More Americans Create a Delinquency Budget

A new survey of more than 1,000 nationally representative U.S. households reveals that Americans are dipping into their savings to pay for necessary living expenses and are creating a delinquency budget. VA-based Online Resources found that one in three of the households that are late paying their credit card bill continue to use their card, thereby increasing their outstanding balance. Though the number of households with delinquent mortgage payments are up 67% over last year, this bill remains at the top of the stack. Other findings: insurance premiums have the lowest delinquency rate at 2%; households with overdue loan payments have increased 58% this year; delinquent utility payments are up 18% since last year; emergency medical care bills are most delinquent with 34% of respondents late; and more Americans say they can do without phone service, and 26% of households put this bill on the bottom of the stack. Additionally, survey results show that one in three households was contacted by a collector in the past year. Preference for resolving delinquencies online has increased by 18% over the past year, but only one percent of delinquent households were contacted via the Internet.

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VISA MOBILE

Chinatrust Commercial Bank and China Everbright Bank has launched a new service wherein Visa cardholders in Taiwan and mainland China can use a mobile phone based one-time password to authenticate themselves when they use their Visa card for purchases over the Internet. The new enhanced “Verified by Visa” service via a mobile phone is a global first for Visa. A recent Visa survey in Asia Pacific concluded that almost 80% of Internet users conducted an online transaction and spent an average of US$3,000 each in the past 12 months.
Chinatrust Commercial Bank says it first introduced “Verified by Visa” in 2004 and has signed-up more than 400,000 of its cardholders for the service. China Everbright introduced “Verified by Visa” in December 2007.

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Mutual Merchant Captures Church Volume

Mutual Merchant Services has
completed the conversion of mobile market credit card processing
services for Christian organizations and businesses nationwide via its
previously announced affiliation with Zion Systems, LTD. Mutual’s entry
into this sector is expected to add over $20 million annually in
additional processing volume. Mutual Merchant Services is a single source provider of financial
services, offering a variety of products and services to merchants,
financial institutions, and banks. Services offered include credit and
debit card acceptance, check guarantee, check verification, check
conversion, check 21, advance funding, ACH check processing, prepaid and
bill pay services.

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CLEAR2PAY FUNDING

E-payment provider Clear2Pay has secured EUR6 million in funding for
working capital
from AGF, IRIS Capital, Big Bang Ventures, GIMV, Trust Capital and
management.
Clear2Pay’s payment solutions offer organisations easy,
branded ways for their customers to pay online which include complex
trade-supporting business-to-business environments,
through e-commerce applications, to retail payments and remittance
services amd the functions include payments origination, reporting,
linkage with back-office processing systems, clearing,
netting and settlement. Clear2Pay clients include global and major
regional financial institutions such as ING, VISA, MasterCard, ABN AMRO,
Nordea, PBS, United Arab Bank, Banco Santander, ANZ and Commonwealth Bank.

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PredictoMobile Drives CharityChoice Cards

Interactive SMS service PredictoMobile has launched a new mobile
charitable giving service.
The new initiative will give members the opportunity to convert these
reward points into tax-deductible
CharityChoice Gift Cards. Recipients of the Gift Cards are able to
select a charity from a list of over 100 renowned non-profit
organizations, including March of Dimes, Toys for Tots, Mercy Corps, Big
Brothers Big Sisters, and the Alzheimer’s Association, among others.
The premium mobile service company serves over 1 million members who
cast votes on their cell phones via SMS to predict the outcome of
current events. With each vote, members earn reward points redeemable
for ringtones, gift cards, and consumer electronics.

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NAMITECH

Digital security provider Gemalto and Allied Technologies
Limited announced that they have entered into an agreement in which
Altech will sell its NamITech South Africa business to Gemalto.
NamITech is a provider of secure cards with revenues of approximately ZAR 200Million (EUR15Million),
Its Linbro facility notably provides secure banking
personalization services to major banks in South Africa, employing
approximately 350 people. The transaction, subject to approval from the South African
Competition Commission, is expected to close in March 2009.

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Prepaid RushCard Attracts $2B in Volume

OH-based prepaid card provider RushCard announced that is now manages
over $2 billion in deposits and transactions for underbanked members
and has implemented “Spend Tracker”.
The new online “Spend Tracker” tool enables members to keep track of what
they spend and, therefore, make better financial choices. “RushPATH to
Credit”, an important new program, provides members the ability to build
a positive credit file by reporting their regular payment history to
participating consumer credit reporting agencies. “RushText” alerts enable
members to check their account balances or receive deposit confirmations
on their mobile phones. RushCard is the only major pre-paid
debit card with free customer service.

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WOMEN & FINANCES

A new survey commissioned by State Farm found that even though 51% of
women ages 25-65 are concerned about their financial future,
only 19% have reported making major changes to their
financial planning. Thirty-one percent conducted research, but
ultimately didn’t do anything
differently, and 38% only made small changes with little or no impact
on short- or long-term financial performance, such as moving money from
checking to savings accounts. When women look for financial guidance,
they don’t always seek out
expert advice. The survey also found that 18% turn to their parents ,
15% to friends and 12% to spouses for financial advice and may not be as
likely to seek the guidance of professionals like insurance agents (7%) or
accountants (5%). More than 42% find going to the dentist less
excruciating than talking to their spouses about their daily finances
and 32%of women report only having
enough money in their savings to cover one month or less of expenses.
While 79% women feel it’s important to be adequately prepared for the
future; however, 38% suspect they’re falling short,
worried that they haven’t done enough to secure their financial futures.

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SCA and MPC Offer Contactless ROI Tools

The Smart Card Alliance and Mobile Payments Council have rolled out new
tools for merchants
to maximize ROI when accepting contactless and mobile payments.
Merchants can now access a model for accepting contactless payments.
The model asks merchants to enter data specific to their business, such
as revenue, store information, payment transaction information,
transaction speed, expected changes in
transaction volume and speed after contactless payments are accepted,
and implementation costs. With this information, the model then
calculates an ROI based on increase in revenue, savings from fewer
chargebacks, reduced cash handling and improved operational efficiency
and incremental costs of implementing contactless payments. Merchants
also have access to an online discussion forum to interact with and ask
industry
experts questions and post comments about contactless and mobile payments.

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EBS & TRANSNET

IP-based payment solution provider Precidia Technologies announced that
its TransNet POS system will
be implemented by Emerald Business Systems as a solution for EBS’ retail
clients.
EBS customers can integrate secure payment functionality with a POS
device, PC or application.
TransNet can route transactions to multiple processors by card type or
BIN range, with no extra costs or difficulty. In addition, TransNet
offers management tools and capabilities not available with any other
solution, including remote application updates and transaction logging.
With transactions removed from the POS system and housed instead on the
POSLynx220™ payment router, TransNet also offers the industry’s most
comprehensive approach to cardholder data security. TransNet can be
integrated with an existing user interface or can operate with its own
user-friendly Virtual Terminal (TransNet-VT).

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Recommended Payments Sted of Minimum Payments?

A new study has found that the average monthly payment on a credit card account increased by 70% when the minimum monthly payment amount was not included on the statement. The National Financial Awareness Network says the University of Warwick psychological study released in October by Dr. Neil Stewart suggests that consumers are encouraged to pay less on their balances when credit card companies present the minimum monthly payment option amount on credit card statements. The NFAN says the credit card industry should adopt a similar practice found in the restaurant industry wherein some restaurants include “recommended tip” calculations on the bill.

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