FTC Shuts-Down an Oregon Card Processor

Beaverton-based Merchant Processing, Inc. had its assets frozen following FTC allegations that it used deceptive tactics to sell credit and debit card processing services to thousands of small businesses across the county. The FTC says MPI’s sales representatives promised small businesses savings of hundreds to thousands of dollars a year in processing fees by offering lower rates than the merchants’ current credit card processing service. The FTC said they told merchants that the credit card swipe equipment they currently are using is outdated or incompatible with their systems, or that the merchants will need to replace their systems in order to get the special low rate. The FTC alleges the defendants’ agents then have the merchants sign third-party equipment leases and processing agreements while concealing pages of fine print. According to the FTC, the sales representatives often don’t leave copies of the agreements with the merchants. The FTC said the merchants soon find their fees are not lower, and end up paying additional fees that they weren’t told about.

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Inform@rketing Sold to Experian

Experian has announced the acquisition of Inform@rketing, a Brazilian
direct marketing service. This will expand Experian’s presence in the
country and include new marketing services such as database management,
mailing list analysis, data enhancement and marketing campaign
management. The direct marketing field in Brazil has grown
12.4 % from 2000 to 2006 and 18 % from 2005 to 2006, therefore this
development is consistent with Experian’s strategy of acquiring businesses
that provide new products, new data or entry into new vertical and
complement regional markets.

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CitiBank Introduces Balance Transfer Program

CitiBank has introduced a new balance transfer program in Greece
offering a fixed rate of 4.9% for balances transferred to Citi and Diners
cards, among the lowest rates in the country. Customers are also given
a two year repayment window and the option to choose from 16
different Citibank Visa cards, 7 Citibank MasterCard and 7 Diners
Club cards. Diners Club Card is accepted at more than 50,000
businesses throughout Greece and more than 8,000,000 worldwide.
Citi has 200 million customer accounts and does business in more than
100 countries.

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Lawsuit Filed Against CheckFree

A lawsuit seeking class action status has been filed on behalf of all persons who purchased the securities of CheckFree between April 4, 2006 and August 1, 2006.The defendants are CheckFree, Peter J. Kight, who Chairman of the Board and CEO and David Mangum, EVP and CFO of the Company. The Complaint alleges that during the Class Period, defendants misled investors by issuing false and misleading statements about CheckFree’s operations and financial condition and as a result, the price of CheckFree securities was artificially inflated during the Class Period.

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Cards to Use RSA Card Manager Solution

RSA has been selected as a subcontractor to supply card management solution for enrollment, issuance and management of PIV Cards. Approved by the General Services Administration and compliant with Federal Information Processing Standard (FIPS) 201, RSA Card Manager is designed to help federal agencies and organizations enroll users, manage the identity validation process, request and consolidate credentials; then print, issue, and manage smart cards throughout their lifecycle in compliance with HSPD-12. RSA, The Security Division of EMC, is a provider of security solutions for business acceleration.

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Sub-Prime Mortgages Impact GE Money Profits

GE reported that revenues for its Consumer Finance unit, now known as GE Money, climbed 14% in the first quarter to $5.8 billion. However, profits inched up by only 2% to $851 million, compared to one-year ago. GE Money’s net income was impacted by losses in its sub-prime mortgage business. During the first quarter, Tractor manufacturer Daedong-USA selected GE Money’s Sales Finance unit as its new consumer finance partner for the KIOTI tractor brand; GA-based Dixie Homecrafters signed a five-year extension of their agreement with GE Money; Linens ‘n Things and GE Money’s Retail Consumer Finance unit agreed to continue their credit card agreement, established in 2002; the Bath and Kitchen Buying Group partnered to create a private label credit program through GE’s “REFINEDesign” and “PROJECTLOANS” programs; and Santa Barbara, CA-based Pacific Capital Bancorp sold its consumer and commercial credit card portfolio to GE Money in January. For complete details on GE’s first quarter performance, visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]). (CF Library 1/4/07; 1/8/07; 1/29/07; 2/1/07; 2/16/07)

GE CONSUMER FINANCIAL TRACK RECORD
Income Revenues
1Q/06: $836 million $5090 million
2Q/06: $880 million $5268 million
3Q/06: $916 million $5590 million
4Q/06: $875 million $5811 million
1Q/07: $851 million $5807 million
Source: CardData (www.carddata.com)

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

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Fifth Third Jeanie ATMs Go Phoenix VISTAatm

Fifth Third Bank has selected Phoenix Interactive Design’s “VISTAatm” as its ATM software solution for its 2,000 ATMs. “VISTAatm” offers new transactions such as check imaging and ATM voice guidance to support accessibility standards with VISTAatm Text-to-Speech technology that will enable all customers to do their banking at the ATM without assistance. Fifth Third Bank has $100.7 billion in assets and operates 19 affiliates with 1,161 full-service Banking Centers. Phoenix Interactive Design,is an independent provider of Windows(TM) based, multi-vendor ATM software for the financial services industry.

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Sub-Prime Card Restitution Ruling is Reversed

Sub-prime credit card specialist, Applied Card Bank, f/k/a Cross Country Bank, and Applied Card Systems have won a key victory after the New York Supreme Court – Appellate Division, Third Department reversed in part the January 2006 decision of the trial court ordering Cross Country Bank to pay $9 million in restitution and penalties. In addition, the Appellate Division held that the Attorney General was not entitled to obtain restitution under the New York General Business Law on behalf of individuals who were members of a nationwide settlement class in an earlier action in California. The Appellate Division’s decision modified the trial court’s order in two notable respects by placing limits on the AG’s ability to obtain restitution. The Appellate Division held that, in order for the AG to obtain restitution on behalf of an individual, the AG had to establish that the injury suffered by the individual was attributable to the deceptive conduct. NY AG Elliott Spitzer attempted to obtain restitution for all residents of New York who had obtained credit cards from Cross Country Bank. Arnold & Porter represented Applied Card.

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Apriva Gateway Clears Hypercom’s Optimum T4100

Apriva has given Class A certification of Hypercom Corporation’s “Optimum T4100” payment terminal for use on Apriva’s “Intelligent Gateway”. The certification enables credit, debit, gift, loyalty, and check transactions on the IP-enabled T4100 to be conducted securely using “Intelligent Gateway”, which is certified with all major merchant processors in North America. Hypercom Corporation provides high security, end-to-end electronic payment products and services. Apriva is a wireless solution provider.

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MicrosPOS4Less Offers Free Shift4 Secure Driver

MicrosPOS4Less is making the “Shift4 Secure Driver” available at no cost The “Secure Driver” is the only driver that can claim no card information is ever stored in a MICROS POS application, database or server. It gives restaurants and similar businesses a cost-effective alternative to a complete POS system upgrade and purchase of new hardware. The driver uses Tokenization technology, which replaces the credit card number with a randomly generated unique ID. In the event of loss or a breach, Tokens are of no commercial value. As a result, any such breach may not need to be reported, as no loss of cardholder data would occur. MicrosPOS4Less provides independent users of MICROS POS systems with support, resources, and equipment. Shift4 is a developer of secure financial transaction processing software and services, provides web-based, real-time enterprise payment solutions for leaders in the hospitality, retail, foodservices, auto rental and e-commerce markets.

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New VISA Interchange Rates to Take Effect

VISA USA will publicly display its new interchange rates this weekend via the Company Web site. The rates are effective April 14th. VISA says its system-wide effective interchange rate for the U.S. is expected to be 1.77%, a slight increase. VISA says the interchange rates are determined by a number of factors including the specific product, the value provided to the merchant, the type of merchant business, how a transaction is processed, the risk associated with a transaction, the rates associated with competitive and substitute payment products.

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