Consumer Spending Index Hits a 28-Year Low

Another consumer index fell into negative territory during October driven by the rise in unemployment claims and the shaky housing market. The Deloitte Research “Leading Index of Consumer Spending” says this is the first time its “Index” turned negative in 28 years. The “Index,” comprising four components — tax burden, initial unemployment claims, real wages and real home prices — fell 10 basis points, from a revised gain of 54 basis points a month ago. In the past three months, the “Index” has fallen 175 basis points, the sharpest deceleration in the “Index” since October 1990. The fall in energy prices softened the decline somewhat. Deloitte Research noted that house prices fell by 13.4% in October and initial unemployment claims shot up in the most recent month and are now up 51% from a year ago. The research firm also projects energy prices will continue to go lower.

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ALL ABOUT ME PCS

Card program provider Serverside has launched “AllAboutMe PCS”, a turn-key system that provides
payment card design software, allowing card processors,
personalization bureaus and other ‘aggregators’ to re-sell the
templated card customization platform to their clients.
Through a simple administration console, aggregators can set up custom
interfaces of the card designer to match the brand requirement of an
issuer’s card program within a matter of minutes – and without the need
to directly involve Serverside. In addition to the core technology, aggregators are provided with sales
material to introduce card customization and support its ROI. They are
also given full instructional and administrative modules to provide the
world-class card customization technology seamlessly to their clients.
Serverside has a global network of top-tier hosting
facilities delivering card customization.

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M-PAYMENT INITIATIVES

Innopay and Telecompaper have released an update to
their annual report “Mobile Payments 2008” that reveals that market experts are now predicting that the
market will reach 10 billion by 2010. The updated report includes a detailed listing and graphical mapping of
more than 100 worldwide mobile payment initiatives including 27 initiatives
launched in the last four months and presents over a hundred pages of
analysis on the attraction of mobile payments and the critical issues that need to be
resolved to make them a success including: a lack of mainstream contexts niche opportunities exist but mainstream
payment contexts saturated with existing solutions; ecosystem – complex value chain with lack of co-operation;
standards – lack of interoperability and technology standards; technology/security concerns; incumbent solutions –
competitiveness of existing payment methods in
developing economies; regulator readiness/regulation not in line with the increasing
interest.

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QSR/C-Store Specialist is PCI Compliant

CA-based integrated retail management solution provider XProtean announced
that their QSR and Convenience Store Solutions achieved PCI compliance.
XProtean customers will now be able to assure consumers that their
businesses protect cardholder information as no credit card track data is stored once a
transaction is processed. As a leading provider of Integrated Retail
Management Solutions for small format retailers, XProtean completed PABP compliance
requirements to protect customers and their businesses.
The PABP audit was performed by Coalfire System, Inc, a Visa-approved independent
quality service assessor.

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FAS & MOBICOM

Mobicom’s Korean subsidiary, Mobicom Korea,
has sold shares of its common stock representing a 50% ownership interest to Korean based investment company
FAS Alliances, worth $.8 million. In addition, FAS Alliances has committed to invest an
additional $16.5 million in Mobicom Korea over the next sixteen months,
subject to Mobicom Korea achieving revenue and net income targets for
the years ending 2008 and 2009. Mobicom Corporation announced an operating loss for the quarter ended September 30, 2008.
Mobicom Corporation’s net revenues were $346,507 for the three months
ended September 30, 2008, compared to $49,904 for the same period in
2007, an increase of 594%. Nine month net revenues for the nine months
ended September 30, 2008 were $3,210,805 compared to $115,214 in the
same period in 2007, an increase of 2,787%. The net loss for the three months ended September 30, 2008 was
$1,025,162 compared to a net loss of $265,315, for the same period in
2007.

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FTPS to Offer Kalignite ATM Software Suite

ATM vendor KAL and Fifth Third Processing Solutions have signed an agreement to offer KAL’s
“Kalignite Suite of Multi-Vendor Windows” ATM software to its financial
institution customers. As a result of this agreement, Fifth Third will expand
support of Windows-based ATMs for financial institutions to include
terminal driving, processing, switching, monitoring, Windows ATM
software, and industry-leading ATM operating tools. This expanded
support affords financial institutions a greater opportunity to increase
their ATM-derived income and improve the customer experience while
managing operational expenses for their ATMs. KAL provides its clients ATM
and kiosk software as well as branch banking software through its
Kalignite Suite of Products.

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SMARTCENTRIC & LUKOIL

SmartCentric Technologies International has been awarded the
contract to develop a new Fuel Card system for LUKOIL-Inter-Card to be rolled out across LUKOIL’s extensive network of
filling stations. The cards can be used for fuel and oil products as well as purchases of
other goods and services while a full settlement, invoicing, VAT reimbursement and
reporting system allows for seamless system operation as well as Internet based client
portals for fast and efficient registration and system management.
The new cards will also include a loyalty application which will allow
LUKOIL to offer its customers incentives for their purchases which can then be
redeemed in-store at filling stations as well as offering discounts with group
partners. The POS equipment will accept multiple card types including magnetic
stripe, contact and contactless chip cards and even contactless car mounted devices and
payment via mobile phone technology. In addition, cards issued by other fuel companies, banks and card
processors will be accepted in the system which will also offer multiple customer solutions
including prepaid or account based fleet cards, single use cards and end
user consumer cards.

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Hypercom Moves Up in the FinTech 100

Hypercom Corporation sits at the number 33 spot on the FinTech 100 annual ranking of the top technology
providers to the global financial services industry making it the only
provider of high security card payment terminals and services to be
recognized for five consecutive years. The FinTech 100 is a ranking of the top 100 application/service
providers in the financial services market, focusing on vendors that derive more than
one-third of their revenue from the financial services industry. Vendors are ranked
based on 2007 calendar year-end revenues and the percentage of revenues from
sales to financial services clients.

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BIOMETRIC FORECAST

A recent study by ABI Research titled “Biometrics”examines the
technologies used to collect and manage biometric data, and their
applications, covering international and industry standards, key
vendors, and deployments within the biometrics market with a global
forecasts spanning 2007-2013.
Biometrics move into everyday life will help familiarize a broad
population with the concept of using biometric measurements and systems
to protect their own data. The combined growth in both government, law
enforcement and private
sectors for biometrics will drive spending on biometrics systems over
the next five years up to $7.3 billion by 2013, up from around $3
billion in 2008. Although biometrics increasingly pushes into corporate
and consumer
deployments, traditional government and law enforcement biometrics
spending will continue to dominate investment over the next five years.
However, the ability to leverage technologies developed for the public
sector in private sector and personal deployments will be increasingly
important.

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Online Holiday Sales to Rise as Stores Sink

A new survey of online households found that those planning to spend more than $500 in stores declined to 16% this year compared to 21% in 2007. However, those planning to spend more than $500 online rose to 5% from 4% last season. The “Consumer Internet Barometer,” a quarterly report produced by The Conference Board and TNS also found that online households planning to spend between $100 and $499 in stores declined to 57% from 61% and those planning to spend less than $100 in stores increased to 22% from 16% last year. By comparison 36% of the number of households planning to spend between $100 and $499 in stores will spend that amount online. About 32% of online households planning to spend less than $100 in stores will spend that amount online. TNS “Retail
Forward” forecasts online sales to reach $42.5 billion in the fourth quarter, up $3.5 billion from last year.

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U.S. Consumers Project a Long-Term Recession

New consumer research shows that more than half believe the current recession will last longer than 12 months. The Nielsen Company found that 86% of U.S. consumers believe the country is currently in a recession. The least amount of confidence was expressed by 25- to 29-year olds, with just 6% saying the recession would be over within 12 months. Fifty-two percent of consumers in this age range say they do not feel the recession’s end would come that soon. Similarly, only 7% of consumers age 65 and over believe the recession will be over within the year, with 63% of consumers in this age range saying they don’t believe the recession will be over within 12 months. About 38% of U.S. consumers consider the economy their biggest concern over the next six months. Increasing fuel prices comes in a distant second place at 10%, followed by debt (9%), increasing utility bills (7%), increasing food prices (5%) and job security (5%). Nielsen also found that after covering essential living expenses 36% of consumers plan to use the spare cash to pay off debts, credit cards or loans.

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