Consumer Protection Kick Off Fraud Prevention Month

Officials from the U.S. Federal Trade Commission and Canadian consumer
protection agencies met to kick off March as “Fraud
Prevention Month.” The initiative is part of an international effort to
raise public awareness worldwide of the dangers of fraud, while
educating the public on how to recognize and report it. As part of the
initiative, the FTC today is launching a new section
about cross-border online fraud on www.OnGuardOnline.gov, an educational
site with information to help computer users be safe online.

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ExaDigm XD2000SP PCI/PED is Approved

Santa Ana, CA-based ExaDigm announced that its “XD2000SP” payment terminal has met the requirements of the PCI PED standard becoming the first fully modular, PC-based payment terminal to meet the requirements established by VISA and MasterCard. The PCI PED approval certifies that both the physical design of the XD2000SP PIN entry device and the software that is associated with it have been validated by an independent testing organization recognized by Visa and MasterCard. This latest approval further adds to the XD2000 product lines exacting security standards. The first POS terminal to receive Visa CISP validation, it features the highest levels of security and fraud resistance including 256-bit SSL encryption active at the time of card swipe. ExaDigm is provider of IP wireless, wired and modular point-of-sale (POS) terminal solutions.

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Chase Prepaid Card Targets EITC Consumers

Chase has introduced a new pre-paid debit cards to speed payment of tax refunds to unbanked consumers who qualify for tax refunds under the “Earned Income Tax Credit.” The new “Chase Direct Benefit VISA Card” is being rolled out in Phoenix, Denver, Chicago, Detroit, New York, Columbus, Shreveport, Salt Lake City, McAllen, Flint, Dallas, Houston, Austin, Indianapolis, San Antonio and Milwaukee this tax season. Chase has partnered with Volunteer Income Tax Assistance sites in these cities to promote awareness of EITC refunds and support VITA’s free tax preparation services. Consumers who also receive a federal payment such as Social Security, Supplemental Security Income or a Veterans Administration benefit can enroll for direct deposit of future payments in the same account as their EITC.

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ReD’s Profits Climb 31% Driven by CNP

Retail Decisions reported that revenue climbed 72% last year to $95 million. Pre-tax profits rose 31% to $14 million. ReD says “Card Not Present” fraud prevention is a major growth area, growing 50% organically in transaction volumes year-on-year. ReD’s fuel card operation is the largest multi-branded card business in Australia accepted at nearly all of the 6,500 fuel stations throughout the country and at around 8,250 other outlets that provide services for business drivers. In the UK and Europe, ReD’s fuel card business, known as “ReD Fuel Cards,” is the UK’s second largest operator in the independent fuel card market with over 65,000 cards in issue and around 6,300 live customer accounts. In December, ReD acquired E Com, Australia’s largest pre-paid card operator. For more details on ReD’s latest results, visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]).

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

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Charge-Offs Plunge 400 bps in Jan

As expected, credit card charge-offs plunged in January following the tidal wave of personal bankruptcies that hit the industry in the fall. Compared to December, charge-offs among credit card-backed bonds dropped a stunning 400 basis points. According to Moody’s Investor Services’ “Credit Card Credit Indices”, charge-offs declined to 3.21% in January compared to 7.25% in December and 5.68% one-year ago. The December period was an all-time industry high. However, delinquency among credit card ABS rose slightly in January to 3.40%, compared to 3.25% in December. Last year delinquency stood at 4.37%.

CREDIT CARD ABS CHARGE-OFFS
Jun 05: 5.88%
Jul 05: 5.83%
Aug 05: 5.69%
Sep 05: 5.39%
Oct 05: 6.85%
Nov 05: 6.79%
Dec 05: 7.25%
Jan 06: 3.21%
Source: Moody’s Investor Services

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FDC Renews Associated Banc Contract

Wisconsin-based Associated Banc-Corp has renewed its agreement for First Data to provide processing services for credit cards connected to Associated’s home equity line of business as well as general business credit cards. In addition to card processing, First Data will continue to provide statement printing and mailing, plastics personalization, and fraud and risk monitoring tools. First Data is a leading provider of electronic commerce and payment solutions for businesses and consumers worldwide.

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BofA ePayables Solution Gathers Steam

Bank of America says its new “ePayables Solution” is now in full production. The solution shifts accounts payable disbursements to corporate purchasing cards. BofA says the number of deployments for the new service has far exceeded its targets. Enabled by “Active Card Integration” capabilities, “ePayables” allows organizations to integrate with their existing accounts payable processes to replace the back-end payment with a secure card payment. “ePayables,” part of the Works solution recently acquired by BofA, is available through Bank of America Global Treasury Services.

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First Cooperative Expands CO-OP Deal

St. Mary’s Bank Credit Union, the nation’s first cooperative financial institution, has signed an agreement to begin processing and switching all of its transactions through CO-OP Network. The New Hampshire-based credit union, which has utilized CO-OP Network for ATM network access since 2001, will expand its services with the EFT processor to include full-processing, while continuing to provide its members with access to more than 25,000 surcharge-free ATMs. St. Mary’s Bank currently boasts more than $600 million in assets, more than 69,000 members and is New Hampshire’s second largest credit union.

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HSBC Renews RoomStore Card Program

Dallas-based RoomStore, with more than 70 stores in nine states and an annual sales of more than $330 million, has renewed its private label credit card program with HSBC Retail Services. Under terms of the agreement, HSBC Retail Services will continue to provide RoomStore with customized financing solutions for the company’s private label credit card program. Enhancements to the private label credit program include the installation of credit application kiosks in five RoomStore locations. Customers simply use a touch screen to apply for the RoomStore credit card. In less than two minutes, HSBC notifies customers whether they have been approved and a credit line is given immediately so the customer knows exactly how much purchasing power they have.

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ABA Endorses LexisNexis InstantID

Florida-based LexisNexis has received an exclusive endorsement on all “InstantID” products from the American Bankers Association. The InstantID family of products are tools for verifying the identity of a person or business to help financial institutions manage new account applicants, comply with the USA PATRIOT Act and avoid regulatory fines. InstantID searches multiple databases – containing 4 billion consumer and 300 million business records – for information that can verify and validate a person’s or business’ identity.

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