Equifax’s TALX Settles FCRA Violations

The FTC has settled with Equifax’ consumer information reseller TALX for failing to provide proper FCRA disclosures. The proposed settlement requires TALX to pay a $350,000 civil penalty. TALX sells income and employment history information about consumers to lenders and pre-employment screeners. The company allegedly violated the FCRA by
not providing the “Notice to Users of Consumer Reports: Obligations of
Users Under the FCRA” and the “Notice to Furnishers of Information:
Obligations of Furnishers Under the FCRA.” In addition to the penalty,
the proposed settlement requires TALX to provide the required notices to
users and furnishers.

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VIRGIN AMERICA & UATP

Universal Air Travel Plan has added Virgin America as its newest merchant. Adding the
UATP form of payment is meant to allow Virgin America to expand its
market share in the airline industry, along with its brand new planes,
attractive fares, topnotch service, and a host of innovative amenities.
In doing so, UATP is intent on lowering Virgin America distribution
costs with low merchant service fees, its global network available to
all corporate travelers and sales through its UATP Network. Virgin
America will continue to enhance availability for all UATP cardholders,
which flies to San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York, Washington D.C.,
Seattle, Las Vegas, San Diego, Boston and Orange County.

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RAHAXI RECORD

Rahaxi international card payments processor and technology company
announced its Helsinki subsidiary, Rahaxi Processing Oy has surpassed
the 10,000 mark for terminals connected to its payment processing
platform. The milestone was reportedly accomplished as a direct result
of increased hardware sales and the subsequent increasing market share.
Rahaxi provides mission-critical solutions to the financial industry
worldwide for both merchants and acquirers in more than twenty
countries, allowing partners to focus on their core competencies with
its innovative driven approach. Its partners include IKEA, Finnair and
Stockmann. Its subsidiaries, Rahaxi Processing Oy, Finland, FreeStar
Technologies Ireland, Ltd., and FreeStar Dominicana S.A. Dominican
Republic.

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BluePay Acquires Landmark Merchant Solutions

IL-based credit card processing provider BluePay has acquired Landmark
Merchant Solutions. Landmark specializes in providing
business-to-business credit card processing. Marking their sixth
acquisition in just over 14 months, this new deal brings an additional
5,000+ new merchant accounts to BluePay’s existing client base. BluePay
is a single source provider and tier 1 credit card processor for all of
its merchants’ payment processing needs.

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Dodd Wants a Look-Back on Credit CARD Act

The chairman of the Senate Banking Committee is asking bank regulators to draft new regulations requiring all interest rate increases that have taken place this year to be subject to a mandatory 6-month review. In a letter to the FRB, FDIC, OCC, OTS and NCUA, Senator
Christopher Dodd says he is disturbed by recent reports in the press that some credit card companies are allegedly raising interest rates on their customers’ existing balances without justification. He asked the regulators to immediately notify all credit card companies under their respective jurisdictions that they will be held accountable for all interest rate increases this year and will be subject to the review requirement once the “Credit CARD ACT” takes effect next year. Dodd noted that the look-back provision will serve as a deterrent only if it will be implemented and enforced effectively.

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RATE REDUCTION SCAM

A U.S. district court judge has imposed a telemarketing ban on a
Canadian operation targeting U.S. consumers with a permanent injunction
that puts the defendants out of business and bars them from
misrepresenting affiliation with consumers’ credit card companies.
Promising false claims of reducing credit card interest rates, the
defendants are also restricted from making claims of having the
resources to reduce consumers’ credit card interest rates and have been
ordered to pay more than $7.8 million. These motions are in response to
FTC allegations the telemarketing operation defrauded about 12,000
consumers out of more than $7.8 million between 2005 and 2007 through
false claims of credit card debt reduction of at least $2,500,
specifically with individual charges $675 plus $20 shipping for
promotional materials. In fact, alleges the FTC, operators of the scam
did little more than orchestrate three-way telephone calls with
consumers and their credit card companies to request lower rates, which
were typically were denied.

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ENETT

Having originally collaborated in 2003, Travelport and PSP International
have forged another strategic relationship to develop their
collaborative joint venture company focusing integrated payment
solutions for the travel industry. Completed on June 24, 2009, the joint
venture is to be branded “eNett – A Joint Venture with Travelport,” in
which Travelport holds a majority stake, and leverages the existing
payment and settlement capabilities already established by PSP
International in the Pacific region through Travelport’s world-wide
travel product distribution capabilities and relationships. “eNett”
products will enable automated payments, settlement and reporting
between travel agencies and travel product suppliers, supporting debit
cards and other increasingly relevant alternative forms of payment which
are not well supported today. Travelport travel conglomerate offers
broad-based business services to companies operating in the global
travel industry, had 2008 revenues of US$2.5 billion, has operations in
160 countries and has over 5,500 employees while PSP International
provides payment solutions tailored to specific verticals.

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Card Industry Braces for June/ Q2 Metrics

The magnitude of record setting charge-offs in the second quarter will
be realized next week as Capital One and American Express release June
performance metrics and other issuers begin to report Q2 statistics.
Based on figures through May, charge-offs are up 16% among credit
card-based ABS and up 10% industry wide since March 31st. For credit
card backed securities in May, S&P reports a 10.00% charge-off ratio
while Moody’s reports a 10.62% rate and Fitch a 10.44% ratio. The three
rating firms include Discover and American Express performance. CardData
(www.carddata.com), which excludes Discover and American Express,
reports an industry wide revised managed ratio of 9.51% for May.
American Express reported its charge-off ratio edged down from a peak of
10.1% in April to 10.0% for May, thanks to the sale of some cardholder
loans that had been previously written-off. Capital One reported that
its charge-off ratio rose from 8.56% in April to 9.41% for May, however
the figure was about 50 basis points lower due to a change in the
issuer’s bankruptcy policy. Discover reported a managed net charge-off
rate for the quarter ending May 31st of 7.79%, up 131 basis points and
280 basis points from the prior quarter and the prior year,
respectively. (CF Library 6/18/09)

2009 GENERAL PURPOSE CREDIT CARD LOSSES
Fitch Moody’s CardData*
Jan 7.40% 7.74% 6.95%
Feb 8.41% 8.24% 7.11%
Mar 8.89% 9.30% 8.67%
Apr 9.66% 9.97% 8.78%
May 10.44% 10.62% 9.51%
*excludes American Express and Discover

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AmEx Adds New Tools to Lower Hotel Spend

A new analysis finds that U.S. businesses overspend on hotel expenses
by at least $500 million annually. The report from American Express
Advisory Services found that an average of 22% of travel bookings are
non-compliant with corporate policy and nearly 40% of air bookings with
an overnight trip do not include a hotel booking. Also,
mid-sized companies can save 10% to 15% off best available rates through
a preferred supplier program. In response to the recent findings AmEx
introduced the “Complete Suite by Preferred Extras” program and “Hotel
eXpert.” “Complete Suite” offers discounted rates on more than 7,000
properties in North America and exclusive international locations with
negotiated discounts of up to 15% off the best available rate. Also,
participating hotels award up to 1,000 bonus points for each stay or
automatic upgrades to gold or elite program status. “Hotel eXpert” is
aimed at uncovering savings opportunities for companies with significant
hotel spend. The new program allows companies the freedom of not having
to manage the RFP sourcing and administration of a hotel program.

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U.S. Credit Card Rate Scam Fined $7.8MM

The FTC has imposed a telemarketing ban on an Ontario firm that made false claims that it could reduce credit card interest rates for U.S. consumers. According to the FTC’s complaint, the telemarketing operation defrauded about 12,000 consumers out of more than $7.8 million between 2005 and 2007 by falsely claiming that it could substantially reduce consumers’ existing credit card interest rates and save them thousands of dollars in interest and finance charges. The defendants stated or implied–falsely–that they were affiliated with consumers’ credit card companies. For $675 plus $20 for shipping and handling, the complaint alleges, the defendants sent consumers promotional materials with promises to substantially reduce their interest rates, and a “financial profile form” for them to complete and mail back. The complaint alleged that the defendants promised to reduce the interest charged on credit cards to rates between 4.75% and 9.00%. The court ordered the defendants to pay more than $7.8 million.

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Virgin America Joins the UATP Network

Travel payment network UATP has added Virgin America as a new merchant.
UATP will enhance Virgin America’s strategic plan through UATP’s
mission of helping airlines lower distribution costs with low merchant
service fees and a global network available to all corporate travelers. Ticket
purchases are available to the UATP Network through traditional channels and Virgin
America will continue to enhance availability for all UATP cardholders.
UATP accounts are accepted as a form of payment for corporate business
travel by Amtrak, airlines and travel agencies worldwide.

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Barnes and Noble Deploys Epicor’s Sales Audit

Retailer Barnes and Noble has selected CA-based Epicor’s “Sales Audit”
software.
Barnes & Noble College Booksellers chose Epicor Retail Sales Audit, an
award-winning audit solution, as the central repository for all sales
transactions. The all-in-one data validation tool bridges the gap
between the enterprise and sales channels, helping to improve store
operations and auditing productivity. Sales Audit is part of the Epicor
Retail Audit and Operations Management suite, designed to help
multi-channel retailers manage transaction data verification and
investigation. The solution accepts transaction data from across
channels ? Point-of-Sale (POS), kiosk, Web or catalog ? checks for
anomalies, and then feeds the clean and accurate data to downstream
systems. Additional modules within the suite include Loss Prevention,
Employee Productivity and Commissions, Credit Settlement Interface, and
Voucher Management (Gift Cards).

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