NCO Group Prepares to Acquire Axiant

Legal collection service Axiant will be acquired by accounts receivable outsourcer NCO Group. To facilitate this transaction, Axiant has begun chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings in Delaware, in which the sale of Axiant’s assets to NCO will be subject to higher and better offers at an auction and to the approval of the Bankruptcy Court. Closing is expected in the first quarter of 2010 and is subject to
satisfactory completion of due diligence, the execution of a definitive agreement and other conditions.

Details

TransUnion and Experian Win in VantageScore Dispute

The U.S. District Court has decided in favor of TransUnion and VantageScore, denying the purported common law and registered trademark rights FICO claimed were violated. At issue in the case was the use by credit score developers of numbers that encompass or overlap the 300-850 score range currently used by FICO, and whether consumer or lender confusion resulted from that use. FICO claimed a common law trademark in the range which it registered with the U.S. government in 2006,
TransUnion has used the 300-850 range for a proprietary credit scoring model it first made available to the consumer market in 2003, a date that precedes FICO’s original 2004 trademark application. The jury found that FICO knowingly made a false representation
to the U.S. Patent and Trademark office in connection with its registration of the 300-850 trademark. The jury’s verdict invalidates that trademark.

Details

Discover Beefs-Up Reward Redemption Online

Discover has unveiled a new web site to help its cardholders optimize their rewards. The new Web site shows how it all adds up, features exclusive limited-time deals and offers a peek at how cardholders in their area and around the country are redeeming their “Cashback Bonus” rewards. Discover cardholders have many options when it comes to redeeming their cash rewards. They can redeem for cash with a direct deposit to a bank account of their choice or receive a statement credit. Visitors can also take advantage of other special rewards and discounts through various offers such as double “Cashback Bonus” seasonal promotions and exclusive money-saving offers. If it’s even bigger rewards you are seeking, you can increase the value of the rewards by redeeming their “Cashback Bonus” reward for partner gift cards with one of the more than 100 brand-name partners.

Details

AMEX GIFT CARD

Offering a chance to give a universal gift card that keeps its value,
American Express is launching a no-expiration gift card in Canada.
Fee-free after purchase, there are no fees for checking a balance, no
fees for monthly servicing and no fees for card replacement. Available
for purchase at more than 1000 Shoppers Drug Mart stores across the
country, the American Express Gift Card lets the recipient choose from
millions of products and experiences in Canada, is available in $50,
$100 and $200 denominations (with an upfront purchase charge ranging
from $4.95 to $6.95), is replaceable for free if lost or stolen and can
be used at locations across Canada where American Express is accepted.

Details

VISA & CARD CONDUCT

Although Visa approves of government support of transparency and choice
in payments, fundamental to a well functioning economy, as disclosed in
the newly proposed Code of Conduct for the Credit and Debit Card
Industry in Canada, it is disappointed in the legislation overall. Visa
has reflected a choice of payments should be balanced between merchants
and consumers and the code would allow merchants to supersede consumer
choice at the POS. Visa believes merchants can and should decide whether
they want to accept Visa Debit cards and are free today to steer
customers to the merchant’s preferred choice, but they should also
ultimately honor the consumer’s choice.

Details

BOKU Explodes Among Online Gamers

CA-based mobile payment provider BOKU has established partnerships with
twelve leading game developers, offering casual, social and
multi-player online gamers to provide mobile payments coverage across
nearly 100% of the top applications for virtual goods and currencies
purchases on Facebook. In addition to the partner news, BOKU has launched the third generation
of their customer experience, designed to increase the success rate of
signups and mobile transactions. Innovations include the ability to
instantly recognize a mobile phone number vs. a landline, and the
ability to dynamically determine which carrier a mobile number belongs
to, with translation in twenty languages.
BOKU, which launched in June, has more than more than 1,000 direct
mobile payments partners.

Details

EQUIFAX EXEC

After having received in-principle approval for a license to operate a
credit information company under The Credit Information Companies
(Regulation) Act, Equifax information solutions has appointed Samir
Bhatia Managing Director and CEO designate of its Indian affiliate
Equifax Credit Information Services Private Limited. Bhatia will join
Equifax’s Mumbai operations and assume leadership of the company upon
formation and requisite approvals. Samir is a qualified Chartered
Accountant and is recognized as a leading banker with over 24 years’
experience in the Banking and Financial Services. He has worked
with leading, successful banks such as Citibank, HDFC Bank and Barclays
Bank for exposure to all facets of retail and commercial banking.

Details

CR Poll Shows a Very Black Friday in 2009

According to the latest “Consumer Reports Holiday Shopping Poll”, 66% of Americans say they’ll be shopping for
themselves over the “Black Friday” weekend. While 28% of adults plan to shop in-stores on Black Friday, 29% say
they’ll be shopping on Saturday or Sunday afterwards and 53%
of adults expect the deals to be just as good in-stores as online this year.
The Black Friday weekend shopping list for consumers includes clothing
(71%) and electronics (70%), with video games and accessories (46%)
being the most popular electronic items and 56% of shoppers are planning to purchase toys and 48%
are planning to purchase gift cards. Most of these items are intended to
be purchased as gifts; however, the items where shoppers have the
highest intent to self indulge are food or wine, electronics and clothing.
Electronics are hot items of choice for Black Friday weekend with 70% of shoppers plan
to purchase electronics making them a close second behind clothing(71%).
Flat panel TVs continue to be one of the top electronic gifts shoppers
look to grab each season. This year, 21% of adults plan
to purchase one either during or after the holidays and more adults are
considering purchasing a flat screen after the holidays (15%) than
during them (9%). The full results of the poll are available at www.ConsumerReports.org.

Details

OCT ABS

The aggregate credit card charge-off index for ABS declined to 11.4% in October from a record 11.8% in the prior month. However, the delinquency index remained stable at 7.7% and has been flat or decreasing across most trusts for the past three to four months. According to Moody’s, the credit card sector is beginning to show some preliminary signs of stabilization. But, Moody’s continues to have a negative outlook for the UK credit card sector. Moody’s Economy.com expects UK GDP to return to growth in the fourth quarter, after six consecutive quarters of decline. However, the recovery will be slow, dragged by weak credit conditions and poor consumer demand. In 2010, GDP is expected to grow by a modest 0.8% after contracting by 4.7% in 2009.

Details

Credit Card Charge-Offs Abate in the UK in Oct

The aggregate credit card charge-off index for ABS declined to 11.4% in October from a record 11.8% in the prior month. However, the delinquency index remained stable at 7.7% and has been flat or decreasing across most trusts for the past three to four months. According to Moody’s, the credit card sector is beginning to show some preliminary signs of stabilization. But, Moody’s continues to have a negative outlook for the UK credit card sector. Moody’s Economy.com expects UK GDP to return to growth in the fourth quarter, after six consecutive quarters of decline. However, the recovery will be slow, dragged by weak credit conditions and poor consumer demand. In 2010, GDP is expected to grow by a modest 0.8% after contracting by 4.7% in 2009.

Details

SIGNATURE BANK

Tesco Bank has selected Fiserv and the Signature bank platform to
provide its core banking solution, help develop new services to build
the systems and the subsequently needed infrastructure platforms. This
in conjunction with Tesco plans to extend its financial services
business from a collection of financial products to a full service
retail bank offering more choice. The Bank selected Fiserv based on its
ability to provide an innovative, end-to-end banking solution that is
proven in markets around the world, which it provides to its 16,000
clients worldwide. Fiserv solutions at Tesco Bank will provide the
foundation of account information and banking transactions for Tesco
Bank customers, who will now be able to access their accounts from UK
call centres, stores, online or ATMs.

Details

ABA Says GAO Study Confirms Merchant Benefits

The American Bankers Association says the GAO study confirms that
merchants get significant benefits when they accept credit and debit
cards for purchases and it is consumers that will ultimately be harmed
if Congress steps in to lower what merchants pay to accept debit and
credit cards. As indicated in the GAO study, interchange is a
transaction that occurs between key business entities. Interchange fees
are not paid by consumers but by banks that acquire payments on behalf
of merchants to banks that issue cards to consumers. It is an important
issue for banks of all sizes – from the largest financial institutions
to the smallest community banks. The ABA says efforts by the merchant
community to have the government interfere with the payment system
amount to little more than retailers not wanting pay their fair share
and to have consumers bear this burden.

Details