DIAMOND EXEC

Financial services consultant Alok Gupta has joined Diamond Management &
Technology Consultants as a partner in the firm’s Mumbai, India office.
Having helping credit card issuers, retail banks, and brokerage firms
develop and implement corporate, product, and pricing strategies, Gupta
is skilled in uncovering fresh customer insights to help clients develop
innovative market and business strategies. He previously worked for
McKinsey & Co., Rosetta Marketing Strategies Group, and most recently
Novantas. He holds a Ph.D. from the New York University-Leonard N. Stern
School of Business and an M.B.A. and Bachelor’s of engineering degree
from the University of Mumbai. Diamond Management & Technology
Consultants help companies grow, improve margins, and increase the
productivity of their investments.

Details

Consumer Spending Intentions Remain Flat in Sept

Consumer spending intentions remained stuck last month and is setting
the stage for rather weak holiday season. Only 19% expect to spend more
in the next 30 days, continuing a four-month decline. Nevertheless, the
latest Discover “U.S. Spending Monitor” rose for the second straight
month, climbing 2 points in September to 89. About one-third of U.S.
consumers feel economic conditions are improving. A discouraging trend
continued in September, when for the sixth straight month, less than
half of consumers expected to have money left over after paying monthly
bills. Only 47% expected some extra cash, a point increase from August.
However, of those who expect to have money left over, 80% said they
would have the same or more money left over than the previous month, a
high not reached since April. Thirty-nine percent of consumers planned
on spending the same amount of money on going out to dinner, or the
movies in the month ahead, a 21-month high and 2-point increase from
August. About 32% plan to spend the same on home improvements, a high
not reached since February 2008. Thirty-six percent plan on spending the
same on major personal purchases over the next 30 days, a 12-month high.
Half of consumers are also planning on saving and investing at the same
rate over the next 30 days, a 2-point increase from last month.

Details

ZERO PLATINUM

Bankwest has launched a new high-end credit card that has no annual fee, complimentary international travel insurance for the family, and an instant savings program. The new “Zero Platinum MasterCard” also features a special introductory rate offer of 4.99% for nine months on balance transfers and purchases. The card also offers the “RewardMe” instant savings program. Cardholders receive up to one year extended warranty on goods purchased on the card and complimentary international travel insurance. Bankwest is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Commonwealth Bank.

Details

Smart Card Alliance Targets Healthcare

The Smart Card Alliance Healthcare and Identity Councils have released a white paper that seeks to improve data collection for
electronic medical records.
The Councils recommend the use of existing federal standards for
smart cards to create a trusted identity management infrastructure.
The Smart Card Alliance paper discusses the current challenges facing
the healthcare IT infrastructure and details why smart cards provide the
most cost efficient, secure, and user-accepted method for solving the
healthcare identity management problem. It also explains how smart card
technology can help make the critical capabilities needed in the
healthcare infrastructure both possible and cost-effective. It can also
provide an ideal way to achieve HIPAA compliance and meet the more
stringent regulatory requirements of ARRA / HITECH.

Details

DZ CARD & AVESO

dz card International plastic cards manufacturer, which supplies more
than 500 million cards annually around the world, has begun shipping
bank cards embedded with Aveso’s flexible display modules to multiple
financial institutions. Aveso flexible displays are suitable for
high-volume, cost-sensitive mass-consumer applications using paper-thin,
rugged display products designed for applications where it has
previously been impossible or impractical to integrate displays. Aveso
displays are based on a patented electro-active ink technology that
makes it possible to manufacture displays using installed manufacturing
capacity and readily available materials with a standard hot lamination
processes.

Details

Hilton Hotels Extends Visa Promotion

Visa Signature, Visa Infinite and Visa Platinum
cardholders can save 25% off Hilton Hotel’s “Best Available Rate”
worldwide. The Hilton’s Savings with Visa
offer is one of seven different ways businesses can stretch their travel
budgets and find economical ways to be in person for meetings and other
events essential to relationship building. Following the popular Hilton Visa
Summer Savings Program, Hilton and Visa are extending the exclusive
savings offer. Travelers who book a room with a Visa Signature, Visa
Infinite or Visa Platinum card receive 25% off the Best Available
Rate at participating Hilton hotels worldwide. There are more than 520
Hilton hotels worldwide. Restrictions vary by region and can be viewed
at Hilton.com/visa.

Details

REALIZE THE POTENTIAL

American Express is launching its first major brand advertising
campaign, exploring a new perspective to ‘Realize The Potential’.
Inviting consumers to reassess perspective of the brand and the role
that American Express plays in supporting and enhancing people’s lives,
‘Realize the Potential’ refers both to the potential that people have to
enjoy rich and rewarding lives and considers potential in providing a
range of services to enhance lifestyles. Through a completely animated
45 second TV spot seen in Mexico, the UK, Australia and Canada, the new
campaign is based on simple illustrations against a dramatic black
background and bold, colourful graphics. ‘Realize the Potential’ marks a
major brand investment for American Express in Canada in support of the
company’s growth strategy for the business locally.

Details

BofA Suspends Credit Card Re-Pricing

In a major decision, Bank of America announced it will not implement
any change in terms (risk or economic based) re-pricing of consumer
credit card accounts between now and the effective date of the “CARD
Act” early next year. Senate Banking Committee Chairman Chris Dodd
called on credit card companies to follow BofA’s commitment to not raise
interest rates or change terms on customers until consumer protections
included in the “Credit CARD Act” go into effect. In April Chairman Dodd
and Sen. Charles Schumer wrote a letter to Federal Reserve Chairman Ben
Bernanke calling on him to use emergency authority to freeze interest
rate increases on existing balances for consumer credit cards.

Details

Mall Networks Lands a Discover Exec

CPI Card Group has released “Card Designer v2.5” for customers to expedite custom cards.
“Card Designer” now has an updated online tool, enabling customers to get
their cards to market faster. These upgraded features include a design
checklist, pre-set templates and the ability to design not only the
front but also the back of a card. Selecting a card background, placing
graphical logos, text and network bugs will complete the design and make
an image that is truly worth a thousand words. “Card Designer”
also features the ability to upload
high resolution artwork for card production. Colorado-based CPI Card Group
produces high-quality, general-purpose, magnetic stripe and smart cards
for many applications.

Details

Health Savings Account Spike in Q2

Average individual Health Investment Account Balances (HIA) have
increased 28% while family Health Investment Account Balances have
increased 21% Q/Q. Additionally, average individual HSA balances
increased 6% and family HSA balances increased 8% since 1Q/09. These
findings, according to Canopy Financial healthcare banking technology
solutions and its 2Q/09 “Health Savings Account (HSA) Market Report,”
also showed individual HIA accountholders age 25-40 and family HIA
accountholders age 41-50 realized the greatest amount of growth in their
HIA balances for the quarter; the majority of spend in Q2 continued to
come from Reimbursements; and new account growth and employer
enrollments were both up in for the quarter.

Details

Mobile Banking Trends Webinar Slated

Tower Group is set to present the “Celling Banking to Your Customers:
Latest Trends in Mobile Banking” webinar
Thursday, October 8. Mobile financial services continues to garner
significant attention
from the industry, vendor community, press, and public. Although still
in its infancy, consumer mobile banking and payments will revolutionize
how consumers interact with their financial providers, manage their
finances, and make payments. This TowerGroup Live will provide
TowerGroup’s most recent research findings on the following topics:
how US mobile banking evolved, including projected adoption and
transaction estimates; how TowerGroup views the evolution
of the four primary mobile payment modalities and what are the
value-added services required to propel mobile payments into the
mainstream.

Details

WESTJET & GUESTLOGIX

WestJet has made available the “GuestLogix Mobile Virtual Store”
on-board POS system allowing guests to purchase buy-on-board items with
their payment cards, offered on all WestJet flights. Passengers are
given the convenience to pay in either Canadian or U.S. currency or to
use their Visa, MasterCard or American Express cards. WestJet’s complete
buy-on-board offerings can be found at westjet.com, The Experience,
Inflight Experience, Buy-on-board. WestJet provides scheduled service
throughout its 66-city North American and Caribbean network, has been
named one of Canada’s most admired corporate cultures in 2005, 2006,
2007 and 2008 and specializes in low-cost flying.

Details