FDIC Finds Overdraft Programs to be Abusive

A new survey reveals that debit card transactions are the most
frequent cause of overdrafts and that these purchases typically are less
than the overdraft fee charged. In most cases, banks do not warn
customers at the ATM machine or checkout counter if their transaction
will result in this fee. The FDIC report also shows that over half of
the large banks surveyed process overdrafts from largest to smallest,
which can artificially increase the number of overdrafts fees incurred
by consumers. The FDIC found that a majority of banks reported
automatically enrolling customers into overdraft systems that impose a
fee. Rules under consideration by the Federal Reserve Board would
require banks to give customers the choice of opting out of the
expensive, fee-based overdraft program. The FDIC says that artificially
increasing overdrafts without a customer’s express consent unfairly
strips billions of dollars annually from checking accounts.

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Barclaycard US Unveils Holland America Visa

Barclaycard US has christened the “Holland America Line
Rewards Visa.” It is Carnival’s Holland America Line first co-branded credit card. For every $1 spent on Holland America Line purchases, cardholders earn two Holland America Points. For all other purchases, cardholders earn one point. Cardholders earn 5,000 points upon first use and can accrue an additional 5,000 points for balance transfers completed within the first 30 days of account opening. Points can be redeemed for various cruise packages and onboard services and amenities.
The card is available as a “Visa Signature” and “Visa Platinum” card.
Last year Barclays launched the “Princess Rewards VISA Signature” card with Carnival. (CF Library 11/06/07)

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Prepaid Resources & NexisCard to Offer FBE

NY-based Prepaid Ventures’ “NexisCard” will offer its Automated
Federal Benefit Enrollment (FBE) service to Prepaid Resources. FBE electronically directs the US
Treasury to deposit recipients’ future social security, veterans, civil service and
railroad retirement benefits for deposit into their designated prepaid debit card
account. With NexisCard, customers enjoy greater functionality that includes direct social security payments, electronic bill payment and
convenience checks at reduced costs while retaining the check casher’s
revenue for every product and preserving the customer connection to the retail
location. Prepaid Resources is a resource provider for the prepaid debit industry.

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ThankYou Network Members Get Amazon Option

Citi’s “ThankYou Rewards Network” now enables members to redeem their points for products fulfilled through Amazon.com. Launched in 2004, the rewards program has grown to 13 million members. Citi recently expanded the rewards inventory of the “ThankYou Network” with a new online interface. The expanded range of categories includes everything from books, music and DVDs to electronics, home goods, and sports equipment. Citi Smith Barney and Expedia recently joined the network.
“ThankYou Network’s Online Shopping Mall” features more than 300 brand-name online and in-store retailers. The rewards program is linked to Citi’s credit card and retail banking products. In October Citi’s “ThankYou Network” partnered with Citi Prepaid Services to introduce a new prepaid card rewards option for members. The prepaid cards are available in $25, $50 and $100 denominations. (CF Library 10/16/08)

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iovation and The 3rd Man Team to Improve CNP

OR-based iovation and CNP fraud screener The 3rd Man have partnered to
develop a stronger fraud detection solution for card-not-present
transactions. The 3rd Man will offer iovation’s real-time
“ReputationManager” device-based fraud management service as a part of
its “GateKeeper” fraud screening solution. “GateKeeper” is a web-based data
screening service that analyzes financial transactions through a
multitude of data elements – including email addresses, billing and
delivery addresses, card numbers, IP addresses, and phone numbers – to
determine fraud patterns and other suspicious behavior relating to
online orders. Online merchants will be able to prevent fraudulent CNP
transactions such as credit card
fraud, chargebacks and shipping fraud, and slash operating expenses by
reducing manual reviews and approving legitimate online orders more
efficiently.

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Attempted Holiday Online Fraud Jumps 40%

The online retail market experienced a staggering 40% increase in
attempted online fraud on “Black Friday.” Retail Decisions reports that
the value of fraudsters’ attempted transactions increased to an average
of $248, up on last year by 25%. The favorite items for the
would-be fraudster included Virtual Gift Cards, Givenchy Perfume,
Lancôme and Estee Lauder Cosmetics. According to ReD, the most fraud
prone U.S. shipping and billing states were Florida and New York.
“Black Friday” has its busiest hour between 1.00 pm and 2.00 pm with the
most popular selling gift being the “Garmin Nuvi 200 GPS Display
Screen.” ReD also found that online shopper’s busiest minute for its
retail customers was “Cyber Monday” at 1.48 pm.

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Harbortouch Touchscreen POS Gains Traction

Half Point Pub in Whippany, NJ is one of many
restaurants
and retail businesses that have recently decided to upgrade their old
cash register
and credit card equipment to an advanced all-in-one touchscreen
point-of-sale (POS)
system.

Business owner Robert Rinaldi had been researching various point-of-sale
systems to
find one that met all of his business needs. After comparing multiple
systems, he
found the perfect answer from a nationwide point-of-sale company known as
Harbortouch.

James Surber, Vice President of Harbortouch, explains “We designed the
Harbortouch
POS system with small and midsized businesses like Half Point Pub in
mind. By
customizing each system for both restaurants and retail businesses, we
are able to
provide substantial benefits for every merchant that uses Harbortouch.”

Rinaldi says that “upgrading to Harbortouch has really been a great
decision for my
business. Its many features have saved me time and money through more
efficient
operations.”

He points out that “one of the biggest advantages has been allowing our
servers to
spend more time on the floor instead of running back and forth to the
kitchen. This
has created much better service and our customers have definitely
noticed.” Rinaldi
has also been impressed with the system’s advanced reporting features
which “have
saved us countless hours and decreased bookkeeping expenses.”

“Another important benefit is that using this system ensures that all
items end up
on the check. In the past when things got busy, items were often
overlooked and did
not end up on the check or were priced incorrectly. I would estimate a
10% increase
in revenue just by fixing that problem alone. On top of everything else, the
support team has been outstanding in making sure that our system is working
properly and all our needs have been met. Overall, I couldn’t be happier
with the
Harbortouch POS System.”

About Half Point Pub

Half Point Pub is a casual family restaurant and bar that has become a local
favorite in northern New Jersey. Located at 29 Reynolds Ave in Whippany, the
restaurant can be reached at 973-887-5533.

About Harbortouch

Harbortouch is a leading supplier of point-of-sale (POS) solutions and
merchant
payment services and can accommodate the needs of any retail or hospitality
business by providing an easy to use, high performance POS system at an
affordable
price. It is the perfect tool to help make running your business easier
and more
profitable by combining the highest quality hardware with the most advanced
software. For more information about Harbortouch POS, visit
www.harbortouch.com or contact 866-563-3045.

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METAPASS & CUSTOMS

Access management provider MetaPass has integrated and deployed its
virtualization-based, universal single sign-on (SSO)
solution for up to 4,000 concurrent users at the Customs Department in
Taiwan. Single sign-on gives computer users the ability to log onto multiple
systems without having to authenticate with multiple passwords. Users
log on securely once and then access all other applications with a
single click, drastically increasing network security and user
productivity, while reducing user frustration and help desk costs.
Taiwan’s leading system integrator Kang Da took care of the deployment of the
software at five operations centers covering the entire island.

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Premier Purchasing Partners Picks NPS

MA-based Nationwide Payment Solutions will provide credit card services
to CA-based healthcare alliance Premier Purchasing Partners.
The 36-month agreements are available to acute care and continuum of
care members of the Premier healthcare
alliance. Premier operates healthcare purchasing networks and the
nation’s most
comprehensive repository of hospital clinical and financial information.

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JSC & AMEX

JSC Bank of Georgia has signed an agreement to become exclusive
partner of American Express for Credit Card Acquiring and Issuing
business in Georgia. With this agreement, the Bank
expects to strengthen its position as the leading retail bank in Georgia
by expanding its current range of retail products and further increasing
its penetration into mass affluent retail market. Bank of Georgia is the largest bank by assets, loans, deposits and
equity in Georgia, with 33% market share by total assets with 140
branches and over 904,000 retail and more than 133,000 corporate current
accounts.

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Business Outpaces Consumer Credit Card Growth

A new report finds that the compound annual growth rate for business credit card volume, since 2001, is 20.6%, while the corporate card CAGR is 12.0% and the purchasing card CAGR is 13.7% during the same period. The study also suggests that from a top line perspective, corporations are offered incentives by issuers through rebate programs based on a combination of factors including a company’s travel volume, spend per card, payment terms, average transaction size, and credit losses. However, Boston-based Mercator Advisory Group notes that the commercial card market has some very fundamental differences from a risk perspective. Issuers have a particular gap or blind spot in creating a comprehensive view of exposure to a corporation, encompassing both commercial loan and card relationships. Also, solutions providers are just beginning to develop segment specific scoring models and analytics to properly manage the corporate card segment in the context of the broader corporate lending relationships.

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Smaller Average Tickets for Online Shoppers

In the 17-day period ending November 28th, online transactions were up 24% while sales dollar value was up 8.4%, resulting in the average ticket declining 12.8%. Online transactions for “Black Friday,” increased 34% with sales volume increasing 18% versus last year. The “Cyber Holiday Pulse Index” from Chase Paymentech also reports that sales volume for “Cyber Monday” increased less than half a percent from last year, but the transaction count was ahead of 2007 by 14.5%. This resulted in the average ticket size, or average dollar spent per transaction, decreasing 12% below last year. For the entire holiday season, transaction count has increased 25%, while sales volume has increased 11%. The average ticket is 12% below last year. The “Cyber Holiday Pulse Index” monitors the daily activity of 25 of the largest 150 Internet retailers.

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