Clearing House Names a New Check Executive

The Clearing House Payments Company announced that SVP Jerry Milano, head of SVPCO Check Services, is retiring and SVP Susan Long will manage both paper check and electronic check clearing services. Milano came to The Clearing House five years ago after serving as President of Western Payments Alliance and played a key role in consolidating SVPCO’s paper check clearing businesses across the country. Earlier in his career, Milano was President of the Chicago Clearing House, President of the California Bankers Clearing House, and was Director of Payments Systems for the American Bankers Association. Over the past two years, Long has been responsible for managing the rapid growth of SVPCO’s image exchange operations. During that time, most of the nation’s largest financial institutions, as well as the Federal Reserve, have begun participating in the SVPCO Image Payments Network. In August 2007, the image network posted record volume of 263.8 million check images.

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Payment Rates Are Strong Despite Funky Economy

Monthly payment rates continued to remain healthy despite a challenged economy. MPR, or the amount that cardholders pay on their credit card debt each month, climbed to nearly 19% in August. The higher payment rates were driven by new minimum payment standards. According to CardData, the MPR declined to 18.30% in July, compared to 18.40% in the prior month and 20.46% one-year ago. While the dip historically has been seasonal, it appears that many borrowers are increasingly pressured by current economic factors. The combination of higher interest rates and a cooling off of the real estate market diminished the attractiveness of “cash out” refinancing activity in which many borrowers reduced their more expensive credit card debt by drawing on the equity in their home — either by refinancing their mortgages or by accessing their home equity lines of credit.

MONTHLY PAYMENT RATES
Aug 06: 20.20%
Sep 06: 20.02%
Oct 06: 20.83%
Nov 06: 20.01%
Dec 06: 19.70%
Jan 07: 19.88%
Feb 07: 18.79%
Mar 07: 18.21%
Apr 07: 18.04%
May 07: 19.01%
Jun 07: 18.40%
Jul 07: 18.30%
Aug 07: 18.99%
Source: CardData (www.carddata.com)

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Fantasy Entertainment Picks USAT’s e-Port

PA-based USA Technologies reported that NH-based Fantasy Entertainment, a major supplier of photo and imaging kiosks, has equipped 1,000 of its self-service photo booths nationwide with the “e-Port” cashless payment technology. Fantasy Entertainment is among the first to utilize USA Technologies’ recently announced “e-Port Connect” service, which supports the company’s cashless transaction product line, and Web-based terminal reporting system, “USALive.” Fantasy’s 3,000 self-service kiosks are located in shopping and entertainment centers, malls, theme parks, zoos, aquariums, hotels and resorts nationwide. The “e-Port Connect” service enables merchants to remotely manage and mobilize on-line and by wireless their unattended cashless points-of-sale locations, providing merchant services, networking and communication services, technical support and consumer help desk, and electronic transfer of funds.

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Mosaik MasterCard Kicks-Off Canada’s Chip & PIN

The first chip and PIN transaction made with a Canadian MasterCard chip card was conducted at a Toronto-area spa and salon. The transaction was made with a “BMO Mosaik MasterCard” at Tresses Spa and Salon on a Moneris POS terminal. Moneris Solutions has been providing merchants across the country with chip-compatible POS systems to accept chip cards with 75,000 chip-compatible payment devices in the marketplace. A major market trial of chip cards will take place in Kitchener-Waterloo, Ontario in a few months time and is a precursor to the national roll-out of chip cards. As a card issuer, “BMO Mosaik MasterCard” is the largest MasterCard issuer in Canada and is preparing for the phased introduction of chip cards to its cardholders. MasterCard notes that more than 70% of payment cards issued in Europe are chip-enabled.

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MasterCard Launches Smart Spending in Mexico

MasterCard has launched “Consumo Inteligente” (“Smart Spending”) an informational platform adapted to the Mexican reality. Mexico will spearhead the new program, which will also be available in other Latin American countries in the future. MasterCard’s customer banks and commercial partners will have free access to these educational materials that they can distribute to their clients. Represented by the family, the fundamental element of society, and which is made up of 4 members, the “Consumo Inteligente” program has a catchy visual image that provides the interactive tools needed to guide consumers in handling their personal finances and appropriately using their debit and credit cards.

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CO-OP Picks Transaction Network Services

VA-based Transaction Network Services has been selected to provide ATM and host connectivity managed network services to CO-OP Financial Services. CO-OP is the largest credit union service organization in the USA. TNS was selected because of its expertise in providing connectivity services to the ATM industry and its ability to support the evolution of CO-OP’s product offering. CO-OP Financial Services (formerly CO-OP Network) is the nation’s largest credit union service organization and is wholly-owned by its credit union shareholders.

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Generation X Poses Marketing Challenges

A new study paper from NY-based Media Logic finds that financial service companies face a complex marketing challenge with “Generation X,” because it is smaller in size than the technology-driven “Generation Y” and lacks the spending power of “Baby Boomers.” But, “Generation X’s “need for financial products and services is greater than any other age group and with the right understanding of this audience, marketers who are willing to take on the challenge of building deeper relationships with this segment can change the paradigm and be rewarded with great marketing opportunities. Media Logic is a strategic marketing and communications firm specializing in brand development, revenue generation, marketing planning and integrated communications.

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TSYS Acquiring Solutions Inks Veracity Payment

TSYS Acquiring Solutions has announced a multi-year agreement to provide merchant processing services to Atlanta-based Veracity Payment Solutions. Veracity is a new member service provider with decades of domestic and international industry experience at the executive level. Veracity will offer complete electronic payment processing services as well as card acceptance consultancy to businesses nationwide. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed. TSYS Acquiring Solutions is a supplier of acquiring solutions, related systems and integrated support services to the acquiring industry and its customers.

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Americans Mostly Understand Financial Basics

The third annual survey of America’s IQ on personal finance shows that Americans understand financial management basics, but that significant gaps still exist in their knowledge. The national survey of 1,003 men and women, conducted by consumer advocacy group Consumer Action and Capital One Financial finds that many Americans are missing important savings opportunities, and don’t take simple steps to protect themselves from crimes like identity theft. The 2007 survey found that: the majority of Americans (64%) consider themselves highly or very knowledgeable when it comes to personal finance; a strong majority of Americans use budgets to stay on top of their daily finances – 64% reported using budgets regularly; most Americans (53%) are still using traditional passbook savings accounts for their savings; and one in five Americans (22%) claim they do not know the interest rate on their mortgage.

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RBS Lynk Names a New Loyalty/Prepaid Executive

RBS Lynk announced the appointment of Asif Ramji as a SVP for the company’s prepaid and loyalty division. Ramji and his team will create the strategic initiatives to further grow RBS Lynk’s closed-loop and open-loop prepaid business and further opportunities in the rapidly emerging loyalty card market. Ramji has more than 12 years of experience in the prepaid and loyalty card transaction processing industry. Most recently he was North American vice president of sales with Ernex, the prepaid and loyalty card division of Moneris Solutions Corporation. Ramji was responsible for growing Ernex’s and Moneris’ prepaid and loyalty revenues by establishing leadership in key verticals and aggressively pursuing new market opportunities.

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PAY88 ONLINE EXPANSION

Pay88 has announced that its sales expansion for online, multi player
games is developing as projected with plans for expansion into the
Shanghai market. Following the recent success in the Chongqing market,
Pay88 will use similar techniques to penetrate the Shanghai market,
utilizing
new and established relationships. These developments are part of an effort
on behalf of Pay88 to accelerate sales of online, multi-player game cards
throughout China. Pay88 provides prepaid cards through an established
distribution network and online web presence over a secure platform for
transferring money and making online purchases. Over the next year,
the company plans to establish its services in 20 cities throughout the
country.

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ICT GROUP Completes PCI Certification

PA-based ICT GROUP has successfully completed its security audit and achieved full certification as a Level 1 Service Provider under the Payment Card Industry (PCI) Data Security Standard. ICT GROUP worked with an independent audit firm to achieve official validation and certification for its products and services under the credit card industry’s PCI security standard. Certification involved a complete audit with a 12-step approval process, ensuring that ICT GROUP has built and maintained a secure network, protected cardholder data, maintained a vulnerability management program, implemented strong access control measures, regularly monitored and tested networks, and maintained an information security policy. ICT GROUP is a global provider of customer management and business process outsourcing solutions.

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