CASH FLOW TRENDS

A new VISA-commissioned white paper says there has been an increase in the sophistication of cash flow forecasting processes due to recent improvements in information technology and advances in forecasting techniques and that the problems facing forecasters have grown more challenging as a result of increased exports and the heavier use of debt in financing. VISA says several of the cash flow forecasting trends favor electronic payments and payment cards because they provide direct access to easily categorized revenue and spending data. According to the paper, tougher regulations favor electronic payments and cards because they provide control over incoming funds and allow companies to limit access to these funds to authorized parties. In addition, limiting corporate purchases to electronic payments and cards makes it easier for firms to monitor cash outflows and prevent unauthorized expenditures, because these payments are easier to document and provide an audit trail. Also, centralization favors electronic payments and cards for receivables and payables, because of the direct access to information on future promised cash flows that is provided.

Details

Economists Suggest a Mixed Holiday Season

A major economic research firm says the declining housing market, a volatile stock market and rising unemployment claims, will likely add up to a mixed holiday season for retailers this year. Deloitte Research expects holiday sales, excluding automobiles and gasoline, to increase 4.5% to 5.0% during the November-to-January period, less than last year’s 5.1% increase, and a more modest holiday selling season compared to the past decade. A survey commissioned by Deloitte in January 2007 found that retailers lost sales during the holiday season due to customer service, store navigation and inventory issues. Out-of- stock items, long lines at registers, unavailable or unhelpful sales help, and confusing store layouts caused many customers to leave stores without making purchases.

Details

ZKA CERTIFIES SAGEM ORGA

Zentraler Kreditausschuss (ZKA), Germany’s Central Credit Committee,
has granted the Sagem Orga smart card solution, SECCOS 6.1, approval
for use in Germany and on the SEPA framework. The SECCOS 6.1 smart
card platform will begin deployment with 500,000 cards in November 2007
to protect against card fraud with multi-application architecture for
customer-
specific applications. With nearly 125 million payment cards in Germany and
cashless payment becoming increasingly significant, SECCOS (Secure Chip
Card Operating System) smart cards certification by ZKA has provided a
strategic growth opportunity for the organization. Based on an ISO 7816
system, SECCOS security architecture enables a wide range of applications
with an electronic chip that is faster than its predecessor and provides
more
memory.

Details

AEBN to Deploy Trustcash Payment System

Trustcash Holdings, NY-based online payment system, has signed an agreement with Adult Entertainment Broadcast Network (AEBN) to offer Trustcash on the AEBN web site. AEBN streams over 50,000 full-length movies from over 1,300 different studios with more than 600 new titles added to its system each week providing adult content entertainment to thousands of satisfied customers. With its unique pay-per-minute system and the absence of membership fees, AEBN offers the adult entertainment consumer maximum flexibility. Trustcash developed a business based on the sale of a stored value card (both virtual and physical) that can be used by consumers to make secure and anonymous purchases on the Internet without disclosing their credit card or personal information.

Details

RED & UNISYS

Retail Decisions (ReD) and Unisys China (Unisys) have signed agreements to
implement ReD’s Fraud Prevention solution, “PRISM,” for China UnionPay
Data Co(CUP), a Chinese bankcard processor for 16 of the country’s 29
card-issuing banks. The partnership will provide CUP with real-time fraud
prevention and a control solution with project management and systems
integration services provided by Unisys. This will reduce CUP’s fraud
losses,
improve customer service and improve operational efficiency. ReD payment
card issuer and card fraud preventer has over 19 years of experience in the
market. Operating in over 100 countries, Unisys has provided IT business
solutions since 1971 and provides IT services for more than 100 companies,
primarily in financial services. CUP was established in 2003 to provide
banks
with processing services.

Details

Payday Lender Closes Over 100 Centers

Payday lender Advance America, Cash Advance Centers has decided to close 31 centers in Pennsylvania, 45 centers in Oregon, and 27 underperforming centers in various other states. In July, the Company announced that the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania issued a ruling directing the Company’s subsidiary in Pennsylvania to immediately suspend its current operations and discontinue its “Choice Line of Credit”. As a result of the Commonwealth Court’s ruling, the Company immediately ceased providing its line of credit in Pennsylvania. The Company has decided to close 31 of its 98 centers in Pennsylvania but maintain leases on the remaining 67 centers while it evaluates alternatives to service customers in that state. The Company expects to make a decision regarding the balance of the Pennsylvania centers over the next several months. The Company expects to write-down most of the value of its receivables in Pennsylvania and Oregon and accrue for the anticipated costs of closing the centers in Pennsylvania, Oregon, and the 27 underperforming centers, including lease termination costs and employee severance.

Details

TELEKURS ACQUIRES 3C

Telekurs has announced its acquisition of payment service provider, 3C
Communications from Tele2. The 3C Group provides payment solutions
for hotels/restaurants, parking facilities/ticket machines and e-commerce
processing over 50 million transactions annually with around 40 employees.
The payment service provider processes transactions on a flexible EMV-
compliant infrastructure and is Telekurs 2nd acquisition of the year.

Details

Australians Set Card Debt and Volume Records

Australians set two records as credit card debt and transaction volume set new highs in July. Credit card debt climbed to A$41.0 billion. Credit card volume also soared by A$1 billion over the previous month. Credit card debt rose 12%, compared to July 2006. Credit card limits also reached a new high at A$108.7 billion, marking the eleventh consecutive month of A$100+ billion. Card volume was A$17.5 billion during July, compared to a previous record of A$17.4 billion set in May, according to the Reserve Bank of Australia. One-year ago credit card debt stood at A$36.7 billion. There are currently 13.6 million credit card and charge card accounts in Australia, compared to 13.1 million one-year ago.

Details

MONITISE & METAVANTE

Metavante Bank and Monitise Mobile payment service have joined for
the introduction of “Monitise Americas LLC” mobile banking solution to
launch in late 2007. The solution will be made available to American
customers of banks for balance inquiries, mini-statements, funds transfers,
cell phone top-ups and payments. With over 233 million American cell
phone users, the Monitise “Americas” has compatibility with most mobile
handsets, connects through ATM networks, and allows financial institutions
to deliver mobile banking and payment services. The solution was designed
to allow banking customers the convenience of an ATM on their mobile
handset specifically for the North American mobile banking and payments
market. Metavante Corporation provides account processing solutions to
8,600 financial services firms and businesses worldwide. Monitise plc is a
specialist in mobile banking and payments technology.

Details

Economic Indicators Point South in August

The latest economic indicators are pointing to slower growth in the months ahead. The Conference Board’s “Composite Index of Leading Economic Indicators” declined 60 basis points in August, following a 70 basis points increase in July, and a 10 basis points decrease in June. The CB says the loss of household assets, if combined with weak employment growth, could have a negative impact on consumer spending going forward. Also, business confidence has been edging lower for some time. However, one of the ten indicators that make up the leading index increased in August. The positive contributor was real money supply.

Details

JULY DEBT

Credit card debt climbed again in July setting a new record of A$41.0 billion. Credit card volume also soared by A$1 billion over the previous month. Credit card debt rose 12%, compared to July 2006. Credit card limits also reached a new high at A$108.7 billion, marking the eleventh consecutive month of A$100+ billion. Card volume was A$17.5 billion during July, compared to a previous record of A$17.4 billion set in May, according to the Reserve Bank of Australia. One-year ago credit card debt stood at A$36.7 billion. There are currently 13.6 million credit card and charge card accounts in Australia, compared to 13.1 million one-year ago.

Details

Sluggish Holiday Sales Predicted for 2007

Total holiday retail sales are expected to increase this year but at a slower pace than 2006. The figure is expected to hit $474.5 billion, a 4% increase over last year. The National Retail Federation says holiday sales in 2006 rose 5%. Over the last ten years, the average percentage increase in sales for the holiday season is 4.8%. The NRF notes this would represent the slowest holiday sales growth since 2002, when sales rose 1.3%. One-fifth of retail industry sales occur during the holiday season. The NRF says retailers most affected by the economy this year will be those catering to the low to middle income consumer. This could also spell trouble for discounters and some department stores whose shoppers may be looking to trade down. The NRF represents more than 1.6 million U.S. retail establishments.

HOLIDAY RETAIL SALES
2000: $352.2 billion
2001: $364.1 billion
2002: $368.8 billion
2003: $387.2 billion
2004: $410.5 billion
2005: $435.6 billion
2006: $457.4 billion
2007: $474.5 billion
Source: National Retail Federation

Details