PlasticVault Targets Gift Card Redemptions

Web-based gift card service Plastic Jungle has introduced the “PlasticVault” gift card registry. PlasticVault provides an effective and risk-free way for retailers to reach their gift card holders. According to a January poll conducted online by Plastic Jungle, nearly one-third of consumers said they received one or more gift cards over the holidays that they did not want. The same research also indicated that almost three out of every four consumers would be more likely to use an unwanted gift card if there was some sort of incentive. With detailed data on consumers’ gift card history, including the cards they possess as well as those they’ve bought, sold and traded, PlasticVault will enable increasing gift card redemption. Plastic Jungle is a Web site for gift card exchange and services, whether users want to buy gift cards at substantial savings, sell them for cash, or trade pre-owned gift cards with others.

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ACI and Simply Retail Solutions Integrate

Electronic payment software provider ACI Worldwide has entered into a strategic alliance with Simply Retail Solutions to combine and market their retail payment suites. The “SRS Multi-Channel Product Suite” manages a retailer’s entire portfolio of sales transaction solutions and facilitates exposure of information across channels for everything related to customers and inventory. The “ACI Retail Commerce Server” suite of solutions allows merchant retailers to tailor their payment acceptance strategy to maximize profits, manage transaction fees and optimize the customer purchase experience.

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Mobilians to Offer PaymentOne PhoneBill

Washington DC-based mobile payment provider Mobilians International, has signed an agreement with online payment provider PaymentOne Corporation to provide PaymentOne’s “PhoneBill” payment service to Mobilians’ merchants. Through this new partnership, Mobilians International’s merchants can reach over 150 million U.S. consumers, providing them the option to conveniently charge digital goods and services to their existing broadband and landline phone accounts.

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Fuel Prices to Drive 2008 Spending Down

More consumer research singles out rising fuel prices as the real driver of reduced spending this year. The Nielsen Company found that 49% of U.S. consumers are reducing their spending to compensate for rising gas prices by combining shopping trips and errands, eating out less and staying home more often. Meanwhile, MD-based ChangeWave found that 60% of consumers surveyed said they had less money to spend during the holidays due to increased gas prices, and 44% of consumers reported they planned on spending less money on holiday gifts in 2007 as compared to the prior year. About 57% of those spending less say they’re trying to improve their personal finances by reducing debt and saving more money. Nearly every consumer category in the survey scored lower than a year ago in terms of spending going forward. The decline was led by restaurant spending, followed by travel/vacation, consumer electronics, durable goods and household repairs/improvements.

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Givex Integrates with SmartPayments Server

Closed loop card technology provider Givex has announced the successful integration of Givex gift card and loyalty programs with Hypercom’s “SmartPayments Server” solution. In addition to processing real-time transactions from the Givex gift card program, merchants will benefit from a full range of support service, including 24/7 support, online reporting, program administration, card marketing and production. Hypercom provides high security, end-to-end electronic payment products and services.

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Citi U.S. Card Profits Sinks 60% as Losses Mount

Citigroup reported that 4Q/07 profits for its U.S. Cards unit declined 60% year-on-year to $398 million due to increased credit costs and litigation expenses. For the fourth quarter Citi reported a 36% increase in U.S. credit card losses of $595 million compared to $399 million in prior quarter. U.S. Credit card loss reserves were boosted by $493 million for 4Q/07 compared to $134 million for 3Q/07. U.S. card revenues for the quarter were flat at $3.6 billion. Bank credit card outstandings for the U.S. were up 4% to $116.4 billion compared to one-year ago. Private label card outstandings increased 6% to $34.4 billion. Purchase volume for the fourth quarter rose 8% to $87.8 billion. Citi’s account base at the end of the fourth quarter dipped 3% year-on-year to 149.1 million accounts, but up 2.7 million accounts from 3Q/07. Citi’s charge-offs for bankcard and private label cards rose to 5.11% for 4Q/07, compared to 4.53% in the prior quarter and 4.35% one-year ago. Overall delinquency (90+ days) increased to 1.76% from 1.59% for 3Q/07 to 1.62% for the fourth quarter 2006. For complete details on Citigroup’s 4Q/07 performance, visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]).

CITIGROUP
U.S. Credit Card Net Income
3Q/06: $1085 million
4Q/06: $1001 million
1Q/07: $ 897 million
2Q/07: $ 726 million
3Q/07: $ 852 million
4Q/07: $ 398 million
Source: CardData (www.carddata.com)

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

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MasterCard Tags Spots with Credit & Debit Cards

MasterCard is launching a new round of “Priceless” TV ads that feature both credit cards and debit cards at the end of each spot. The new commercials, which began airing yesterday, show the MasterCard logo flipping to reveal the two payment forms. This is the first time in 10-year history of the “Priceless” campaign that credit and debit cards were featured together. The new tag appears on three new breaking this week including “Catch,” “Dinner Out,” and “Milk.” Creative for the campaign is handled by McCann Erickson/New York.

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TIETOENATOR CARD SUITE

Societe Generale’s Rusfinance Bank has deployed TietoEnator’s
“Card Suite” solution to ensure consumer crediting and credit card
efficiency. Additionally, the solution will allow the bank to expand
geographically, subsequently increasing customer proposition
volume, and will afford customers greater convenience for account
access. TietoEnator provides solutions for credit card issuing,
acquiring and processing amidst a competitive financial market.
The solutions provider refines its client offering with the help of
16,000 experts across 30 countries while Rusfinance Bank, a wholly
owned subsidiary of the Societe Generale group, has 8000
commercial partners, nearly 1 million customers throughout Russia and
employs over 8000 staff.

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Intermec PC to Use Apriva’s POS Suite

Apriva has signed a deal to provide its “Secure POS Suite” on Intermec’s “CN3 Mobile Computer”. Apriva completed Class A certification of the CN3 Mobile Computer using the Apriva Secure POS Suite running on the device. Apriva’s Class A certification allows Apriva to provide a choice of Level 1, direct merchant support, or Level 2, ISO support, for the product. The Class A certification verifies that Apriva has fully reviewed and tested the solution and its usability on multiple processing partner platforms. Intermec develops, manufactures and integrates technologies that identify, track and manage supply chain assets. Apriva is a wireless solution provider for Point of Sale solutions.

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TRANSUNION & D&B PSAPL

TransUnion has acquired an equity stake in D&B Predictive Sciences
and Analytics Private Limited (D&B PSAPL) for undislosed terms. With
this acquisition, TransUnion will provide throughout Asia-Pacific
decisioning
services and IT services for the development of global generic and custom
model development. This is in addition to TransUnion’s contributions to
the development and maintenance of “CIBIL”, India’s first credit reporting
company and first generic scoring model. TransUnion provides consumer
reporting with the gathering, analyzing and delivering of information and
employs over 4,000 in more than 30 countries while Dun & Bradstreet
Predictive Sciences & Analytics Private Limited (D&B PSAPL) is a risk
management, predictive modeling & analytics technology solutions provider.

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CPSB & ZHEJIANG

China Postal Savings Bank has opened a branch in Zhejiang
province, the 20th of provinces in which the bank’s services are now
available. In terms of deposits, CPSB is China’s 5th largest commercial
bank and has been approved by the China Banking Regulatory
Commission for the establishment of 34 branches and more than
20,000 sub-branches. Furthermore, CPSB has registered deposits of
over 1.7 trillion yuan.

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