Overseas Services Provoke US Cardholders

Credit card issuers considering annual fees can expect a strong consumer
resistance. Moving customer service overseas also provoked strong negative reactions. New regulations at a time of high losses are driving many
issuers to weigh fees as a way to increase revenue while consumers
reflect a strong condemnation for annual fees than any other charge.
Annual fees are highly visible to both revolvers and transactors, the
imposition of which would cause many consumers to reduce their credit
card usage in favor of debit cards and/or cash. The research, concluded
in a study commissioned by Auriemma Consulting Group (ACG),
implemented data from its survey of 503 credit card users in June 2009.

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NCB VISA

National Commercial Bank (NCB) has launched its “Visa Platinum Credit
Card” Sharia-compliant premium credit card. Available in a Bonus (Cash
Back) and Amyali (air miles) scheme, the “Visa Platinum Credit Card”
allows cardholders to choose which scheme best works for them. The new
Visa also offers travel insurance benefits of up to USD 200,000; access
to Visa “Global Assistance Services”; and the benefits of Visa
acceptance at over 30 million outlets in 170 countries around the world.
National Commercial Bank (NCB) first commenced operation in December
1953 with paid-up capital of SAR 30 million and now operates 1393
ATMs and 12,806 POS terminals.

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JULY DEBT

Annual growth in credit card outstandings continued to slow in July, growing at an annual rate of 0.4%, compared to 1.0% in June and 7.5% one-year ago. Credit limits were flat in July after growing 1.7% in
June, 2.4% in May and 4.4% in July 2008. According to the Reserve Bank of New Zealand, credit card outstandings were NZ$5.15 billion in July, compared to NZ$5.10 billion one-year ago. Credit limits were NZ$17.6 billion. Credit card volume for July was NZ$2.3 billion, about 2% below the same month last year. The average interest rate charged on a credit card account in July was 18.5%, compared to 20.2% one-year ago.

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JJ Buckley Deploys Acculynk PaySecure

Wine retailer JJ Buckley has implemented online security provider
Acculynk “PaySecure” to enable customers to pay with debit cards using
PINs. “PaySecure” is the first software-only service in the U.S. that provides
consumers the option to pay for online purchases with PIN debit. “PaySecure’s”
graphical PIN-pad appears at the merchant checkout when it
is determined that a consumer’s debit card can be used with a PIN and is
in Acculynk’s network of participating issuers. Consumers are given the
choice to enter their PIN on the “PaySecure” PIN-pad or run the
transaction as signature debit. If they choose to use “PaySecure”, they
enter each digit of their PIN using their mouse, hit “Submit PIN” and
receive payment confirmation from the merchant. Acculynk is a technology provider with a suite of software-only
services that secure online transactions.

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Persolvo Data Systems Hits Milestone

Persolvo Data Systems has reached a major milestone by aggregating over $3 billion in debt settlement accounts.
Additionally, Persolvo reported its database has grown by over $150
million a week during the last 30 days. Persolvo Data Systems is the first patent-pending system to aggregate
account information on debtors enrolled in voluntary workout programs
with leading debt settlement companies and law firms. Persolvo’s
web-based settlement application allows creditors and collectors to
locate debtors enrolled in debt settlement programs, analyze their
account information to uncover highly-liquid settlement opportunities,
and settle large numbers of accounts online with hundreds of debt
settlement companies using Persolvo’s hosted settlement application.

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Great Recession Produces Strategic Spenders

A new survey has found more consumers upbeat about the economy compared to this time last year due to lower gas prices and moderating food prices. However, given the length of the “Great Recession” Americans are still very much in the strategic spending mode. The survey from Information Resources found 23% of shoppers have a gift-giving budget over $799, down 13% from 2008 and 11% more plan on budgeting up to $499 this year for gifts than in 2008. More than 94% plan on spending no more than $500 on food and 90% plan on spending no more than $200 on holiday beer, wine, and spirits purchases. Also, 92% of consumers will be doing their holiday food shopping at the grocery store based on sales and discounts, product selection, and variety of items in stock. Additionally, there will be an 18% increase in online shopping from 2008, when only 41% of consumers shopped online. Finally, the overall effect of the recession on shopping decisions decreased nearly 5%.

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CONFUSED.COM

Confused.com price comparison site has launched its latest
consumer-friendly tool allowing users to gage how likely they are for
credit card acceptance. Available through its website, the new
Confused.com utility was built in association with Callcredit, is free
to use and leaves no credit footprint. Providing consumers the
confidence needed when applying for the right product saves both time
and incurring unnecessary credit footprints. This is encouraging to
those looking to switch to a cheaper credit card to reduce debt, but are
concerned about damaging their credit profile in case they are not
accepted. In doing so, Confused.com presents the user with card
applications they are most likely to succeed with when comparing credit
cards. UK-based Confused.com price comparison service was launched in
2002 and generates over one million quotes per month while Callcredit
credit reference agency offers an extensive range of information and
value added services for businesses and individuals.

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Small Businesses Willing to Pay for M-Banking

A new report found more than one-third of U.S. small businesses would be willing to consider using mobile banking if it were offered by their primary institution and 27% would even be willing to pay for the service. Aite Group found that banks’ failure to offer mobile banking services to small-business customers has not only resulted in lost potential revenues, but also missed opportunities to deepen relationships and achieve greater cross-selling success with this important customer segment. When asked how much they were willing to spend for mobile banking capabilities, 73% said they would not pay for such services. However, 15% said they would be willing to pay between $5 and $10 per month, about 3% said between $11 and $15 and 4% said between $16 and $20 per month was acceptable. Surprisingly, 5% said $21 to $25 per month was acceptable. Aite concluded that small businesses are looking for a host of extra functionalities above and beyond the requirements of vanilla mobile banking, such as wire approvals and positive pay. Banks will be looking to monetize small-business mobile banking, and an offering that does not justify end-users paying for the service is unlikely to receive implementation.

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Credit Solutions Sees Collections Uptick

TX-based Credit Solutions has settled $21.5 million in customer debt for
August with a 42.5% average settlement offer.
That means, on average, consumers for whom Credit Solutions negotiated
$9,156,636.80 in settlement offers with creditors last month paid off
their credit cards for 42.5%,less than half of the total amount of
debt they owed. Settlement companies like Credit Solutions act on
consumers’ behalf,
negotiating directly with creditors to facilitate repayment of consumer
debts at a reduced percentage of the total amount owed. Upon completion
of a debt settlement program, all of the consumers’ debts included in
the program are “settled,” or resolved with zero balances.
Since 2003, Credit Solutions has assisted more than
250,000 U.S. clients in becoming debt-free, settling more than $1
billion total of consumer debt.

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NDS PRE-PAID

UK-based NDS digital pay-TV technology solutions has made available its
“VideoGuard Pre-Paid” conditional access (CA) add-on module. Offering
customers more payment options at minimal cost, “VideoGuard Pre-Paid”
will allow customers to pay for movies using the Brand-ID Europe
“CHKVIEW” back-office payment component. “CHKVIEW” provides users a
range of scratch card and e-voucher options while “VideoGuard Pre-Paid”
allows the subscriber to purchase and store credit for future viewing
options. The set amount will be debited from their stored credit with
each content purchase, for which entitlement rights from the operator’s
head-end are sent directly to the individual’s smart card inside their
set-top box to grant access.

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CardPartner Offers Elvis Presley Visa

Elvis Presley Enterprises and affinity card provider CardPartner have
launched the “Elvis Presley Visa Platinum Rewards” credit card.
The Elvis Presley Visa Platinum® Rewards card offers qualified
cardholders exceptional benefits including no annual fee;
0% APR on purchases and balance transfers for the first six months; earn
points at hundreds of participating retailers;
earn up to 15 bonus points per dollar at select merchants; redeem points
for FREE airlines tickets and merchandise; purchase protection;
zero liability protection for unauthorized purchases; emergency cash and
card replacement and 24-hour roadside assistance.
A majority of the new card proceeds will benefit the Elvis Presley
Charitable Foundation, which was formed by Graceland/Elvis Presley
Enterprises, Inc. in 1984 to continue Elvis’ tradition of generosity and
community service and to honor his memory. CardPartner is a unit of
Serverside Group, a technology provider to many of the world’s leading
banks.

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