Financial Fitness Ranked High by U.S. Adults

A recent American Express survey of 2,025 U.S. adults aged 18 and older conducted by Harris Interactive shows that improving financial fitness is equally as important as physical fitness in 2008. However, a 2007 J.D. Power and Associates Credit Card Study reveals that 51% of U.S. adults whose credit card(s) have benefits do not think they are taking full advantage of those benefits and features. Of the survey respondents, 48% said they have a desire to learn more about Rewards Programs, 40% want to learn about Identity Theft / Account Protections, 35% want information about the Buyer Protection Services, 29% about the Traveler Protection Services and 21% want more information about insurance.

Details

Debt Disease Video Contest is Launched

A new video contest has been launched offering a top prize of $5,000 for the best student-made public service announcement regarding credit cards. The Service Employees International Union and the League of Young Voters are running the “Keep It In Your Pants” video contest. The “it” featured in a video promoting a new contest for budding filmmakers is the growing problem of “Debt Disease” among young Americans. The first-place winner of the “Keep It In Your Pants” contest — open to students 14 years of age and older enrolled in middle school, junior high, high school, college, or graduate school — will receive a $5,000 scholarship for school-related expenses. Four runners-up will each win a $500 scholarship for school-related expenses. Submissions will be accepted until March 12th.

Details

MasterCard Offers a PCI DSS SAQ Webinar

Mastercard has a webinar to support the new “PCI Data Security Standard Self-Assessment Questionnaire”, intended to simplify and streamline the assessment process for merchants. The webinar will highlight the various self assessment questionnaire (SAQ) types and discuss how to choose the right SAQ, tips and strategies for compliance as well as other related topics. This is the latest component to MasterCard’s ongoing commitment to industry education and knowledge sharing. In October 2007, MasterCard launched the PCI Merchant Education Program, an initiative offered to acquiring bank customers that provides practical assistance in educating merchants and encouraging broader adoption of the PCI DSS.

Details

PowerPay and Synergent Team for New England

ME-based PowerPay and Synergent announced an exclusive relationship to offer payment processing solutions to credit unions across Greater New England. Under the agreement, PowerPay provides credit card, electronic payment, gift and loyalty cards and other payment processing to Synergent clients located throughout the region. By selecting PowerPay as a preferred solutions provider, Synergent adds payment processing solutions for business to its broad range of services including technology, core processing, item processing and print/creative services. PowerPay services include: payment acceptance; credit, debit, loyalty and gift cards; business-to-business and government purchasing cards; petroleum cards; electronic check verification and standard, high-speed wireless point-of-sale (POS) solutions.

Details

MASTERCARD 4Q/07

MasterCard posted fourth quarter net income of $304 million. Net revenues for the quarter were more than $1 billion, a 28% increase over 4Q/06. MasterCard’s gross dollar volume, which increased 15%, on a local currency basis, rose to $634 billion; also, a 17% increase was posted in the number of transactions processed to 5.2 billion; and, an increase in cross-border volumes ramped-up to 28%. Total operating expenses increased 13.5%, to $901 million, during the fourth quarter compared to the same period in 2006. Currency fluctuations contributed 3.3% of the increase in expenses for the fourth quarter. During the quarter, the company made a $10 million cash contribution to the MasterCard Foundation, completing MasterCard’s previously disclosed intention to contribute up to $40 million in cash to the Foundation within four years following MasterCard’s May 2006 initial public offering. For complete details on MasterCard’s fourth quarter performance, visit CardData (www.carddata.com).

Details

Lawsuit Filed Over Westfield Gift Cards

San Diego-based Finkelstein & Krinsk have filed a class action lawsuit against Westfield America. The lawsuit alleges that Los Angeles-based Westfield wrongfully imposes a monthly charge against the outstanding account balance of its “Westfield Gift Cards” sold both online and at its Westfield shopping centers starting one year after the date of issuance. The lawsuit seeks to recover damages on behalf of all California residents who purchased or received a Westfield America Gift Card on or after January 11, 2004.

Details

Bankrate Revenues Up 22%; Acquires 2 More

Bankrate reported that total revenue for the fourth quarter increased by 22% to $25.2 million. Net income increased by 5% to $4.1 million. Online revenue for the quarter increased by 33% to $22.8 million while graphic advertising revenue increased 29% to $12.5 million in the fourth quarter. Hyperlink revenue increased 39% to $10.3 million and print publishing and licensing revenue for the fourth quarter was $2.5 million, a decrease of $1.1 million, or 32%, compared to 4Q/06. During the quarter, Bankrate acquired TN-based Nationwide Card Services for $27.4 million and NY-based Savingforcollege.com for $2.3 million. Additionally, Bankrate announced it acquired the assets of CO-based InsureMe and CA-based Lower Fees, Inc, which operates feedisclosure.com. The purchase price for the assets of InsureMe was $65 million and Fee Disclosure were acquired for $2.85 million. For complete details on Bankrate’s fourth quarter performance visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]).

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

Details

PCI Council Simplifies its Merchant SAQ

The PCI Security Standards Council unveiled a new process for eligible merchants to self certify their PCI compliance. As a direct result of feedback from the payments community, the Council has simplified the “self assessment questionnaire” for merchants by separating it into four distinct scenarios that map to merchants IT arrangements. This new questionnaire is aimed at saving merchants time and money with their PCI compliance program. Instead of grappling with an 11 page document that contains many questions that may not be applicable to various sets of merchants, the new streamlined process allows merchants to select in advance a questionnaire that best fits their business. The updated SAQ’s (there are now several different versions) represent a major initiative by the Council to help merchants secure their credit card transactions.

Details

Bank Freedom Prepaid Card Lands Funding

Las Vegas-based Berman Marketing Group has received private funding for its “Bank Freedom Prepaid Debit Card.” The Bank Freedom Prepaid Debit Cards work much like a checking account or a prepaid credit card only you don’t need a bank account to use or get one. The cardholder deposits cash onto the prepaid debit card at one of 40,000 retail locations or have a paycheck directly deposited onto the prepaid debit card. There are an estimated 60 million Americans that dont qualify for bank accounts and or credit cards, known as America’s underbanked. The Berman Marketing Group is a multi-channel direct market firm.

Details

Wright Express Q4 Revenues Rise 28%

Fuel card specialist Wright Express posted fourth quarter revenues of $90.7 million, up 28% from 4Q/06. Total MasterCard purchase volume grew 45% to $484.3 million, from $332.9 million for the comparable period in 2006. Fuel transactions processed increased 7% from 4Q/06 to 63.1 million. Payment processing transactions increased 18% to 53.4 million, and transaction processing transactions decreased 31% to 9.7 million. Average expenditure per payment processing transaction increased 29% to $62.69 from $48.69 for the same period last year. The Company noted that the new private label relationship it established with Citi in the fourth quarter was a significant milestone. Wright Express also announced it has entered into a definitive asset purchase agreement to acquire certain assets of privately held Pacific Pride Services, Inc. for approximately $32 million in cash. For complete details on Wright Express’ current and past performance, visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1])

WRIGHT EXPRESS HISTORICAL
4Q/06: $71 million
1Q/07: $72 million
2Q/07: $86 million
3Q/07: $88 million
4Q/07: $91 million
Source: CardData (www.carddata.com)

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

Details