Inc.com Ranks NetSpend Among the Top 100

TX-based prepaid card provider NetSpend has been ranked 58th on Inc.Com’s
Top 100 List in the Financial Services category. The 5000 companies
that made the master list
reported aggregate revenue of $185 billion and median three-year growth
of 147 percent. Most important, the 2008 Inc. 5000 companies were
engines of job growth, having created more than 826,033 jobs since those
companies were founded. The 2008 Inc. 5000 list measures revenue growth
from 2004 through 2007.
To qualify, companies must be U.S.-based and privately held,
independent as of December 31,
2007, and have had at least $200,000 in revenue in 2004, and $2 million
in 2007. NetSpend has approximately 300 employees and experienced
368.4% growth from 2004 to 2007.

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SIX CARD & M-CARD

Card processor SIX Card Solutions will begin processing for the new “M-Card”
issued by the Migros Bank, starting October 2009. SIX Card will issue and acquire processing of the new
debit card, which means the IT-supported handling of card issuing and
the processing of card transactions. The new M-Card will be selectively
available as a chip card with or without the Maestro function.
The M-Card has previously been in use as a Migros Bank account card and
as a separate Maestro card. The Maestro function can now be directly
integrated into the new M-Card. The range of use of the new M-Card with
Maestro function thus expands worldwide to all ATMs and points of sale
marked with the Maestro/MasterCard logo.

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ICMA Personalization EXPO Slated for April

The International Card Manufacturers Association will hold its “Annual Card Manufacturing
and Personalization EXPO” March 31 through April 3, 2009 in San Juan, Puerto Rico. This year’s agenda features numerous
timely seminar topics ranging from advanced security, emerging markets,
personalization and production issues, industry statistics and trends,
to global/environmental issues affecting card manufacturing. The Annual EXPO also serves as the venue for presenting the
association’s annual Élan Awards for Card Manufacturing Excellence,
which are given out in multiple categories for outstanding card design
and innovation; and the Spiritus Award, which goes to one member company
that has implemented noteworthy, community-based programs designed for
the betterment of society. During the EXPO, ICMA will hold the third meeting of the Green Task Force, a
group of members and industry stakeholders that has been meeting since
November in order to determine a standard for environmentally
responsible practices within the industry and the ACE-M Accreditation
exams for registered member applicants will take place on April 3.

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XMAS SPENDING

A new survey shows that 35% of Brits will use a credit card, 14% will use a store credit card, 5% will use a personal loan with the rest using cash or debit cards to cover the cost of their Christmas spending.
For those using the “buy now, pay later” strategy, the leftover debt from Christmas spending is expected to average about GBP 449. The survey by Halifax reveals that consumers are keeping a firm hold of their purse strings this year with 21% changing their shopping habits to beat the credit crunch and 39% admitting to spending less this Christmas. Consumers are also finding other ways to help avoid the Christmas pinch; of those who admitted to changing their Christmas shopping habits, over half will be taking advantage of pre Christmas sales and a third will be cutting back on the number of presents they buy. Halifax also found that a shopper who pays for presents in cash this Christmas will spend on average GBP 317, but it seems people spending on credit cards are cutting back – on average they will spend GBP 234.

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Visa to Offer SCORE Workbook/Tools Online

Visa and small business consultant SCORE have teamed to offer “The
Financial Management Workbook” and “Ask SCORE” widget.
The free workbook offers small business owners an
easy-to-follow curriculum and information on key areas of concern for
small businesses and is available through the Visa Business Network on
Facebook, at SCORE.org and at the more than 370 SCORE chapters
nationwide. The workbook covers how to efficiently manage cash flow;
how to maximize income and the speed with which you get paid, how to
minimize expenses; knowing your funding options;
being prepared for your business’s growth and “what if” scenarios. “Ask
SCORE” enables
business owners to locate and connect with SCORE mentors in their area
who have relevant experience in their business or industry. Small
business owners can easily download the Ask SCORE widget to their
desktop by visiting www.AskScore.org or the Visa Business Network.
Entrepreneurs can ask SCORE mentors about topics ranging from personnel
issues to how to write a business plan and typically receive a response
within 48 hours. SCORE “Counselors to America’s Small Business” has helped
more than 8 million aspiring entrepreneurs and small business owners
through counseling and business workshops.

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HYPERCOM & APACS

Hypercom’s 32-bit multi-application
Optimum T4200 and M4200 countertop and mobile payment terminals have
received APACS (Association of Payments And Clearing Services) Common
Criteria accreditation in the UK. The Optimum countertop and mobile series has already received PCI PED
security approval, MasterCard Worldwide Payment Terminal Security
approval for IP and wireless communication and EMV Level 1 & 2
certifications for chip card transactions. All terminals in the family
share the same application development toolkit and user interface,
enabling business applications written for one product to be quickly
transferred to other products in the range, minimizing time to market.

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AIRPLUS AWARDED

Corporate travel payment provider AirPlus International was honored as
“Best Corporate Card Provider” last week at the 2009 Buying Business
Travel Diamond Awards for the second year in a row. AirPlus
International re-affirms its positioning as
the leading player in integrated payment solutions, and commitment to
innovation. Currently offering the best corporate (lodge card) payment
solution in the market the new self-issued corporate card in the UK for
on-the-road business expenses will be launched in the new year, with BT
as its launch customer. AirPlus International is a provider of business
travel payment solutions;
offering lodge card accounts, corporate cards and online management
tools with more than 32,000 corporate customers globally.

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Japan – More Cards but Less Usage than USA

A new report finds that despite relatively healthy growth in credit card activity in Japan over the past five years, there is still a long way to go in terms of it becoming Japanese consumer’s preferred payment method at POS. Japanese residents on average have 6.2 credit or debit cards per person, higher than their peers in most card markets around the world including the USA. However, the report by Mercator Advisory Group finds that the average Japanese resident spent just about US$30 on their credit and debit cards in 2007 while the number was close to $180 in the US. As a result, Japan remains a cash-centric society and the payment market opportunities remain largely un-tapped by electronic payments. Mercator also says that the emergence of electronic money, namely payment cards and devices powered by a contactless chip, could bring a fundamental change to the way Japanese consumers make payments. Backed by prepaid card accounts as well as credit card accounts, e-Money services, have quickly become the most popular payment method at POS (besides cash of course, at least for now). According to CardFlash International and the Sakura Institute of Research there were 795 million payments cards in Japan for 2007, compared to 763 million in 2006 and 365 million in 1998.

PAYMENT CARDS – JAPAN
(credit + debit)
1998: 365 million
1999: 437 million
2000: 498 million
2001: 544 million
2002: 587 million
2003: 634 million
2004: 684 million
2005: 729 million
2006: 763 million
2007: 795 million
Source: Sakura Institute of Research

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SHENZHEN & UATP

Travel industry payment provider UATP has added Shenzhen Airlines as a Merchant to the UATP Network.
Shenzhen’s strategic growth plans include growing its corporate market share; UATP will enhance
Shenzhen’s strategic plan through helping the airline lower distribution
costs with low merchant service fees and by providing high-quality
reporting, mainly to business travelers. UATP also provides a global
network available for all corporate travelers. Shenzhen continues to be one of the most successful carriers in China,
with fourteen consecutive profitable years and generating profits, up
76.8% over the previous year. UATP accounts are accepted as a form of payment for corporate business
travel by airlines and travel agencies worldwide.

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Wal-Mart Female Shoppers Want Gift Cards

A fresh survey shows that 70% of Walmart’s female shoppers would like to receive a gift card this holiday to select their own gift. Nearly half of respondents would like to have a gift card for groceries, in addition to restaurants, discount and department stores and 56% plan to buy a gift card this year with 18% planning to spend between $40 and $50 on gift cards. The research, conducted by BIGresearch on behalf of Walmart, also reveals that when asked about spending, 54% of gift card purchasers agree children and teens will spend their gift cards on electronics, but that adult spending would primarily go towards apparel and accessories (44%) and food (40%) and that nearly 30% of those surveyed said they would consider re-gifting a bonus gift card they receive with a purchase.

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SCANSAFE

SaaS web security provider has released a forecast for potential threats
for the upcoming year. As a direct result of continued website
compromises and increased RoE,
Among their prognostications., it is likely that more and more Web
surfers will adopt technologies that
block third party content. It is believed that this wider adoption will
adversely impact Internet advertising in 2009, currently estimated as a
21.2 billion (USD) industry “belt-tightening,” financial institutions
are likely to better enforce policies regarding online
billing practices and as credit card billing fraud becomes a less viable
revenue stream for online attackers, attempts to directly access online
banking accounts
may increase; sensitive information related to patentable R&D efforts
may be particularly vulnerable; lack of controls or poor implementation
of existing controls provide attackers with the ability
to register and host malicious domains with ease; and Rate of Exposure
(RoE) to Web-delivered malware will continue to
increase.

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