EMIRATES BANK PAYPASS

Emirates Bank has officially launched “MasterCard PayPass” contactless technology in Dubai. Merchants in Dubai Internet City, Dubai Media City, and Dubai Knowledge Village will accept the new payment option. The new “Emirates Bank DIC MasterCard”will be accepted by fast-food outlets, coffee shops, convenience stores and pharmacies. It is the first co-branded contactless payment card to be offered in the Gulf. In Europe, the first “MasterCard PayPass” credit program was launched with Garanti Bank and major retailers in Turkey in June 2006, with the bank’s subsequent rollout of the region’s first “PayPass”-enabled wristwatch in spring 2007.

Details

J.C. Flowers Invests $100MM in Kessler Group

NY-based J.C. Flowers & Co. has agreed to invest $100 million in Boston-based The Kessler Group to focus on investment opportunities in the credit card industry The Kessler Group will invest these funds in marketing initiatives–including funding the origination of new customer accounts–for Kessler’s marketing clients. In conjunction with this transaction, The Kessler Group is launching Kessler Capital Corporation, its principal investment arm, which will be run by Jonathan Sandler, currently Vice Chairman and CFO of The Kessler Group. The Kessler Group is a privately-owned financial services firm based in Boston specializing in partnership development, credit card marketing and portfolio acquisitions. J.C. Flowers & Co. LLC is a private equity firm focused solely on the financial service sector. Its latest fund has over $7 billion in commitments from investors.

Details

HSBC PREMIER

HSBC has created a new global personal banking service for the 51% of mass affluent Americans that have considered living or taking an extended vacation abroad. The new “HSBC Premier” is being rolled-out simultaneously across 35 countries and territories. Among the features of the new program is a credit card offering exclusive deals from 6,000 merchant in 40 countries with no foreign transaction fees on purchases made in a foreign currency. Other features include a single view of all accounts held with HSBC globally via the Internet that provides the ability to manage all accounts, whichever country they are in, through a single website and free fund transfers between accounts via online service made easier, wherever they are based, starting in November. HSBC estimates there are 200 million mass affluent and internationally mobile consumers in the world.

Details

DIGITAL RIVER & NETGIRO

Digital River has acquired Netgiro Systems AB of Sweden for
approximately $27 million. Netgiro is a payment service provider with
a platform designed to support 20 different types of online payment
methods in 40 countries. With this acquisition, Netgiro will act as a
stand alone payment provider, but will be an integrated part of Digital
River’s e-commerce offering. Digital River Inc. manages online
businesses for more than 40,000 companies on a multi-channel
e-commerce solution supporting both direct and indirect sales.

Details

J/SPEEDY

JCB and Union Bank of Taiwan have launched the first card with
“J/Speedy” in the world. “J/Speedy” is JCB’s global standardized
contactless payment solution. Union Bank is issuing the “Breeze Center
JCB Card with the J/Speedy.” Union Bank has been issuing JCB cards and
acquiring JCB card acceptance locations in Taiwan since 2002,
and started issuing the “Breeze Center JCB Card” with the country’s most
popular shopping mall in 2002. JCB and JCBI will continue promoting the
“J/Speedy” contactless payment program in Taiwan and the rest of Asia, a
market that has already seen the introduction of multiple international
brand contactless payment programs, expanding both issuing of JCB brand
cards with “J/Speedy” and merchant acceptance. In Japan, JCB also rolled
out the “QUICPay” contactless payment product in April 2005 based on
Sony’s “FeliCa” chip specification, which is widely employed for
contactless payment solutions such as public transportation fare systems
and mobile phone applications in Japan.

Details

Citi Adds Two New AT&T Universal Cards

Citi and AT&T have added two new cards that offer savings on purchases of AT&T products and services, as well as calling benefits and complimentary mobile phone insurance. The new “AT&T Universal Savings Platinum Card” and the “AT&T Universal Savings and Rewards offer a 10% savings for the first 12 months and a 5% savings thereafter on every dollar spent on eligible AT&T products and services equal to the amount spent on their other purchases. The savings will appear as a billing statement credit during the billing period the purchases were made. Cardholders can earn up to $350 in savings each calendar year. The “AT&T Universal Savings Platinum Card” offers a low rate and the “AT&T Universal Savings and Rewards Card” offers points for non-AT&T purchases through Citi’s “ThankYou Rewards Network.” Both cards include calling benefits: two free directory assistance calls each month, up to 30 prepaid phone minutes each month and free mobile phone insurance.

Details

DANAL EXEC

Mobile payment service provider Danal has appointed Steven Klebe, most recently VP of sales & business development at PassMark Security as its VP of sales & business development. Klebe will be responsible for building the team to develop partnerships with online merchants and key business partners. Klebe has served as a board member of the Electronic Transaction Association for two years, co-chaired the Internet committee of the Electronics Funds Transfer Association, was a member of the Advisory Board of the Direct Response Forum, and taught classes at NACHA’s Payment Institute. He has spoken at over 50 banking and computer industry conferences and is considered an expert in the areas of electronic payments, ecommerce, authentication and fraud prevention. He holds a B.S. in Business Administration with honors from Northeastern University in Boston. Danal allows consumers to purchase goods and services online by charging their purchases directly to their regular mobile phone bills, with no up-front registrations or ties to credit cards or bank accounts.In May 2007, US-based Danal, Inc. raised $9.5 million in venture financing from Morgenthaler Ventures and Danal Co., Ltd. to commercialize its service for the US market.

Details

ADS Expands its Williams-Sonoma Contract

Alliance Data Systems has signed agreements with Williams-Sonoma to launch a private label credit program for the West Elm brand and continue providing private label credit card services for the Pottery Barn brands Under the terms of the agreements, Alliance Data will provide the following services for West Elm and Pottery Barn’s multi-channel businesses: account acquisition and activation, receivables funding and credit risk management, credit authorization, card issuance, statement generation, remittance processing, and customer service functions associated with the card programs. The card programs also include rewards for cardholders in the form of rebates or account activation incentives for customers opening new accounts. Additional marketing and loyalty services tied to the card programs include special offers and retention-focused mailings. Alliance Data is a provider of marketing, loyalty and transaction services, managing over 120 million consumer relationships for some of North America’s most recognizable companies.

Details

BEANSTREAM & NCIRCLE

Beanstream has signed agreements to implement nCircle “Certified PCI
Scan Service” for security assessment and PCI compliance. Subsequently,
Beanstream will scan its potential online-merchant’s networks for
vulnerabilities and intrusions using the nCircle solution. If the
merchant meets
PCI compliance, Beanstream approves the merchant to join its payment
network. Otherwise, the merchant will be advised to address security risks
before being granted a merchant account. “Certified PCI Scan Service” is
certified under the PCI Data Security Standard v1.1 and is fully automated
to allow merchants compliance. nCircle’s compliance management technology
is used by more than 3500 customers worldwide. Beanstream Internet
Commerce Inc. is a subsidiary of LML Payment Systems Inc.and provides
e-commerce solutions to nearly 5,500 businesses across North America.

Details

VISA INC CFO

VISA has named Byron Pollitt, formerly a top executive at Gap and Walt Disney, as CFO designate of Visa Inc. VISA also announced that the VISA Inc. Board will include 10 independent directors and seven directors drawn from each of its geographic operating regions. Joseph Saunders will continue as Chairman and CEO of Visa Inc. VISA plans to form VISA Inc. through a series of mergers involving VISA Canada, VISA USA and VISA International. VISA Europe will retain its member- owned association structure and will become a licensee of VISA Inc.

Details

Small Business Owners Remain Optimistic

Even though credit availability is tightening, small business owners remain optimistic. The quarterly “Wells Fargo/Gallup Small Business Index” found that small business owners’ current view of the operating environment and financial conditions slipped eight points to 41 in July since the last quarterly reading in April. The percentage of small business owners saying obtaining credit was somewhat or very easy fell five points to 48%. Future expectations fell five points from April to 59, the lowest level since June 2005. The survey also noted that declining home prices, high consumer debt levels, and rising food and energy prices have reduced the consumers’ willingness and ability to spend in other areas.

Details