Consumers Reluctant to Talk About Card Debt

New research shows that Americans are more comfortable talking about sex, weight, age, religious views and health problems over credit card debt. The latest poll for Creditcards.com by Roper Public Affairs finds 82% are reluctant to discuss their own credit card debts with someone they just met, 78% felt the same way in regards to the topic of their love life, 77% felt this way about their salary, 69% about monthly mortgage/rent, 58% about health problems, 49% about the death of someone close, 47% regarded weight as a hot topic, 37% felt religious views were taboo while 36% were not comfortable discussing political views and 26% were not comfortable discussing age. The reasons behind the topic of credit debt being a touchy one with Americans is easy to understand considering 35% disclosed they carry a balance, only 10% do not have credit cards, a mere 20% of those who do not carry a card balance would openly discuss the topic, 44% of those with household income of $50k+ carry a balance and 30% of those with incomes of $50k- do the same.

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CLICK4CREDIT.COM.AU

A recent survey of 500 consumers conducted by Click4Credit.com.au has
concluded 69.2% of Australians feel ANZ, Commonwealth, NAB and Westpac
banks are not providing the best credit card offers. Conducted through
Click4Credit’s credit card comparison website,
http://www.click4credit.com.au, the survey is reflective of high average
annual fees and higher interest rates paid by Australian credit
consumers compared to other national markets and the subsequent lower
interest rates/ reduced service fees on credit card products
increasingly available though smaller issuing organizations.
Click4credit.com.au specializes in the Australian credit card market and
is based in Brisbane, Queensland.

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ZINIO.COM & WEBCOLLECT

In an effort to expand online payment abilities through its “Zinio.com”
retail website, Zinio has partnered with GlobalCollect. This partnership
provides Zinio customers a choice of payment thanks to GlobalCollect
online payment platform, “WebCollect.” Payment accepted through
“WebCollect” include major international credit cards, such as Visa,
MasterCard, American Express and JCB,
Direct Debits, Maestro cards and Solo cards. The GlobalCollect online
payment platform offers a wide range of local e-payment methods and
currencies in over 200 countries while Zinio has offices in San
Francisco and New York.

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NetSpend and ACE Cash Express Renew Pact

NetSpend and ACE Cash Express have extended their agreements stipulating the latter’s distribution of NetSpend prepaid debit cards for an additional seven years. Initially signed 6 years ago, the agreements between the companies hold ACE Cash Express will continue to exclusively distribute the Meta Bank-issued, NetSpend general purpose reloadable cards and gift cards developed, marketed and processed by NetSpend, of which ACE Cash Express has so far distributed over 1.6 million. ACE Cash Express has a network of 1,792 stores in 38 states and the District of Columbia, consisting of 1694 company-owned stores and 98 franchised stores.

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MasterCard Launches a New Hispanic TV Spot

MasterCard has launched a new 30-second U.S. Hispanic television spot entitled “Luchador” as part of its “Priceless” integrated marketing campaign in conjunction with the re-launch of its Spanish language U.S. consumer website, “mastercardenespanol.com.” Leveraging the Mexican tradition of Lucha Libre wrestling, the ad spot follows a Hispanic wrestler and shows his use of his credit/debit MasterCard to pay for beauty services. “Luchador” will air in Chicago, Dallas, Harlingen, Houston; Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Phoenix, Sacramento, San Antonio and San Francisco on Spanish Spanish television in response to research demonstrating 75% of Hispanics prefer cash payment. Furthermore, MasterCard will also be initiating a series of grassroots campaigns to spark interest in plastic spending among Hispanics. Creative for the new “Priceless” campaign is handled by McCann Erickson/New York.

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GiftClixx Ramps Up Prepaid Card Competition

FL-based GiftClixx has inked a deal with Blackstone Calling Card to add 15,000 retail distribution locations for GiftClixx gift cards. GiftClixx is currently in the process of patenting its application. GiftClixx is a unique and proprietary peer-to-peer transaction routing and hosted service that allows retailers to communicate and negotiate directly with each other, striking the best possible terms and locations for third party distribution. The Company also says that adding Blackstone as one of its distribution partners offers retailers a opportunity for additional gift card channels at a much lower price point than that of its competitors. Blackstone offers a proprietary platform that provides complete merchant solutions from credit/debit processing, prepaid products and bill payment solutions through a multitude of interactive touch screen systems.

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NFC Forum Issues Two New Specifications

The NFC Forum has released “The Generic Control Record Type Definition” specification and the “Connection Handover” that stipulate the requesting of actions and the activation of alternative data transfers technologies between NFC enabled devices. “The Generic Control RTD specification” provides a simple way to request a specific action, such as starting an application or setting a mode on an NFC enabled device (destination device) from another NFC device, tag or card (source device) through NFC communication. “The Connection Handover” specification defines the structure and sequence of interactions that enable two NFC-enabled devices to establish a connection using other wireless communication technologies, such as WiFi or Bluetooth. The NFC Forum’s mission is to advance the use of Near Field Communication technology by developing specifications, ensuring interoperability among devices and services, and educating the market about NFC technology.

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Chase Freedom Card Offers Expanded Options

Chase has introduced its statement credit feature available to Chase Freedom customers to allow cardholders to spend reward points like cash. Providing rewards flexibility, redemptions of between $50 and 200 points can be distributed per statement credit allowing for customers to use accumulated reward points more quickly. Customers can even apply their reward points to their next statement, which are automatically adjusted based on consumers’ actual, month-to-month, everyday spending patterns. Additional benefits of Chase Freedom provide customers with 3% or 3 points per $1 on the top three of 15 Everyday spend categories, 1% on all other purchases, World Wildlife Foundation charity contribution and ASPCA charity contribution. JPMorgan Chase & Co. has assets of $1.6 trillion with 156 million credit cards issued and operations in more than 50 countries.

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ChargeSmart Launches a Card Payment Net

San Francisco-based ChargeSmart has launched a Web-based payment service allowing consumers to pay their mortgage, auto and education loans as well as utility bills using a major credit card with a network of more than 4,000 billers across the USA. ChargeSmart enables individuals with Internet access and a major credit card to make payments to companies in five different industries. Customers submit payments directly to ChargeSmart and indicate the amount they wish to pay and the recipient. The ChargeSmart system accepts, processes and remits payments electronically, ensuring every step from the customer to the payee is accounted for and traceable. The companyâ™s easy-to-use interface enables customers to gain reward points or miles from his or her card issuer.

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Consumer Economic Confidence Sinks Again

A monthly survey reveals that consumer economic confidence has hit a new low with the sixth month in a row that consumer attitudes about the economy have trended downward while spending intentions have risen with living expenses rising beyond their control. The latest “Discover U.S. Spending Monitor” fell almost a point in June to 85.9, nearly 30 points lower than a year ago. Since January, there has been a 50% increase in the number of people who expect to spend more next month – from 30% to 46% – and a surge of 20 points – from 46% to 66% in consumers who say they anticipate higher spending on everyday household expenses like gas and groceries. About 55% now say that they are cutting back on everyday living expenses to offset higher gas prices. And while 41% of consumers said their first line of defense against high gas prices is to cut back on entertainment spending, 16% said they looked to reduce gas and food expenses and 15% said they cancelled vacation plans. Only 15% of the country rates the economy as good or excellent – a record low – and 54% give the U.S. economy a poor rating – a record high.

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MasterCard Expands PCI Merchant Ed Program

MasterCard is launching three new seminars designed to help merchants protect payment card data and reduce the likelihood of reputational risk and the incidence of fraud. The new seminars are titled “Data Encryption: Understanding Encryption and PCI DSS,” “Network Segmentation,” and “Maximize Internal Preparations for PCI DSS.” The seminars expand MasterCard’s “PCI Merchant Education Program,” an initiative offered to acquiring bank customers to provide practical assistance in educating merchants and encouraging broader adoption of the PCI DSS. There are now 12 Web-based modules featuring actionable advice from MasterCard. Since the program launch in October 2007, more than 1,625 registered users have viewed the online training modules more than 3,200 times. In addition to the “PCI Merchant Education Program,” the MasterCard Academy of Risk Management offers a full curriculum of online seminars, global conferences, educational materials and other tools to help secure the payments system and promote secure commerce worldwide.

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