Experian Offers a Signaling Service

Experian has unveiled a highly customizable and intelligent solution for credit grantors that analyzes the credit behavior of customers and prospects to make acquisition, portfolio management and collections decisions. “Credit Migration Solutions” signals when consumers meet predetermined thresholds for credit scores and attributes, such as changes in balances, utilization or delinquency behaviors. The suite of products that make up “Credit Migration Solutions” is driven by Experian’s “Customer Prospecting and Portfolio Services” relational database.

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Systech and Switch Team for ATM IP

San Diego-based Systech has teamed with Switch Commerce to convert dial-up ATM transactions to IP-based transactions. Switch Commerce has agreed to integrate and certify Systech’s “IPG/7000” family of dial-to-IP converters for production deployment to merchants transitioning ATM processing to the Internet. The gateways connect both legacy and new ATMs to the Switch Commerce processing host over the public Internet using secure SSL IP protocols. No changes are required to the installed ATM applications. Merchants with existing, private IP networks can also use the Systech solution to convert and re-route dial transactions through existing WAN links.

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MobileLime Snags a Sales Executive

MobileLime has appointed James Cooper to SVP of sales. Cooper brings more than twenty years of high-profile executive level experience building world class international sales teams with leading Silicon Valley companies funded by top-tier venture capital firms. He maintains long standing relationships with Fortune 500 senior executives throughout the retail industry. Cooper will lead and oversee a growing nationwide sales force with locations in key markets. Prior to joining MobileLime, Cooper was vice president, worldwide sales & field operations of Troux Technologies. MobileLime is the first U.S.-based company to turn the mobile phone into a marketing, loyalty and payment device, enabling merchants to build sales and loyalty.

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Lawmakers Mull Financial Data Protection

The U.S House Committee on Financial Services today will hold a markup session the the “Financial Data Protection Act” or “H.R. 3997.” The hearing comes on the heels of a disclosure of a massive “PIN block” card fraud that forced several issuers, including Citibank, to replace debit cards. In February, Congressman Barney Frank, the Ranking Member of the Financial Services Committee, wrote to the CEO’s of VISA and MasterCard regarding their unwillingness to name the retailer involved with the most recent serious data breach. Last summer, Congressman Frank, along with Reps. Melissa Bean and Artur Davis introduced “H.R. 3140” to provide tough consumer protections and enforcement against credit card fraud and identity theft. Frank says he will push to end the future shielding of companies where the breach originated.

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Contactless Awareness Grows in 2005

A new survey shows that four out of ten consumers are aware of ExxonMobil’s “Speedpass” contactless program while only 20% are aware of the American Express “Express Pay” and MasterCard “PayPass” contactless programs. Less than 10% say they have heard of “blink” from Chase or “VISA Contactless.” Overall, more than half indicated awareness of at least one of the programs according to the September survey by Atlanta-based SYNERGISTICS RESEARCH. However, the recent aggressive issuance of “blink” cards from Chase is likely to raise consumer awareness of all contactless cards in the USA. In January, Chase reported it issued more than six million of its credit cards with “blink” in nine states. SYNERGISTICS says 20% report that they are aware of contactless payment compared to one in seven who reported awareness in 2004. (CF Library 1/11/06)

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Tier Signs a Government Business Exec

Tier Technologies, which owns Official Payments Corp, has hired Steven Beckerman, formerly with Certegy Card Services, as SVP of Government Business Process Outsourcing. Beckerman brings over 25 years of successful executive leadership and hands-on management experience in sales, operations, administration, cost containment and strategic planning in a number of diverse industries. Mr. Beckerman joins Tier from Fidelity National Information Services, Inc. (formerly known as Certegy, Inc.), where he was Senior Vice President of Product Management for Certegy Card Services, Inc., Certegy’s card processing division. In this role he was responsible for the development and management of card issuing, loyalty and internet products for more than 6,000 financial institutions across North America. Prior to joining Certegy, Mr. Beckerman was Senior Vice President for First Data Oil Services, a division of First Data Corporation, where he managed the Oil Company and Private Label Credit Card Operations Center.

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MERCHANT FEES 4Q/05

The average merchant service fee charged by Bankcard, MasterCard and VISA in the fourth quarter edged up slightly while fees charged by American Express and Diners Club remained more than twice as high. Yesterday, the Assistant Governor of Financial Systems for the Reserve Bank of Australia confirmed that since it forced pricing reforms on VISA and MasterCard in 2003, the market share of American Express and Diners Club has climbed from 14.5% to 16.5% and that the year-on-year growth in the value of transactions for all credit cards has declined to less than 10% compared to nearly 30% five years ago. The pricing advantage has enabled American Express and Diners Club to offer more generous rewards program. The average merchant service fee charged by Bankcard, MasterCard and VISA in the fourth quarter rose slightly to 96 basis points but remains down by three basis points compared to one-year ago, but up four basis points from the prior quarter. American Express’ average merchant service fee declined by five basis points to 2.30% from the prior quarter and eight basis points lower than one year ago. Diners Club edged up by four basis points to 2.33%, compared to the prior quarter.

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Merchant Fee Reforms Alter the Landscape

The average merchant service fee charged by Bankcard, MasterCard and VISA in Australia for the fourth quarter edged up slightly while fees charged by American Express and Diners Club remained more than twice as high. Yesterday, the Assistant Governor of Financial Systems for the Reserve Bank of Australia confirmed that since it forced pricing reforms on VISA and MasterCard in 2003, the market share of American Express and Diners Club has climbed from 14.5% to 16.5% and that the year-on-year growth in the value of transactions for all credit cards has declined to less than 10% compared to nearly 30% five years ago. The pricing advantage has enabled American Express and Diners Club to offer more generous rewards program, according to this week’s CardFlash International. The average merchant service fee charged by Bankcard, MasterCard and VISA in the fourth quarter rose slightly to 96 basis points but remains down by three basis points compared to one-year ago, but up four basis points from the prior quarter. American Express’ average merchant service fee declined by five basis points to 2.30% from the prior quarter and eight basis points lower than one year ago. Diners Club edged up by four basis points to 2.33%, compared to the prior quarter.

MERCHANT SERVICE FEES
3Q/04 4Q/04 1Q/05 2Q/05 3Q/05 4Q/05
Bankcard/MC/VS: 0.97% 0.99% 0.94% 0.91% 0.92% 0.96%
American Exp: 2.38% 2.38% 2.36% 2.36% 2.35% 2.30%
Diners Club: 2.32% 2.34% 2.30% 2.31% 2.29% 2.33%
Source: Reserve Bank of Australia

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Checkgateway Inks an Account Executive

Phoenix-based Checkgateway has hired Norman Neracker, formerly with The Trane Company, as account executive. Previously, Neracker worked as an office manager and sales services coordinator at Friedman Recycling Company where he oversaw all office functions and was also the liaison for all customer accounts. Prior to that, Neracker was a senior sales representative at Boise Cascade Office Products. He has also worked in the past for VISA USA as a manager in the merchant training department. Checkgateway is a provider in the Automated Clearing House (ACH) payment processing industry.

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