Intuit Inks a Deal to Acquire ECHO for $142MM

Intuit has agreed to buy Electronic Clearing House Inc. for about $142 million. Intuit says the deal will enable the firm to offer payment solutions to merchants through a single portal. In addition, the acquisition will expand Intuit?s sales and distribution channels and provide relationships with thousands of customers, including larger enterprise customers, such as retail and hotel chains. ECHO last reported second quarter revenue of $19.9 million. Bankcard and transaction processing revenue grew 43% to $15.1 million, while bankcard processing volume increased 57.5% to $472.1 million. ECHO will become a wholly-owned subsidiary of Intuit. The deal is expected to close in the first quarter.

ECHO REVENUE HISTORICAL
2Q/05: $14.3 million
3Q/05: $15.2 million
4Q/05: $16.9 million
1Q/06: $19.2 million
2Q/06: $19.9 million
Source: CardData (www.carddata.com)

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Cyveillance Identity Theft Protection Released

VA-based Cyveillance launched its “Cyveillance Identity Theft Protection” as a Web service. Cyveillance Identity Theft Protection helps organizations substantially reduce fraud claims by proactively monitoring the Internet for compromised credit and debit card numbers, as well as sensitive personal information. To date, Cyveillance has identified more than 10 million compromised credentials targeted for fraudulent use. The Cyveillance Identity Theft Protection Web service provides real-time access to the same intelligence used by many of the top credit card issuing banks and credit unions. Cyveillance provides online risk monitoring and management solutions to Global 2000 organizations.

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Wells Fargo Gift Card Sales Top 1MM

Wells Fargo reports it has sold more than one million “VISA Gift Cards” since the company began offering the product through the company’s banking stores in October 2005. More than 3,100 Wells Fargo banking stores sell Wells Fargo “VISA Gift Cards.” Customers who have a Wells Fargo checking or savings account can purchase gift cards at Wells Fargo stores or online. Customers can buy the cards individually and in bulk. Wells Fargo also recently enhanced its online gift card site to accommodate bulk orders.

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Consumers Will Switch Banks for Better Security

A majority of U.S. consumers fear their personal information and security will be compromised while shopping online or using online banking services this holiday season. Unisys Corporation’s survey of 1,744 U.S. consumers found that three out of every four consumers said they are prepared to switch banks for greater security protection of their personal information. About 77% are willing to change banks for better protection of their money. This represents a 50% increase in willingness to switch banks, as compared to a “2005 Unisys” study on identity fraud and bank security issues. Despite this huge increase in consumers willing to consider taking action and switch banks for more security, only a minority of consumers will pay for protection. Only 10% were willing to pay for these services, compared to 40% of consumers who were willing to pay additional bank fees for greater security in a similar study Unisys conducted last year.

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Credit Unions Outpaced Banks on Technology

A new report has found that the median credit union spends nearly double that of mid-size banks on technology initiatives. The Cornerstone Report also found that credit unions outperformed mid-size banks in Internet banking and bill payment. Median study credit unions reported that 68% of checking account holders are enrolled Internet banking users compared to 32% reported by banks in Cornerstone’s 2005 study. Median credit unions reported 15% of checking accounts are enrolled in bill pay; mid-size banks reported 4.22%. Additionally, credit unions lag banks in fee income generated from checking accounts. Whereas mid-size banks reported collecting a total of $200 per retail checking account per year, study credit unions collected $154.

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PaySimple Empowers the Collection-Master Software

Denver-based PaySimple announced a strategic agreement with Commercial Legal Software to provide a complete integrated payment processing solution to the “Collection Master” system. This new collaboration enables Collection-Master customers to seamlessly bill and collect payments directly from the software via auto-recurring billing, electronic check processing, direct-debit and credit card processing. In addition, payment processing via the PaySimple system is expected to save Collection-Master users more than 70% over legacy check-by-phone processing. PaySimple is an industry-leading provider of payment management solutions. PaySimple simplifies billing and collection processes by enabling customers to invoice, collect and deposit all of their payments automatically. Commercial Legal Software is the maker of Collection-Master, the most advanced and mature specialty software for debt collection, foreclosure, and subrogation.

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MasterCard and Ariba Team for C-Cards

MasterCard and Ariba have signed an agreement to enhance payment solutions for companies around the world. Under this agreement, Ariba and MasterCard will connect enhanced transaction data from the MasterCard global data repository with Ariba “Supplier Network,” resulting in integration of purchasing and corporate card programs available for companies globally. MasterCard reports that purchasing card programs are coming under increasing corporate scrutiny, and industry research shows that 69% of companies expect purchasing card spending to increase or significantly increase over the next three years. Under the new deal companies will be able to eliminate many of the inefficiencies commonly associated with invoice reconciliation and expense reporting, streamline reconciliation and accounts payable processing, improve control over maverick spending, and enhance overall policy compliance.

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Barclaycard to Combine Oyster with Barclaycard

Barclaycard has inked a deal with TranSys, the consortium which
runs “Oyster” card in partnership with Transport for London, to
combine “Oyster” and “Barclaycard” on one piece of plastic. The deal
includes the exclusive rights to place “Oyster” on “Barclaycard” and
“Barclays Connect VISA” cards for at least the next three years.
The TranSys consortium, whose principal partners are EDS and Cubic Transportation Systems, is responsible for developing, installing, managing and maintaining the “PRESTIGE” automated fare collection system which includes the contactless smartcard “Oyster.” “PRESTIGE” is a PFI delivered by TranSys in partnership with Transport for London. Barclaycard currently has11.2 million cardholders.

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New Report Finds Low Ticket Debit Card Use

A new poll has found that 76% of respondents now have or use a debit card, up from 73% in September 2005. Chicago-based Mintel says 10% of respondents reported using debit cards for purchases under $1. At present, almost one quarter of Mintel respondents report having some type of rewards program with their debit card, and 68% of respondents feel that debit card rewards are valuable. Close to 40% of these respondents said that they did not use debit cards because they prefer to use credit cards.

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NetSpend Adds Two Top Executives

TX-based NetSpend has hired Marlene Maxon, formerly with Heinrich, as SVP/Marketing and James DeVoglaer, founder of KAIAN, as VP/Information Technology. At Heinrich, Maxon developed direct marketing campaigns and launched programs for Fortune 500 companies such as Federated Department Stores, Macys.com, and Wal-Mart. Maxon’s primary responsibilities will include driving NetSpend’s marketing initiatives by providing strategic counsel to the executive and marketing teams. She assumes the responsibilities of Bertrand Sosa, NetSpend co-founder and vice president of advertising, who has transitioned to a role of company ambassador. NetSpend Corporation is the leading provider of innovative, accessible prepaid debit cards that enable financial freedom and growth for self-banked consumers.

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VISA Intl Takes a Stake in mFormation Technologies

mFormation Technologies has inked a strategic alliance with VISA International to advance over-the-air solutions for mobile payments. For the payments industry, this ability offers the potential for banks and operators to securely and remotely provision mobile devices with payment applications, and ultimately bring mobile payments programs to commercial scale. mFormation supports top-tier mobile operators around the world, providing a completely integrated mobile device management suite – from initial configuration, to diagnostics and maintenance, to customer experience monitoring and management. mFormation Technologies Inc. is the market leader in mobile device management (MDM) software, offering a complete solution that enables mobile operators to rapidly accelerate their data revenues and reduce support costs.

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