GreenZap Hits 400K Members Since June

San Diego-based GreenZap reports its membership has now grown to exceed 400,000. Members are rewarded with WebCash, which can now be used not only to cover transaction fees, but also in the online store toward discounts on a variety of goods and services through partner merchants. GreenZap offers increased discounts and free transactions for members who upgrade their account to “Gold” status. GreenZap Inc, a San Diego-based company, enables any business or consumer with an email address to send and receive money online.

Details

Survey Says: Canadians Embrace Gift Cards

A new survey shows that 55% of adult Canadian consumers indicated they had purchased and/or received a gift card in the previous 12 months. The results come from the first ever ValueLink gift card study to focus exclusively on the Canadian consumer. Traditional retail stores accounted for 77% of all gift cards that were purchased. However, restaurants and entertainment-based business accounted for another 16% with a split of 8% each. Nearly nine in 10 gift card purchasers buy their gift cards in person at a retail or restaurant location while 13% of purchasers tend to visit a retailer’s Web site, purchase by phone or via a company catalog or make a purchase in some other manner. Canadian consumers purchased an average of 4.8 cards in 2004. While the average dollar value was $67 per card, the most common dollar value loaded onto gift cards was $50, with one-third of purchasers stating that as their typical amount. ValueLink is a subsidiary of First Data.

Details

BB&T Payments Services Division Launched

NC-based BB&T has created a new Payments Services Division. The creation of BB&T’s Creative Payments Solutions subsidiary in 2003 laid the groundwork for the new unit. The new PSD will enter automated clearinghouse and wire transfers; debit and prepaid cards; bill payment; and treasury services. The new unit will also oversee Creative Payments Solutions, Mid-America Gift Certificate Company and BB&T Payroll Services Corporation. The bank has named BB&T veteran Bennett Bradley to lead new division.

Details

Discover and Exante Pilot a FSA Debit Card

Discover and Exante Financial Services are piloting a program that will provide certain Morgan Stanley employees with a debit card that can be used on the Discover Network to pay for eligible health care and dependent care expenses from their FSAs. Exante’s financial health account card works like any debit or stored value card currently used on the Discover Network. Consumers enrolled in the pilot program will swipe their cards at participating merchant and provider locations that accept Discover Network cards to pay for eligible health care services, prescriptions, medical equipment and child care. Exante provides comprehensive consumer health financial services capabilities to 16 independent health administrators in addition to UnitedHealth Group and its operating businesses. Together, these clients represent over 700,000 accounts managed by Exante.

Details

Pipeline Data Lands a $15 Million Loan

Massachusettes-based Pipeline has received a $15 million loan to complete the acquisition of Charge.com next week and to repay indebtedness.Pipeline Data Inc. provides integrated transaction processing services for all major credit cards and serves over 15,000 accounts. Charge.com owns and operates a comprehensive Internet-based sales organization focused on online transaction processing.

Details

Bankruptcy Boom Provides Asta Boon

NJ-based Asta Funding reported that third calendar quarter net income rose 38% to $9 million. Finance income for the quarter was $20 million, a 35% increase compared to one-year ago. Asta says its purchases for the year amounted to $3.5 billion of face value receivables with a purchase price of $126 million. The Company is currently experiencing a boon due to the recent surge in personal bankruptcies. Therefore, Asta has received the necessary commitment to increase its credit facility to $100 million, up from $80 million, with an accordion feature to go to $125 million. So far this quarter, the company has purchased distressed consumer receivable portfolios aggregating approximately $970 million, for a purchase price of approximately $47.7 million. The acquisition of these substantial portfolios is composed of credit card and telecom debt. For complete details on Asta’s latest results visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]).

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

Details

ACH Exec Named to NACHA’s Marketing Group

ACH Direct’s Deborah Matthews has been named to NACHA’s Marketing Management Group. As Vice President of Marketing at ACH Direct, Matthews participates in numerous industry activities, including NACHA’s Electronic Check Council. She currently serves as the Marketing and Education Coordinator of the Steering Committee of the Internet Council, and has been a member of the American Payroll Association’s ACH Advisory Committee for the past five years. Matthews earned the Accredited ACH Professional designation in 2001, and holds a B.S. degree in Communications from Northwestern University. ACH Direct is one of the largest privately held electronic funds transfer processors in the United States, with over $3 billion in transactions processed in 2004.

Details

Transactional Data is a Gold Mine

A new report says that while banks today realize on average between $2 and $3 per average $50 transaction, primarily from interchange fees and interest on credit, there is additional hidden value in the data that can be obtained with electronic transactions. Chicago-based DiamondCluster says private label credit card providers know this. They said by modeling detailed customer and purchasing data it can greatly benefit both retailer and the card issuer. One such PLCC issuer told DiamondCluster that their estimate of the marketing effectiveness of such a campaign built on transactional data was worth up to $20 million to the retailer or an estimated $1 to $3 per transaction. The group also noted that another revenue opportunity lies in creating an ancillary information-based business.

Details

Charge-Offs Driven Above 7% in Oct

Managed charge-offs topped 7% in October due to the surge in bankruptcy filings in the final weeks leading up to the full implementation of the bankruptcy reform laws. The worst is not over since issuers treat bankruptcy related charge-offs differently with a possible 8% or 9% level coming. Over the past 12 months, managed charge-offs have been hovering between 5.79% and 6.38%. Credit card issuers should realize lower charge-off ratios in the second quarter of 2006 and beyond as the bankruptcy process becomes more onerous for American consumers. During July, August and September, there were a record 542,022 consumer and business bankruptcy filings, a 37% increase over one-year ago. It is expected that filings for the first two weeks of October may exceed 300,000. These filings will be reflected on card issuers’ books in December and January.

2005 MANAGED CHARGE-OFFS
Jan: 6.18%
Feb: 6.03%
Mar: 5.98%
Apr: 5.90%
May: 6.16%
Jun: 6.26%
Jul: 5.99%
Aug: 5.79%
Sep: 6.23%
Oct: 7.03%
Source: CardWeb.com. Inc.

Details

Diebold Loses Another Top Executive

Another major resignation hits the payments industry as the head of a major ATM firm exits. Diebold confirmed that chairman and CEO Wally O’Dell has resigned from the company and its board for “personal reasons.” Thomas Swidarski, president and COO, has been named CEO and elected to the company’s board effective yesterday. The Diebold board also elected John Lauer as non-executive chairman of the board. Other top executives have left Diebold in recent months. In August, Diebold announced that its SVP/CFO Gregory Geswein resigned. In September Eric Evans, President/COO and board member, departed. Diebold reported in October that its net income for the third quarter plunged 45% to $26.4 million due to sluggish U.S. sales, installation delays and Hurricane Katrina. ATM sales in the third quarter declined 3% to $194 million. ATM services revenues were off slightly to $217.3 million. Diebold says financial self-service orders were essentially flat for the quarter, with order growth in EMEA well into the double digits offset by a decline in North America. The company yesterday reaffirmed its EPS guidance for the fourth quarter of $0.50 to $0.60. (CF Library 8/8/05; 9/21/05; 10/26/05)

Details

CUP & TSYS

The payments-processing subsidiary of China UnionPay has signed a deal
to give U.S.-based TSYS a 34% equity interest that may increase to 45%
by early next year. The two-year old China UnionPay Data. Co, Ltd.
currently provides transaction processing, disaster recovery and other
services for banks and bankcard issuers in China. CUP is sanctioned by
the country’s central bank, has 166 members banks and is responsible
for operating the only national bankcard network to enable and promote
the acceptance of bankcards in China. More than 875 million general
purpose bankcards carry the CUP brand. The deal brings together the
largest bankcard processor in China and the world’s largest credit-card
processor.

Details