Pay By Touch to Offer GETI Products

Global eTelecom announced that CA-based Pay By Touch will offer their partners and merchants GETI’s check conversion & guarantee products, enabling merchants to accept and process paper checks electronically to add increased value and efficiency. Global eTelecom provides proprietary electronic check processing and gift/loyalty services to over 35,000 merchants nationwide. Pay By Touch biometric services enable 3.5 million shoppers to quickly and securely access personal accounts using a finger scan to identify themselves, make purchases and cash checks at 3,000 locations nationwide.

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Brisk Online Sales for Valentine’s Day

comScore Networks released a study on Valentine e-commerce activity indicating flowers and greeting cards saw the most dramatic gains of 98% to $24.5 million during the week ending February 11. Jewelry and watches also saw a bump in sales to $24.7 million, up 22% versus the prior weeks. In January, more than 29 million Americans visited the Flowers, Gifts & Greeting Cards retail category, representing approximately one out of every six U.S. Internet users. The American Greetings Property led the category with 8.1 million visitors, followed by Hallmark with 5.6 million visitors and RedEnvelope.com with 1.9 million visitors. comScore Networks provides data on more than 2 million consumers who have given comScore permission to confidentially capture their browsing and transaction behavior, including online and offline purchasing.

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Fiserv’s GalaxyPlus Introduces S.T.A.R.S.

Fiserv’s GalaxyPlus Credit Union Systems is now offering the “S.T.A.R.S”. program, an online, points-based rewards system that can enhance the member/credit union relationship, foster cross-selling efforts, and boost employee performance. Members earn points for using a credit union’s products and services, which they can redeem for a variety of rewards. “S.T.A.R.S.” offers credit unions the flexibility to choose which products and services to reward members for using, anything from home banking to e-statements. Credit unions can also use “S.T.A.R.S”. to reward employees for their performance. Members can visit a point history screen on their credit union’s website, which defines how they received their points. They can then “shop” a virtual store to redeem their points for a variety of prizes, from lower fees and preferred interest rates to gift cards and digital cameras. GalaxyPlus Credit Union Systems provides credit union technology services. WI-based Fiserv provides information management systems and services to the financial and insurance industries.

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UPS Wants AmEx CFO to Joins its Board

UPS’ Board of Directors have nominated Gary L. Crittenden, EVP and CFO of the American Express Co. as a new director to stand for election at the annual shareowners meeting in May. Crittenden is a member of the American Express Global Leadership Team, the company’s senior-most management group. Crittenden serves as a key advisor on strategic and financial matters worldwide as well as representing American Express to investors, lenders and rating agencies. Crittenden began his career in consulting with Bain & Company, where he worked on a range of strategic projects in the United States and Germany. Prior to joining American Express, he also worked as the CFO of Monsanto and Sears Roebuck Co. Crittenden holds a BS degree in management from Brigham Young University and an MBA from Harvard.

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Heartland Payment Systems’ Q4 Up 27%

The sixth largest merchant processor in the U.S. reported fourth quarter revenue of $288 million, a 27% gain over the year’s earlier period. Heartland Payment Systems says Q4 was the second biggest quarter in its history, lifting its total revenues for the year to more than $1 billion for the first time. The Company reported a 20% increase in 4Q/06 net income to $6.6 million. Processing volume for the fourth quarter increased 25% to $11.4 billion. HPS’ active merchant count rose to 137,400 at year-end, a 21% increase over the past twelve months, comprised of 133,200 card processing and 4,200 payroll customers. Additionally, the Company announced that for the first quarter, it anticipates delivering earnings per share in the range of $0.16- $0.18. The Board of Directors also doubled the quarterly dividend to $0.05 per share. For complete details on Heartland Payment Systems’ fourth quarter performance, visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]).

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

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PRAA Fourth Quarter Revenues Rise 25%

VA-based Portfolio Recovery Associates reported net income of $11.4 million for the fourth quarter, up 21% year-on-year. Revenue increased 25% to $49.0 million. The Company purchased $1.06 billion of face value debt during the quarter for $32.7 million. This debt was acquired in 34 pools from 17 different sellers. Cash collections rose 24% to $58.8 million in the fourth quarter. PRAA also provides a broad range of collection services, including revenue administration for government entities through its RDS business, collateral-location services for credit originators via IGS Nevada and fee-based collections through Anchor Receivables Management. For complete details on Portfolio Recovery Associates’ fourth quarter performance, visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]).

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

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CompuCredit’s 4Q/06 Net Income Triples

Atlanta-based sub-prime card specialist, CompuCredit, reported GAAP net income for the fourth quarter of $9.7 million, triple the year ago quarter. Total managed receivables for the fourth quarter were $2,815,219,000, a 13% increase compared to one-year ago. As of December 31st, CompuCredit had 3,865,000 accounts, compared to 3,588,000 in 4Q/05. The adjusted charge-off rate was 11.0% in the fourth quarter, as compared to 11.2% for 4Q/05 and 9.4% in the previous quarter. As of December 31st, the 60-plus day delinquency rate was 14.1%, as compared to 14.0% for 3Q/06 and 9.3% for 4Q/05. The issuer said it expects first-quarter managed earnings to be significantly lower than the fourth quarter. For complete details on CompuCredit’s fourth quarter performance, visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]).

COMPUCREDIT NET INCOME SNAPSHOT
4Q/05: $ 3.0 million
1Q/06: $30.7 million
2Q/06: $28.3 million
3Q/06: $38.8 million
4Q/06: $ 9.7 million
Source: CardData (www.carddata.com)

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

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14% of Consumers Use 50%+ of Credit Line

An analysis of Experian’s latest nationwide survey has found that 14% of the U.S. population has more than 10 credit cards, while the overall average number of credit cards per consumer is four. Other national results show that 51% have at least two credit cards; 14% use at least half of their available credit; the average number of credit cards for those using at least half of the available credit is 6.6; and the average credit score for those using at least half of available credit is 645, compared to the overall national average of 674. Experian’s “National Score Index” is based on a nationwide sampling of three million consumer credit files.

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JCB LOGO

JCB will update its brand image and corporate logo for the first time
in 30 years, starting in June. The new design will start appearing at
selected JCB acceptance merchant locations worldwide in June and
subsequently, JCB-branded cards will start carrying the new “JCB Emblem”
next April. JCB launched its card business in Japan
in 1961 and began expanding overseas in 1981. Its merchant network
includes 14 million merchants and spans 190 countries. JCB cards are now
issued in 20 countries and territories with more than 59 million
cardholders. JCB also has formed alliances with more than 350 banks and
financial institutions globally.

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50% of Students Have $5K in Card Debt

A recent survey by Sallie Mae found that more than half of college students accumulated more than $5,000 in credit card debt while in school. Of the 13,000 respondents, one-third piled on more than $10,000 in credit card debt while in school. Only 19% said they did not acquire any credit card debt while in school. The survey was conducted during January. This week, Sallie Mae launched its “Be Debt Smart” campaign which provides consumers with various tools and resources that encourage smart borrowing. Sallie Mae manages $142 billion in education loans and serves nearly 10 million student and parent customers.

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Diebold Raises its Cash Dividend by 9.3%

OH-based Diebold’s Board of Directors has declared a first-quarter cash dividend of 23.5 cents per share on all common shares. The new cash dividend, which represents 94 cents per share on an annual basis, is an increase of 9.3 percent over the cash dividend paid in 2006 and marks the company’s 54th consecutive annual increase. The Board has also authorized the company to repurchase up to 2 million common shares of its stock as a means of returning cash to its shareholders. This new authorization is in addition to the approximately 900,000 shares remaining under its most recent 4 million share authorization from December 2005.

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SeaMiles Rewards Card Partners with VISA

SeaMiles Limited subsidiary, SeaMiles, LLC has selected VISA as its payment card brand. Chase will issue the “SeaMiles VISA-Signature Rewards Card” which enables US consumers to earn for everyday spending while redeeming points on the cruise line of their choice through SeaMiles’ unique redemption platform. The “Any Cruise Line…Any Time” philosophy encourages customers to redeem their points as they earn them on the cruise line of their choice without product or season restrictions. Cruising has become a popular form of travel for North Americans and has been a steadily growing segment of the travel business for the past 30 years. In 2005, 13 million North Americans cruised, representing an 8.73% increase over the previous year.

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