FTC Updates Elsevier and ChoicePoint Deal

The FTC has approved a final consent order in the matter of Reed Elsevier NV and ChoicePoint Inc. and authorized the staff to send letters to the commenters of record. In September the FTC issued a complaint charging that Reed Elsevier’s proposed $4.1 billion acquisition of ChoicePoint would be anticompetitive and in violation of the antitrust laws, as it would combine the two largest providers of electronic public record services to U.S. law enforcement customers.
To eliminate the anticompetitive effects of the proposed acquisition,
the FTC will require Reed Elsevier to divest assets related to ChoicePoint’s AutoTrackXP and Consolidated Lead Evaluation and Reporting (CLEAR) electronic public records services to Thomson Reuters Legal Inc., within 15 days after the proposed acquisition is consummated.

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Q1 90-Day Card Delinquency Rises 9% Sequentially

Based on credit bureau data, the ratio of bankcard borrowers 90 days or more delinquent on one or more of their bankcards in the first quarter rose 9% sequentially and 11% year-on-year. Meanwhile, the aggregate balance on all bank-issued credit cards for an individual bankcard borrower inched upward nationally 82 basis points to $5,776 from the previous quarter and 409 basis points, compared to the first quarter of 2008. TransUnion.com found that the steepest increases in average bankcard debt over the previous quarter occurred in Alabama (+5.6%), Mississippi (+5.4%) and Tennessee (+4.7%). Delinquency (90+ days) increased to 1.32% in the first quarter, compared to 1.19% one-year ago. Incidence of bank card delinquency was highest in Nevada (2.44%), followed closely by Florida (1.9%) and Arizona (1.68%).
The current TransUnion forecast for the national 90-day bankcard delinquency rate is a continued rise throughout 2009, approaching 1.7% by year-end. According to CardData (www.carddata.com), Chase posted a 3.22% delinquency (90 day+) rate in the first quarter as BofA reported a 3.99% ratio, Citi a 2.71% ratio and Discover a 2.78% ratio.

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CellCharge Adds iPhone App for Merchants

CellCharge phone-based credit card transactions has launched its iPhone
application. The new application allows clients to process credit card
transactions anytime and anywhere though their Apple iPhone for instant
approval without the need for a swipe machine. Appealing to independent
merchants, the CellCharge iPhone application turns the user’s phone into
a credit card processor for easy use at trade shows, flea markets,
direct sales parties and salons, granting small businesses immediate
payment approval. CellCharge recommends the the “CCTerminal” and
“ProcessAway” as the most user friendly affordable options, the latter of which offers a tip-adding feature.

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Virginia Airport to Accept MC PayPass

Norfolk International Airport is now accepting Mastercard PayPass in its
ACS managed parking lots.
“PayPass “is accepted in 10 exit lanes serving over 7,200 parking spaces
at the Airport and enables
drivers to pay for parking simply by tapping their PayPass-enabled
MasterCard card or device on a PayPass reader. ACS’ airport revenue
control solutions will continue to accept traditional magnetic-stripe
payment cards and work with all payment card providers. ACS offers a
wide range of transportation solutions, including airport
parking (more than 20 installations at the nation’s busiest airports),
public transit agency, toll collection agency and car park operator
solutions that rationalize and automate revenue collection. A high
service level optimizes revenue intake, while user-friendly tools
enhance the customer experience.

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U.K. Card Trade Association APACS Reinvents Itself

The trade association for the cards industry in the U.K. is undergoing
a makeover including a new name and an updated website. APACS has been
the umbrella name for the co-operative activity of banks, building
societies and card issuers on payments and payment systems since the
mid-80s, but over the next two months it will be moving away from the
use of the name APACS in favor of names that better describe the various
parts of the payments industry, such as the Payments Council, The UK
Cards Association and the different clearing companies. As a result, the
UK Cards Association was formed in April 2009 as the successor body to
the APACS Card Payments Group. The UK Cards Association is responsible
for formulating and implementing policy on non-competitive aspects of
card payments including codes of practice, card fraud prevention, major
infrastructural changes, development of standards and other matters
where cross-industry benefits are identified.

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Mint.com Launches My Yahoo! Application

Mint.com online personal finance service has released its application
for the “My Yahoo!” personalized start page. Targeting the 40 million
worldwide monthly visitors to the page, the Mint.com application charts
the user’s spending trends, budget and account status alongside email,
instant messaging, weather, sports scores and news all on one website.
The Yahoo application does not display balances nor charges to protect
privacy (both are accessible through the Mint.com website) and is part
of a series of innovations recently introduced for the 1 million
Mint.com users. Mint.com online personal finance service is tracking
over $50 billion in transactions, $15 billion in assets, has identified
$100 million in potential savings for its users and downloads
transaction data from more than 7,500 bank, credit card and
investment accounts daily.

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May Employment Index Signals the Worst is Over

An employment index is pointing that the decline in job losses is real and signals that the worst is over. The Conference Board “Employment Trends Index” moved up to 89.9 in May, increasing 20 basis points from the revised April figure of 89.7, but and down 20% from a year ago. The improving indicators for the latest “ETI” were the “Percentage of Firms With Positions Not Able to Fill Right Now,” “Percentage of Respondents who Say They Find Jobs Hard to Get,” “Real Manufacturing and Trade Sales” and Job Openings. The “Employment Trends Index” aggregates eight labor-market indicators. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the U.S. Department of Labor, the unemployment rate continued to rise last month, increasing from 8.9% in April to 9.4% for May, the highest in 26 years. However, the 345,000 jobs lost in May are about half the average monthly decline for the prior 6 months, and the fewest since September.

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BARCLAYCARD CONTACTLESS

Given recent research demonstrating 98% of current contactless
cardholders agree the payment method is easy to use, while 88% agree it
saves plenty of time, Barclaycard is upping its contactless-enabled Gold
and Classic card deployment for users receiving new, reissued or
replacement plastic. The contactless Barclaycard solution provides
nearly 2 million users secure, time-saving payment for the purchase of
goods and services costing less than GBP10. The solution is currently
accepted for payment at such retailers as Prêt a Manger, Coffee
Republic, Eat and Yo! Sushi. Contactless cards available through
Barclaycard include the “OnePulse”, “Platinum” and “Goldfish” cards,
none of which require a PIN nor signature. Barclaycard is part of
Barclays Global and Retail Commercial Banking division, serves 11.7
million customers in the UK, serves 11.6 million global customers and
maintains 89,000 retailer/merchant relationships.

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WAL-MART CARDS

Projecting 50,000 to 65,000 business owner members will join their Punjab
store location, Kotak Mahindra Bank and Bharti Wal-Mart have teamed to
launch their line of “Business Cards” for their “Best Price Modern
Wholesale” store members. The “Best Price Modern Wholesale” stores, the
first of which opened recently in Amritsar, Punjab, aims to provide its
members fair prices, convenience and choice. Exclusively targeting
business owners, including restaurant owners, hoteliers, caterers,
produce resellers, kiranas, retail store owners and offices, “Business
Cards” cardholders are afforded monthly statement updates on account
information (credit limit, purchases, etc), have access to 24/7 “phone
help” and the convenience of “financial services helpdesk” support at
every store location.

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FCAC CALCULATOR

Credit card interest piles up quickly and it’s no mystery why paying off
card balances as quickly as possible is to a consumer’s benefit.
Offering consumers tools needed to better understand the importance of
how paying off credit card debt more quickly saves more money. The
Financial Consumer Agency of Canada (FCAC) has launched its interactive
“Credit Card Payment Calculator” to help cardholders budget. Comparing
the minimum payment required, the minimum payment required plus an
additional amount and a fixed monthly amount higher than the minimum
payment, the ‘Calculator’ calculates interest, total amount paid and any
money saved with the repayment option chosen. The ‘Calculator’ can also
be used to change data entered to figure how to minimize interest
charges and is accessible through the FCACWeb site, www.moneytools.ca.
The FCAC of Canada provides consumers information to help them choose
the financial products and services that best meet their needs.

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