ADEPTRA RESEARCH

While 10% of British consumers admitted never checking their bank
statements, 67% stated they only check their statements monthly, while
11% of American consumers check their balance daily and 53% check every
week. With Black Friday right around the corner, the volume of retail
transactions jump to millions of credit cards processed every hour with
a corresponding peak of fraudulent activities. The study, according to
an Adeptra survey of 400 American and British consumers, concludes
Americans are more concerned than the British about being victims of
financial fraud. Additional findings show 54% of Americans and 72% of
Brits would like correspondence through their mobile phone in the event
of fraud, 20% of Americans and 1% of British preferring email, and 6% of
Americans and 12% of British preferring SMS communication.

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PAYZONE, E.ON & NPOWER

Payzone, in conjunction with E.ON and npower, is offering their
customers the chance to share in a GBP10,000 free energy prize fund this
winter by paying for gas and / or electricity at 14,000 participating
Payzone outlets across the UK. Starting December 1 until February 8,
E.ON and npower customers who top up their gas and electricity
prepayment cards / keys, pay bills, or make budget payments at Payzone
outlets will be automatically entered into the free prize draw. For the
drawing, 100 lucky customers can win GBP10 that can be used towards the
cost of energy this winter, the equivalent of 400 hours watching an LCD
TV; heating 500 cups of tea; 800 slices of toast; 3125 hours of light
using a 20 watt energy saving bulb; and 100 baths or 200 showers.

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Javelin Strategy Analyzes Identity Fraud

Javelin Strategy & Research has released its “2009 Banking Identity Safety Scorecard”
ranking top banks and credit unions on 50
identity fraud prevention, detection and resolution capabilities and finds that
while banks made dramatic strides in prevention of
identity fraud, detection capabilities showing little improvement.
Javelin’s 2009 Banking Identity Safety Scorecard
uses website research and mystery-shopping methods to score the largest
banks and credit unions that represent half of all U.S. consumer
checking accounts. The 50 precise security measures are based on
exacting analysis of three areas: consumer behavioral research, review
of changing crime patterns, and new technologies available to banks and
consumers. Key Findings of 2009 Banking Identity Safety Scorecard include:
Banks excelled in prevention capabilities, scoring an average of
27 percentage points higher than last year. Bank of America, BB&T
and Fifth Third Bank had the highest prevention scores; financial institutions finally curtailed the use of full social
security numbers for routine authentication; nearly nine in 10 banks now equip their customers with third-party
security vendors for online safety; banks are strengthening education, with 100% of the top financial
institutions now offering anti-phishing email education online – doubling from the previous year;
highest identity fraud detection scores were posted by Regions Bank, Bank of America and Citibank.
Detection capabilities showed meager improvement overall. Javelin
calls for 18 alerts and notifications regarding changes to consumers’ accounts and personal information.
ING, Navy Federal Credit Union, PNC Bank and Wells Fargo earned perfect scores in 11 identity fraud resolution criteria.100% of top banks now offer zero-liability protection and next-day
replacement of lost or stolen debit cards for most routine purchases, tightening parity with credit cards. Identity Fraud carried
an average per-victim toll of $496 in out-of-pocket costs and 30 hours
of personal resolution hours in 2008.

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Americans 15% More Concerned About Card Fraud

While 10% of British consumers admitted never checking their bank
statements, 67% stated they only check their statements monthly, while
11% of American consumers check their balance daily and 53% check every
week. With Black Friday right around the corner, the volume of retail
transactions jump to millions of credit cards processed every hour with
a corresponding peak of fraudulent activities. The study, according to
an Adeptra survey of 400 American and British consumers, concludes
Americans are more concerned than the British about being victims of
financial fraud. Additional findings show 54% of Americans and 72% of
Brits would like correspondence through their mobile phone in the event
of fraud, 20% of Americans and 1% of British preferring email, and 6% of
Americans and 12% of British preferring SMS communication.

Details

MXIT & STANDARD BANK

Mobile banking is on track to three times as many users globally than
traditional banking by 2011, a market which MXit mobile social network
and instant messenger is poised to offer African banks a safe
transaction platform. In doing so, MXit will offer its “MXit Moola”
virtual currency on the platform while The Standard Bank “mimoney”
payment method makes available the m-banking solutions to individuals
without access to a credit card or a bank account. For example, 40% of
the South African population are considered unbanked. Together, MXit and
Standard Bank are targeting are teenagers, students, business, high net
worth individuals and the informal sector with the m-banking solutions.
MXit is the most popular mobile social network and instant messenger in
Africa with close to 17 million subscribers.

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NetSpend Natl Spending/Savings Index Released

Prepaid card provider NetSpend has released its “National Spending & Savings Index” that
tracks year-over-year spending trends of almost one million consumers in eight “lifestyle” categories.
For October, national spending trends saw the largest gains in the “Groceries” (+14.10%),
“Personal & Professional Services” (+6.14%) and “Travel & Entertainment”
(+5.44%) categories. The increase in the “Groceries” category may
demonstrate that consumers are continuing to eat at home rather than
going out to restaurants. The lifestyle category with the largest significant decline was
“Finance” (-6.57%). The decrease in the “Finance” category can likely be
attributed to a decline in ATM withdrawals, as the majority of all
dollars spent in the “Finance” category are attributed to ATM fees.
“The NetSpend National Spending & Savings Index” also surveys the average
balances in cardholders’ NetSpend Savings Accounts. Savings trends for
the low- to moderate-income consumer across the nation are indicating
that while the number of savings accounts significantly increased, the
average account balance decreased. The October data show that the number
of accounts across the nation is up by more than 20,000. However, the
average balance of NetSpend Savings Accounts dropped from $26.10 in
October 2008 to $24.40 in October 2009. Researchers say this may
demonstrate that although customers are showing more intention to save
money, they simply don’t have the funds yet.

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Citi Unloads its US/Canada Diners Club Card Portfolio

BMO Financial Group is acquiring the “Diners Club” North American
franchise from Citigroup for an undisclosed amount. The portfolio will
add net receivables of nearly $1 billion and annual transaction volume
of $7.8 billion, and will double BMO’s overall “Corporate Card”
business. The deal gives BMO exclusive rights to issue “Diners Club”
cards to corporate and professional clients in the U.S. and Canada. More
than 6,000 North American businesses and nearly 250,000 cardholders use
“Diners Club” to manage their “Travel and Entertainment” expenses. In
addition, more than 100,000 individuals in Canada and the U.S. carry the
“Diners Club Professional Card.” Under the agreement, Citigroup will
continue to provide support until the “Diners Club” business is fully
integrated within BMO. As part of the acquisition, BMO will retain key
resources responsible for product delivery, sales and customer service.
Included in the acquisition is the “Club Rewards” program. The deal is
expected to close by the end of the first quarter.

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Mobile Merchant Pro Products are Launched

1st National Processing has rolled out its
“Mobile Merchant Pro” line of credit card processing applications for the
iPhone and iPod Touch in addition to a Free BlackBerry mobile payment application.
“Mobile Merchant Pro” is a point of sale application that allows mobile
merchants to process credit cards real-time on their mobile phones. With
support for both “Authorize.Net” and “PayPal Web Payments Pro”, merchants
have a choice by using their existing payment gateways, or use one
provided by 1st National Processing. 1st National Processing created the “Mobile Merchant Pro” line to expand a
merchant’s ability to accept credit cards anywhere. These mobile
solutions were created to address the credit card processing needs for
consultants, contractors, photographers, plumbers, locksmiths, livery
drivers, insurance agents, tradeshows, and the Arts & Crafts vendor
communities. Mobile merchants who currently process credit cards using a
supported gateway can benefit immediately as nothing further is required.

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NCSI-UK

The National Customer Satisfaction Index (NCSI-UK) dropped for a second
straight quarter to 72.8 on a 100-point scale as a direct result of an
overall loss of customer satisfaction in the financial services sector.
Only 32% of individual companies have improved NCSI scores this year,
50% declined and 18% are unchanged while declining customer satisfaction
are increasingly unsatisfied with the retail banking and credit card
services sectors. The credit card industry slipped 1% to a score of 72,
thanks especially to RSB and Lloyds TSB, while HSBC leads by a
substantial margin with a score of 73 and Barclays is the only credit
card provider to improve (up 1% to 69). The highest customer
satisfaction levels were seen among customers of smaller credit card
issuers. Customer satisfaction with the retail banking industry fell
1.4% to a score of 70 with HSBC at #1 among big retail banks and RBS
Group posting the biggest decline of 3% to a score of 69.

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Heartland Payment Cited as a Top Seller

Payment processor Heartland Payment Systems has has been named the “Top
Service Company to Sell For” by Selling Power magazine.
Heartland, one of the nation?s largest payments processors, competed
against companies including FedEx, IKON, Aramark and Google for this
distinction. Selling Power?s ?50 Best Companies to Sell For? list, in
its ninth year,
ranks the top 25 best service and the top 25 best manufacturing
companies to sell for. Companies are evaluated on three key categories:
compensation, training and career mobility. Heartland also made
Selling Power?s ?500 Largest Sales Forces In America? list, ranking 83rd
in the service sector (October 2009). This was a significant increase
from its ranking of 98 the previous year. Heartland’s entrepreneurial
business and compensation model uses proven
rewards to incentivize its sales force, including weekly signing bonuses
and long-term portfolio ownership with residual income. Combined with
its talented team of professionals, this model has enabled Heartland to
grow from 25 employees to 3,100, and from $0.4 billion to $80 billion of
annualized Visa/MasterCard volume since its founding in 1997.

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Upgraded Cyber Holiday Pulse Index to Resume

Payment processor Chase Paymentech has launched an updated version of its Cyber
Holiday Pulse Index to track
online shopping activity throughout the 2009 holiday shopping season.
In addition to compiling current activity, Chase Paymentech’s Pulse
Index also presents year-over-year trends and is updated every business
day throughout the first week of January to provide historical context
on the overall metrics and identify emerging online shopping trends.
This year, the index adds daily average ticket value, as well as sales
volume and transaction volume, providing even more in-depth insights
into year-over-year consumer behavior.
The challenging economic environment took its toll on online shopping
during the 2008 holiday season, according to the Chase Paymentech Pulse
Index. In 2008 holiday online sales volume and transaction count both
increased, but the average ticket, or amount per sale, declined.
Overall, sales volume for the holiday season was up a modest 4.5%
versus 2007. Transaction count was up a significant 16.5%, and
the average value per transaction was down an unanticipated 10.3%.
Chase Paymentech’s Pulse Index will track over one million
payment transactions daily at 50 of the top U.S. retail Web sites as
ranked by Internet Retailer magazine.

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Gift Card Spending Volume to Fall by 7% This Season

A new report from Tower Group focuses on the declining popularity of
private label store gift cards. The annual review of the U.S. gift card
market, entitled “Gift Cards: Still Better to Give than Receive” is set
to release on November 30th. TowerGroup expects store gift card spending
volume to fall by 7%, with a modest increase of 3% in general purpose
cards in 2009 and expects the second annual decrease in private label
store gift cards and a slight increase in general purpose gift cards.
TowerGroup projects volumes for gift cards will fall slightly in
aggregate during 2009, from $91 billion to $87 billion. Store gift
cards fall into three categories: restaurants,
retailers and miscellaneous. Consumers are expected to exhibit more
practical usage in each category: fast food will perform better than
white linen dining; discounters will perform better than high-end
specialty stores and niche players like local stores will experience the
largest negative impact. TowerGroup estimates that lost value, referred
to as spillage in industry jargon, improved to 6% from a high of 10% in
2007; this lost value still represents nearly $5 billion.

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