Wallets Unveiled for Contactless Cards

CA-based Kena Kai is rolling-out a new line next month of “DataSafe Wallets” designed to protect contactless payment cards. The new ‘Contactless Credit Cards’ are designed to make purchases much more convenient. The user no longer has to actually swipe their card as they can simply wave it in front of a ‘reader’ to make a purchase. The new DataSafe Wallet line will include bi-folds, tri-folds, credit card wallets, women’s wallets, and passport holders in full-grain Italian leather. The DataSafe Wallets will begin shipping in October and will retail between $40 and $120.

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Pessimism Declines Among Small Biz

The number of small business owners who say economic conditions in the country are getting worse declined in September. The “Discover Small Business Watch” index rose to 107.7 this month from its inaugural baseline of 100.0 in July. The poll found that 51% of small business owners believe economic conditions in the country are getting worse, down from 61% in August. However, the number of companies planning to reduce new business spending rose to 38% from 34% in the prior month. The “Small Business Watch” also surveys consumer attitudes towards different segments of the small business economy. About 68% feel the real estate market is slowing down based on the length of time houses are on the market in their area and 58% say they are not likely to buy a new home for five or more years. Discover found that 32% of small business owners feel their business would be significantly impacted if the housing market slows down.

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GE Names a Retail Sales Finance Head

GE has promoted Glenn Marino, who has run GE’s Retail Sales Finance business since July 2002, to President & CEO, Retail Sales Finance, GE Money, Americas. Marino has run GE’s Retail Sales Finance business since July 2002. From 1999 to 2002, Marino was President of Monogram Credit Services. Santiago has led GE Infrastructure’s Oil & Gas business through a period of sustained growth since the acquisition of the Italian company, Nuovo Pignone, in 1994. GE (NYSE: GE) is Imagination at Work — a diversified technology, media and financial services company focused on solving some of the world’s toughest problems.

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El Corte Ingles Opts for Hypercom’s Optimum P210

El Corte Ingles has selected Hypercom as a preferred
provider of card payment PIN entry devices. The company has installed Hypercom EMV-certified “Optimum P2100” PIN pads in their two department stores in Portugal in conjunction with that country’s migration to EMV security standards. The Hypercom PIN pads have been deployed at El Corte Ingles’ Vilanova de Gaia, Porto store that opened in May as well as the company’s Lisbon location. El Corte Ingles is the largest retailer in Spain with approximately 74 department stores, 34 hypermarkets, 61 supermarkets and 140 smaller convenience stores.

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46% of Consumers Use Electronic Retailing

A new study on electronic retailing shows that e-retailing has become an increasingly reliable vehicle for driving repeat sales and does not hurt branding efforts. The annual study by the Electronic Retailing Association and Ellison Research, also revealed that the proportion of adults using electronic retailing channels remains at 46% for the second year in a row with an average age of 47.1 years and a median income of $56,983 and roughly half claiming a college degree. About half said they have watched an infomercial in the past three months. More than 50% of all buyers would definitely consider purchasing again through electronic retailing channels in the future. The ERA noted that of concern to direct-to-consumer retailers and marketers is the data showing consumer trust in Internet and TV infomercials falling from last year, as consumers are becoming increasingly concerned with the security of using credit or debit cards online or over the phone.

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EuroConex and Card Commerce Target Gift Cards

EuroConex and Card Commerce have teamed to target the retail gift card market which is estimated to become a GBP 13 billion industry by 2011. Under terms of the deal Card Commerce’s “PayPlus OnDemand” giftcard service will be made available to euroConex’s network of merchants across Europe. The deployment of PayPlus OnDemand will allow merchants using euroConex point of sale card terminals through their banking partner, to sell and redeem giftcards and other types of prepaid debit card. The system will initially be available through Alliance & Leicester Commercial Bank and Bank of Ireland, euroConex’s partner banks in the UK and Ireland, before being rolled out into the broader European network in 2007.

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VISA Introduces a Signature Business Card

VISA has beefed-up its “Business Card” adding premium “Signature” benefits on top all of the benefits currently offered with its “Business” card. The no preset spending limit “VISA Signature Business” card includes an issuer rewards program with a minimum value of 125 basis points on qualifying spend. Cardholders also have access to “VISA Information Source Select,” an online reporting solution. Additionally, the “VISA Merchant Offer Program” provides small businesses with the purchasing power of large companies through promotions and savings presented by VISA’s merchant partners, such as office supply, travel and wireless providers. Other card benefits include “VISA Signature Access”; “VISA Signature Dining”; and “VISA Signature Concierge. “VISA Signature Business” has an interchange rate that is comparable to the existing “VISA Commercial Solutions” interchange rate. For the four quarters ended June 30th, “VISA Signature” grew 17%, surpassing $125 billion in sales volume. For the same period, spending on “VISA Business” cards totaled more than $103 billion, representing a year over year growth rate of 32%. Chase is expected to be the first issuer of the new upgraded business card.

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MASTERCARD CHAIRMAN

MasterCard Worldwide continues to rebuild its Board after becoming a publicly traded company in May and changing its governance structure. Richard Haythornthwaite, managing director of Star Capital Partners in the Europe, will now serve as the non-executive chairman of its board. MasterCard also elected Steven Freiberg, chairman and CEO of Citigroup’s Global Consumer Group, and co-chair of Citigroup’s Global Consumer Group, as a director. Freiberg is one of the three directors elected by banks to the board. With the election of Mr. Freiberg, the MasterCard board now consists of 10 members: two Class M directors; seven Class A directors who are independent; and MasterCard President and CEO Robert Selander, also a Class A director. The independent directors include: Bernard S. Y. Fung who is Chairman and CEO of Aon Asia Pacific Region; Manoel Amorim of Brazil’s Telefonica International; David Carlucci of Connecticut-based IMS Health; Richard Haythornthwaite of the UK’s Star Capital Partners; Marc Olivie of Belgium’s Agfa-Gevaert Group; Mark Schwartz, formerly of Soros Fund Management; and Edward Suning Tian of China’s China Netcom Group. (CF Library 5/4/06; 6/16/06)

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