VisaVue Travel Service Mines Transaction Data

After launching a pilot program in 2008 to select states and
convention visitors bureaus in the U.S., Visa has rolled-out a new
service that provides insights into spending by international visitors
to the U.S. The new “VisaVue Travel” data service includes aggregate
international cardholder spending on Visa debit, credit, commercial and
prepaid cards, and offers comprehensive and distinct reports which
isolate leisure and business traveler spending; data on the number of
Visa cardholders visiting a region or state, as well as total sales and
average purchase size; analysis of tourist spending based on country of
origin; and a detailed view of tourist spending across thousands of
merchant categories. Last year “VisaVue Travel” revealed that U.S. Visa
cardholders spent more than $42.4 billion on their Visa payment cards in
the top 225 destination countries, while international visitors spent
more than $52 billion on their Visa payment cards in the U.S., and the
greatest share of Americans’ spending while abroad is in Canada, Mexico
and the United Kingdom, with U.S. Visa cardholders spending a combined
$13.4 billion in those countries in 2008. General retail continues to be
the biggest expenditure for travelers, representing 36% of Visa
transactions by Americans in 2008, totaling more than $15.8 billion.

Details

AVANGATE PAYMENTS

Avangate electronic software distribution has made available
“DIRECTebanking.com” (“sofortuberweisung.de” for Germany, Austria,
Switzerland and The Netherlands) and “Carte Bleue”(France) payment
methods to its vendors. In whichever language the new solution is
applied, it provides bank transfers with instant notification to
software vendors with cost savings, optimization of payment processes,
liquidity and risk management for more secure, faster delivery than that
of classic wire transfers. Meanwhile, Carte Bleue (“Blue Card”) provides
Avangate vendors a secure debit card payment scheme while Avangate
software distribution offers its secure eCommerce platform and
results-driven web marketing services.

Details

TransCard Document Vault is Introduced

TransCard, a prepaid debit card solution provider for MasterCard, Discover Network
and STAR has introduced the “TransCard Document Vault” to provide
customers a secure, online document-storage system as an addition to its
online product line. The “TransCard Document Vault” online safety
deposit box allows cardholders to scan and store important documents
such as mortgages, car titles, birth certificates, social security cards
and medical records for protection from damage or loss. TransCard
stored-value processor and transaction-based processing services has
been providing stored-value processing services since 1993, pay card
products since 1996 and was awarded Best-in-Category at the 2009
Paybefore Awards as the “Best Corporate-Funded Prepaid Card”.

Details

EASYPARK

The On Track Innovations’ subsidiary PARX is expanding its
“EasyPark” in-vehicle electronic parking solution with the addition of
the northern Italy municipalities of Asti, Bra and Rivarolo Canavese.
Initially introduced as “Neos Park” by PARX and Neos Tech in 2008,
“EasyPark” allows the user to pay only for the actual time parked
through its contactless unit. Eliminating the need for cash and change,
the device is placed in the vehicle window and turned off when the
operator is finished parking either on-street or in a parking lot. OTI
was established in 1990 to develop secure contactless microprocessor-
based smart card technology while its PARX Ltd. subsidiary handles OTI
marketing, operating and distributing advanced parking solutions.

Details

Island Pacific Joins New HP POS Program

3Q Holdings Limited subsidiary, Island Pacific Systems, has joined the
HP Point-of-Sale Solution Ready Program and been validated on the
HP POS systems using verification testing processes to ensure proper
application. Island Pacific is now among the systems allowing retailers
easier POS purchasing with the correlating smooth integration and will be
listed on the www.hp.com/go/pos website as a trusted HP software partner
to be authorized to use “HP Point of Sale Solution Ready
insignia.” The HP POS system additionally affords its members worldwide
exposure to its broad network of retail customers, sales channels and
engineering expertise. Island Pacific offers retail merchandising and
store operations software solutions designed to be customizable,
scalable, multi-currency capable and PCI compliant.

Details

NBD & SKYWARDS

Emirates NBD has teamed with Emirates Skywards and Visa to launch a co-branded credit card that earns air miles. The new “Emirates Bank Skywards Visa Infinite” and “Emirates Bank Skywards Platinum Visa” offers introductory bonus miles, miles earned on each purchase, complimentary “Skywards Silver Membership,” airport lounge access and range of concierge services, among other perks. The “Emirates Bank Skywards Visa Infinite” offers 75,000 introductory bonus miles and the ability to earn up to three “Skywards Miles” for every USD 1 spent on the card. “Emirates Bank Skywards Platinum Visa” rewards the
customer with 1.5 “Skywards Miles” for every USD 1 spent in addition to
25,000 introductory bonus miles. Emirates NBD is the largest banking group in the region.

Details

Private Label Credit Cards Take a Pounding

The number of retail credit cards in circulation declined 3.3% last
year as outstandings also slipped to $105 billion. Issuers of gas and
store cards have been pounded by record charge-offs well into the
double digits. According to the latest Fitch’s “Retail Cards Index”
gross charge-offs registered a record high of 12.31% in February,
surpassing the last record reading of 12.25% set in December 2004. This
was 12.5% higher than the prior month and 54% higher on a year-over-year
basis. The “Monthly Payment Rate Index” for retail cards continued to
trend down and stood at 12.95% in February. According to market
researcher Packaged Facts, receivables for the private-label credit card
market declined to $109 billion in 2008, compared to $114 billion for
2007. In 2007, only 11 private-label credit card issuers had receivables
greater than $100 million, down from 17 in 2004 and 27 in 2001. Further,
only three banks had receivables of more than $10 billion in 2007.
Packaged Facts says this massive concentration at the top of the list is
the result of years of ongoing acquisitions and consolidation in the
industry, leaving the top three private-label credit card issuers in
control of roughly three-quarters of total private-label receivables.
According to CardData, the total number of private label cards in
circulation dropped to 440 million in 2008, compared to 455 million in
2007 and 549 million five years ago. (CF Library 1/13/09; 4/28/09)

RETAIL CARDS-IN-FORCE
1999: 572
2000: 590
2001: 583
2002: 571
2003: 549
2004: 510
2005: 481
2006: 468
2007: 455
2008: 440
Source: CardData (www.carddata.com)

Details

AA.COM & PAYPAL

Bringing the payment resolution global, American Airlines is offering UK customers the option to use PayPal when booking
tickets through the AA.com website for increased convenience,
flexibility and security. Allowing users to conduct transactions using a
payment card, bank account or PayPal account balance, booking American
flights through Paypal is quick, convenient and expected to meet great
reception thanks to the popularity of debit cards in the UK. Upon
choosing the PayPal option, the customer is directed to PayPal’s website
to log onto their account, or enroll for free and confirm the
transaction. AA.com hosts over 1.6 million visits daily while American
Airlines, American Eagle and AmericanConnection serve 250 cities in 40
countries on more than 3,400 daily flights.

Details

Q1 Charge-Offs Soar Sequentially by a Record 25%

Charge-offs in the first quarter exploded at a rate never before seen
in the bank credit card industry, however the momentum appears to have
slowed in the second quarter. Compared to the final quarter of 2008,
first quarter charge-offs soared by 25% and are up 68%, compared to
one-year ago. Among the nation’s top issuers with at least $50 billion
in outstandings, the average charge-off rate for 1Q/09 was 8.12%,
compared to 6.51% in the fourth quarter and 4.84% for 1Q/08, according
to CardData (www.carddata.com). Since the end of the first quarter,
American Express reported that its charge-off rate rose to 10.1% in
April, compared to 8.8% in March and 8.6% in February. But, Capital
One’s charge-offs edged down to 8.56% in April, compared to 9.33% in
March and 8.06% in February. According to Moody’s “Credit Card Index”
the charge-off rate for all credit card ABS was 9.97% for April, almost
60% higher than a year ago. According to the latest “Credit Card Index”
results from Fitch Ratings, charge-offs for “prime” credit card ABS
climbed 77 basis points to 9.66%, the third consecutive record result
and 51% above year earlier levels. CardData reports that the upward
momentum in charge-offs for all managed portfolios tapered off somewhat
in April rising a mere seven basis points from the prior month to 8.74%.
(CF Library 5/15/09; 5/18/09; 5/28/09; 5/29/09; 6/5/09)

TOP ISSUERS CHARGE-OFFS
1Q/08: 4.84%
2Q/08: 5.55%
3Q/08: 5.81%
4Q/08: 6.51%
1Q/09: 8.12%
Source: CardData (www.carddata.com)

Details

AmEx & IN-ROOM-MD

American Express Canada has partnered with InRoomMD to provide its
Canadian cardholders the “Travel Healthcare Concierge” service to make
navigating the health care system a breeze in case of illness or injury
while traveling in the U.S. The “Travel Healthcare Concierge” offers
eligible American Express card members/family an alternative to
expensive ER visits with prompt InRoomMD treatment in their U.S. hotel
room at any hour of the day. Additionally, automatic access for
physician telephone consultations, express emergency care triage,
replacement eyeglass/contact lenses, medication, prescriptions, dental
and chiropractic care, medical specialist referral and durable medical
equipment rental is given to AmEx Canada “Platinum Card”, “Business
Platinum Card” and the “Centurion Card” members. American Express in
Canada operates as Amex Bank of Canada and Amex Canada Inc and employs
3,700 Canadians while InRoomMD’s “Travel Healthcare Concierge” program
made available through a partnership of insurance companies, credit
cards and affinity groups.

Details

Glimmer of Optimism Spreads Among U.S. Workers

More evidence mounts that American workers see glimmers of hope that the economy is headed in a more positive direction. More than one-third of workers and 31% of retirees expect the current economic crisis to be better by the end of 2009. According to the Principal Financial “Well-Being Index,” 41% of workers say it will take only two to five years to recover the retirement balances they had at the beginning of January 2008. While 15% think it will take six to 10 years, only 3% of workers think they will never recover their account balance.
Principal also found that 48% of workers and 42% of retirees say they paid more often with cash than with credit cards in the past six months.
Other changes: half of retirees and six of 10 workers are preparing more meals at home instead of eating out; three of 10 workers indicate they have started bringing their lunch to work; and more than a quarter of both retirees and workers have started to “shop” in their own closets instead of making new purchases. Thirteen percent of workers said they are delaying their planned retirement date because of current economic conditions, an increase from 10 percent of workers in first quarter of this year.

Details

NBB PLATINUM

NBB (National Bank of Bahrain) has introduced its “Platinum Visa Card” to
offer cardholders special, exclusive privileges. The new “Platinum Card”
allows holders to create a unique design with features such as access to
over 500 premium international airport lounges world-wide through
Priority Pass membership, travel accident insurance of up to US$250,000,
discounts through international brands around the world and purchase
protection through automatic short-term insurance. The “NBB Platinum” card
also offers cardholders 24-hour emergency medical and legal advisory
service through its affiliates when traveling abroad.

Details