PC Lender Agrees to Settle FTC Charges

The FTC will collect up to $5 million in fines from BlueHippo Funding and Blue Hippo Capital for violating federal laws extending credit to consumers with poor or no credit. According to the FTC’s complaint, Blue Hippo offered to extend credit to consumers to finance purchases of personal computers and other consumer electronics with down payments of $99 to $124 and a year of weekly or bi-weekly payments ranging from $36 to $88. The defendants required consumers to agree to a series of automatic, periodic debits from their bank accounts to purchase their products, promising that they would deliver the product once the consumer made 13 weekly, or seven bi-weekly, payments. In many instances, the defendants debited consumers’ accounts without first disclosing that consumers could not get a refund even if they cancelled before delivery of the product, and regardless of the reason for cancellation. Many consumers did not receive the merchandise they ordered or refunds.

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Experian Rolls-Out Attribute Toolbox

Experian has introduced a data intelligence application that puts enhanced data access and attribute management capabilities directly into the hands of clients. Experian’s “Attribute Toolbox” allows institutions not only to connect to multiple data sources, but also to effectively build, fine tune and manage the attributes that are required to make informed decisions throughout the customer life cycle. “Attribute Toolbox” provides a service-based, platform-independent application that makes it easy to integrate with existing systems and allows a client to manage attributes with common tools across the enterprise. It also provides access to Experian’s industry leading library of more than 400 standard aggregated “STAGG” attributes.

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Shift4 Backpedals Over PCI DSS Claims

Last week Shift4 issued a press release incorrectly titled: “PCI DSS Does Not Apply to Merchants using Shift4’s 4Go Technology.” The Company says that while the body of the release was accurate, the headline was incorrect because PCI DSS does apply to Shift4 customers. Merchants concerned about PCI DSS compliance have an option that enables them to avoid many of its arduous requirements. Shift4’s “4Go SecureSuite” product offering is designed to streamline PCI DSS compliance for merchants while ensuring ongoing security. “4Go SecureSuite” from Shift4 uses “Card Information Replacement Technology” to provide an alternative approach to PCI DSS Version 1.1.

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HYPERCOM PRESIDENT

Hypercom has hired former MasterCard executive Heidi Goff as President and Managing Director, the Americas. Goff will join Hypercom next week to drive the Company’s sales, service and support throughout North America, South America, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central America. Goff served for 11 years with MasterCard International in leadership roles including SVP/Global Merchant Services and SVP and General Manager, Merchant Services. She was a founding executive and EVP of Global Payment Systems, EVP and GM of Transaction Network Services? North America division, and President and COO of U.S. Wireless Data. Hypercom recently purchased Thales’ e-Transactions business. (CF Library 2/14/08)

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Asset Acceptance Capital Q4 Revenue Inches Up

MI-based Asset Acceptance Capital reported that total revenues increased 1.1% to $62.2 million for the fourth quarter. The Company reported net income in the fourth quarter of $4.0 million, compared to net income of $9.8 million in the fourth quarter 2006. During the fourth quarter, the Company invested a record $62.8 million to purchase charged-off consumer debt portfolios with a face value of $1.5 billion, representing a blended rate of 4.10% of face value. This compares to the prior-year fourth quarter, when the Company invested $61.7 million to purchase consumer debt portfolios with a face value of $2.5 billion, representing a blended rate of 2.47% of face value. Legal collections in the fourth quarter were $37.6 million, an increase of 17.0% from the same period in 2006. For complete details on AACC’s latest performance visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]).

[1]: http://www.carddata.com

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FDC and Wells Fargo Extend Debit Deal

First Data has signed a multi-year contract extension with Wells Fargo Bank to provide debit processing services for Wells Fargo’s 19.6 million debit cards and provide Wells Fargo with consumer credit and small business card processing services, statement production and mailing, plastic card personalization and fraud detection services. First Data Corp. is a provider of electronic commerce and payment solutions for businesses worldwide.

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Discover Introduces New Cardholder Tools

Discover Financial Services has introduced two new financial tools for cardholders. The “Paydown Planner” and “Purchase Planner” help guide cardholders’ spending and payments by calculating the period of time it may take to pay down a balance or how a large purchase may affect their account. Unlike existing solutions, these tools are cardholder-specific. Each interactive planner is pre-populated with the cardholder’s account information to help ensure relevance, accuracy and ease of use. Cardholders have two choices when accessing the “Paydown Planner”: start with a monthly payment and see the approximate time period it will take them to reach their pay down goal or start with a target date and see an estimate of how much they will need to pay each month to reach that goal. The “Purchase Planner” helps cardholders understand how a purchase could affect their monthly payment and plans to pay down their balance. Like the “Paydown Planner,” cardholders can view results through two different options: enter the total purchase price and receive an approximate monthly payment amount needed to pay off their entire balance and enter the preferred monthly payment amount and receive an estimate of how much they can spend on a new purchase. Cardholders can also schedule payments in advance online, choose a payment due date, and opt to have automatic e-mail reminders to help them stay on top of their finances.

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TNB Releases a CU Card Portfolio White Paper

TX-based TNB Card Services has released a white paper detailing how credit unions can improve the performance of their credit card portfolios. Titled “Turning a Card Program into a High Performing Asset,” the 14-page, in-depth paper shows how CUs can maximize existing accounts by managing attrition, controlling risk, increasing income through usage and fees, and growing the account base through desirable products, attractive pricing, and compelling loyalty programs. It also addresses the importance of marketing and promotion. TNB Card Services serves more than 500 financial institutions of all sizes and manages more than 1.9 million cards.

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DOVETAIL PAYMENTS

Carried out using the Dovetail SEPA Solution, a universal payments system,
Sun Laboratories’ 6-week testing trials have determined Dovetail Payments
System is scalable, flexible and high-performance. Testing of the new
solution
encompassed its Credit Transfer, Direct Debit payments, IBAN/BIC lookup,
validation, accounting and advising. This standard for testing was
established
in 2007 when payment throughput of 4.3 million an hour was achieved.
Dovetail solutions was founded in 1999, providing hardware and technology
solutions to banks worldwide.

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MasterCard’s Oscar Commercial Draws Attention

MasterCard’s “Studious Pupil” commercial was one of the most entertaining commercials in the “Oscars.” The ad featured a 20-something guy, in a shrunken shirt and red tie, with a new eye for “searching for the priceless things in life.” The MasterCard commercial got favorable response and ranked very high in entertainment value, particularly with Facebook users. Using “MIMIEO,” fans on Oscar Night watched and voted on ads shown during the “Academy Awards” broadcast. Thousands of responses were collected from multiple platforms including social networking Web site Facebook, mobile phones, and the web. Men and women were asked to rank how well they liked the entertainment value of each ad, and whether they were more or less likely to purchase the product after seeing the commercial. A four times increase in Facebook traffic over the Super Bowl was observed, indicating a growing preference for people to communicate with social networking websites.

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MONITISE EXEC

Monitise Americas has appointed Jeff McLaughlin as the Executive VP
of Mobile Strategy to drive accelerated mobile banking use in the US,
Canada and Mexico. McLaughlin brings with him over 13 years’ experience
in the wireless industry, having worked with such organizations as
mFoundry,
McCaw Cellular/AT&T Wireless, BCGI, GetConnected and Refresh
Mobile, and is the author of “Consumer’s Guide to Cell Phones & Wireless
Service”. Since its inception in the Fall of 2007, Monitise Americas has
signed
agreements with 20 financial institutions to provide customers the
convenience
of “Mobile Financial Services”, which includes account review, funds
transfer
and text message alerts.

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ACH Webinars Slated for Mid March

ACH Direct will host a series of webinars on ACH topics, produced and presented by the Upper Midwest ACH Association, beginning March 11th. Registered participants will be able to view presentations beginning with an “Introduction to ACH” followed by “Authorization Requirements”, “Unauthorized Entries and Stop Payments”, “Exception Processing (Returns & NOCs”, “e-Check Conversion Products”, “WEB and TEL Entries” and “ACH File Formats- Record Information.” ACH Direct is a payment processor offering a comprehensive suite of payment processing and risk management solutions for credit card, debit card and E-check (ACH) acceptance.

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