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Overall ABS Shows Wide Range in Delinquency

The U.S. consumer ABS has to date experienced downgrade rates more
typical of a recessionary climate. This, according to Fitch Ratings in a
new study describing the impact to date of the recessionary surge in
delinquency rates on credit quality across U.S. consumer ABS asset
types, offers some contrast to areas directly exposed to the severe U.S.
housing market downturn. It shows delinquency rates vary considerably
with 60+ day delinquency rates of 4.1% and 0.8%, respectively, across
prime credit card and prime auto loan transactions; student loans in
forbearance reached 10.7% in 1H/09; and the downgrade rate on Fitch
rated credit card, auto and student loan bonds were 0.9%, 3% and 6.6%,
respectively, in September. Asset and ratings performance has
demonstrated trends similar to those seen during the 2001 recession
while the resilience of ABS ratings is driven by; structural features;
conservative loss expectations; and stable credit enhancement levels.

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Top Issuer Charge-Offs Head Higher in Nov

Charge-offs among the four top V/MC issuers rose by an average of 23 basis points in November, compared to the prior month. Chase posted a 79 basis points jump to 8.81% and Capital One reported a 56 basis points increase sequentially. However, Citi charge-offs declined slightly to 10.29% and BofA charge-offs declined from 13.22% in October to 13.00% in November. American Express reported its charge-off ratio dropped from a peak of 10.1% in April to 8.4% for September, 7.8% in October and 7.6% for November. Capital One reported its charge-off ratio rose to 9.60% for November from 9.04% in October. Discover said its managed net charge-off rate increased to 8.43% for the fourth quarter, up 295 basis points and four basis points from the prior year and the prior quarter, respectively. For complete details on the latest metrics visit CardData (www.carddata.com)

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Arroweye Solutions and Amazon Team

Arroweye Solutions and Amazon.com are working to update the Arroweye
gift card and greeting card program. The Amazon ‘by-mail’ gift and
greeting cards are available online, offering customers a selection of
more than 60 greeting card designs and to add up to 16 lines of a
personal message inside of the card. This will allow Arroweye to offer
Quality on-demand technology; gift cards and greeting cards ordered and
shipped in as quickly as 24 hours; and gift cards in any denomination
from $5.00 to $5,000.00. Arroweye now manages the front and back end
online gift card production for OSI Restaurant Partners, allowing them
to provide customers gift card customization and hundreds of gift card
design options through premium carriers.

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