FGB PLATINUM CARD

First Gulf Bank (FGB) has extended its partnership network to upgrade
its Platinum-card offering. The network enhancement now provides
Platinum customers with enhanced benefits including fuel cash back,
reward redemptions at malls and redemptions at UAE entertainment
centers. Also thanks to the network enhancement, FGB Platinum can
provide customers with discounts at Dubai Creek Golf & Yacht Club,
the Emirates Golf Club, Jebel Ali Golf Resort & Spa and the Abu Dhabi
Golf Club by Sheraton, in addition to 2,400 golf clubs around the
world. The extension of the FGB Platinum Card network compliments
the worldwide acceptance of the Platinum Cards, which are currently
accepted at over 28 million establishments in 210 countries.

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LIVE MORE CREDIT CARD

In honor of Lent, The Methodist Church has introduced its “Buy Less:
Live More Credit Card” to encourage customers to spend less. With the
new card, consumers are reminded not to buy unnecessary goods and
services, leading to a subsequent increase in carbon offsetting and a
decrease in consumerism. Designed to fit in the user’s wallet, the “Buy
Less: Live More Credit Card” is to be placed in front of other credit
cards as a reminder for this cause, rather than as a contributor against it,
and cannot be used for purchases of any kind. Experts responsible for the
card design say the new solution will allow users to reconsider priorities
and weigh the differences between their wants and needs.

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Incentives/Training Drive Agent Card Sales

Even though the vast majority of all portfolio sale deals last year included an agent credit card program going forward, the performance of the agent relationship is dependent on how well trained and aggressive the agents are. A new analysis reveals that “weak performers” that offer no card sales incentives for the retail branch sales staff produce less than 72 accounts per year per branch while “Best in Class” performers generate more than 144 accounts per year per branch. Seasoned agent bank/credit union specialist R.K. Hammer also found that a branch turning in the bottom tier of performance generally promoted other retail products over credit cards. “Medium Performers” were characterized by 84 to 96 new accounts per year per branch; some incentives for branch personnel, but distribution often discretionary by the branch manager; better reporting down to the employee level, and continuous emphasis on card sales. The “Best in Class” peer group offered a wide variety of cash, gift, and trip incentives; excellent monthly reporting; continuous training and retraining, not only on its own products, but competitors as well; had a major focus on aggressive activation of new accounts.

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GLOBAL POWERS OF RETAIL

According to the new Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu report, the “2008 Global
Powers of Retail”, Chinese and Russian retailers have made the top 250
largest retailers in the world for the first time. Compiled in
conjunction with
STORES magazine, the report’s findings show that among these retailers,
China’s Bailian Group ranked 101 on the list while Russia’s X5 Retail Group
N.V. was ranked 191. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., however, remained the
world’s largest retailer with the Carrefour Group coming in at a distant
second
place. Furthermore, the overall total sales for all 250 retailers rose
to $3.25
trillion in fiscal 2006, up 8% from the year prior, with an average net
profit
of 3.6 %. Deloitte provides services and advice in over 140 countries,
through
over 150,000 advisors around the world, to over 80% of the world’s
largest companies.

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ViVOtech Intros the ViVOpay 5000m System

NFC specialist ViVOtech has introduced a new payment system providing a single point of acceptance for both advanced contactless and legacy mag-stripe payment technologies. The new “ViVOpay 5000m” offers extra features for retailers adopting emerging mobile commerce and promotion applications based on NFC mobile phone technologies. The “ViVOpay 5000m” LCD screen lets merchants display transaction amount and customized messages for promotions and incentives. The new contactless payment reader can also be easily adapted to extend new technology to existing POS and ECR systems. ViVOtech also announced that The Paradies Shops has selected ViVOtech contactless payment terminals for their over 500 retail stores in over 60 airports and hotels across the U.S. and Canada.

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Retail Pro v9 is Introduced

Retail Pro has introduced the latest version of “Retail Pro 9” featuring, among other items, multi-language, multi-currency, multi-company capabilities and a wide variety of predefined reports. Retail Pro 9 incorporates a number of new features such as the exchange data at near real time allowing for an accurate snapshot of any element in the store; improved sales functionality for greater detailed customer data capture, enhanced customer purchase tracking, improved tendering for smoother transactions, gift receipts, centralized returns and customer lookup; enhanced sales order functionality eases the interface between receipts and customer orders, layaways, special orders and gift registries. Retail Pro is a provider of Point of Sale, Store Operations, Merchandising, Planning, Business Intelligence, and Payment Processing software applications for the specialty retail industry.

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Hypercom Rolls-Out SmartPayments EasyRetail

Hypercom has introduced a new product that provides cardholder-facing payment terminals to single-lane checkout counters. The new “SmartPayments EasyRetail” combines the “Optimum L4150” and “Optimum L4250” multi-lane terminals with its PC-based “SmartPayments” electronic payment processing software. The product also provides the ability to support integrated plug-ins for Microsoft’s “Retail Management System” and Intuit’s “QuickBooks” accounting packages. The new product offers plug and play integration and offers an intuitive interface for merchants and consumers, including customizable prompts for both terminals. Hypercom says the new system speeds up transactions as the cardholder and cashier are simultaneously interacting with the payment transaction. Payment data is instantaneously transmitted to the terminal screen and processor database, negates the need for retailer manual entry and/or two receipts, and speeds reconciliation by incorporating the processor’s approval code and other data into the POS system for easy retrieval.

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PaySimple Lands a Former GPN Executive

Denver-based PaySimple has hired David Sharp, formerly with Global Payments, as VP/Business Development . As Vice President of the Western Region for Global Payments, Sharp was responsible for managing sales and business development activities for Global Payments’ merchant acquiring and network processing services for the ISO, processors, and financial institution marketplace. Prior to joining Global in 2000, he managed the southeastern sales territory for TransFirst, offering agent bank processing to the community bank market. Sharp currently serves on the Western States Acquirers Association advisory board, as well as the Awards and Recognitions Committee for the Electronic Transactions Association. He earned his BA in International Business from the University of Georgia.

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PAYMENTS PARTNERSHIP

La Banque Postale and Societe Generale have signed a memorandum of
understanding for the collaboration of electronic-payment investment,
maintenance and operational costs. With this agreement, the 2 organizations
will establish headquarters in Paris and will initiate operations on April
1st, 2008 to reduce cost and corroborate expertise. In doing so, the banks
will share ATMs, IT processing management of transaction systems and retail
operations. La Banque Postale and Societe Generale have a combined volume
of 10 million cards issued, over 100,000 retailer contracts and 10,000
ATMs.
Societe Generale financial service group retail networks and financial
services
account for 27.6 million private customers around the world, has asset
management & investor services of EUR 2,585 billion and has a leading
corporate & investment banking segment while La Banque Postale has over
29 million clients, 11.2 million post office accounts and employs 5,270
financial
advisers.

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BANK OF EAST ASIA

The Bank of East Asia has been approved to issue debit cards
throughout China with plans to establish a domestic data center in
the near future. The bank was first incorporated in April of 2007
and this, along with additional developments, is part of its effort to
address wealth management and private banking operations.
Furthermore, the Bank of East Asia is among 5 foreign banks
recently approved by the China Banking Regulatory Commission
to operate a bank card businesses.

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