AmEx Launches its First Russian Credit Cards

American Express and Russian Standard Bank have launched the first AmEx cards issued in Russia. RSB has issued more than 2.4 million credit cards and has a presence in more than 2000 cities in Russia. The “American Express Green,” “Gold,” “Platinum” and “Centurion” Cards are ruble and dollar denominated. RSB is responsible for issuing the cards, extending credit, managing accounts, marketing and customer service support. AmEx will provide its technical, operational and marketing experience in managing a global card business and access to its global network of millions of merchants. AmEx will also continue to manage relationships with merchants in Russia, including signing new merchants to accept the card. American Express currently has more than 90-partnerships in more than 100 countries around the world.

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Commerciant Hires Two Top Sales Executives

Houston-based Commerciant has hired Hubert Vaz-Nayak, as SVP/Sales & Marketing and Marc Beauchamp as VP/Indirect Sales.

Mr. Vaz-Nayak was most recently the Director of the IT Sector Program at the Houston Technology Center, and SVP of Marketing & Strategy at Impresa Technologies, a management consulting company. Through both organizations, he helped technology sector companies to establish and rapidly grow their market presence via processes he has honed over the course of his career. Beauchamp has built several successful bankcard organizations, managing a staff of over 100 sales people, with sales offices in all the major markets in the U.S. After the sale of his company in 2001, he launched a bankcard consulting firm. Mr. Beauchamp has worked with some of the largest ISOs in the industry and has trained over 3,000 bankcard sales representatives across the country (www.bankcard101.com). He is the author of “How to Survive and Thrive in The Merchant Services Industry.”

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TNB Intros VIP CardStation for Credit Unions

Dallas-based TNB Card Services has introduced “VIP CardStation,” an online tool that gives credit unions real-time control to update cardholder data and logs any changes made to a cardholder’s account with a record kept of who made the change and when. The VIP CardStation screen looks very similar to Windows-based screens that computer users are familiar with. Navigation has been simplified to allow point-and click access to various tasks. Complex work flows have been eliminated and replaced with simple “wizards” that walk the user through multi-step functions. VIP CardStation also offers built-in system checks to reduce common keying errors, audit reporting, and detailed delinquency information by cycle. TNB Card Services provides electronic payments processing, as well as an agent issuing solution for credit unions nationwide.

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SAM’S CLUB Gets Hacked in Late September

SAM’S CLUB announced this weekend it is investigating credit card fraud affecting cardholders who purchased gas at SAM’S CLUB stations between September 21st and October 2nd. The company has notified the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Arkansas and the U.S. Secret Service and asked for their assistance in the investigation. The investigation began when the credit card issuers reported that some cardholders were reporting fraudulent charges on their statements. It is still in its preliminary stages, with no determination on how the data was improperly obtained.

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RSA to Acquire Fraud Expert Cyota for $145MM

RSA Security has inked a deal to acquire privately-held Cyota for approximately $145 million. Cyota’s online fraud services currently protects more than 430 million accounts, including seven of the top 10 banks in the U.S. and four of the top five in the U.K. The transaction involves up to $136 million in cash for all of the outstanding stock of Cyota, $5.5 million in cash to fund a three-year retention pool and at least $3.5 million for the assumption of all outstanding Cyota stock options. RSA Security believes that the acquisition will enable the Company to establish itself as a strategic hub for the consumer marketplace, providing the ability to authenticate and protect all aspects of online banking and e-commerce: end-users, merchants and transactions. Cyota created the first anti-phishing solution in Dec. 2003. The transaction is expected to close within 30 days. RSA Security was advised on the acquisition by America’s Growth Capital.

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VeriFone Revenues Up 20%; Profits Up 4X

VeriFone reported that net revenues for the quarter ending October 31st rose 20% to $130.5 million as profits more than quadrupled. The payment terminal manufacturer says the increase was driven by a 34% year-over-year gain in its international business. VeriFone’s net income for the quarter was $12.1 million compared to $2.8 million for the year ago period. During the quarter, VeriFone and TaxiTronic created a joint venture to equip taxis with integrated fleet management and customer payment systems, Meijer Stores completed the in-place updating of thousands of VeriFone “Omni 7000MPD” terminals and Houston-based ISO Retriever Payment Systems selected VeriFone as the preferred provider of payment solutions for its nearly 100,000 merchant sites. Internationally, VeriFone recently announced a second major order from a major Mexican bank for a combination of IP, Wi-Fi and GPRS systems and also received the “CB5.2” certification from Groupement des Cartes Bancaires in France for the “Vx 510” countertop payment solution. VeriFone went public on April 29th. For complete details on VeriFone’s latest performance, visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]). (CF Library 9/13/05; 10/24/05; 10/25/05)

REVENUE HISTORICAL
3Q/03: $ 90.3 million
4Q/03: $ 87.9 million
1Q/04: $ 89.5 million
2Q/04: $104.0 million
3Q/04: $108.6 million
4Q/04: $111.3 million
1Q/05: $117.9 million
2Q/05: $125.7 million
3Q/05: $130.5 million
Source: CardData (www.carddata.com)

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

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CollectivePOS Powers Holiday Volume

According to a recent survey, many independent and
small-chain merchants will find themselves unprepared to accommodate
potential customers’ payment needs and are at risk of falling short of
their earning potential. The pre-holiday shopping period will
bring in approximately $50 billion in sales for Canadian retailers and
70% of Canadians will choose credit or debit cards as their
preferred method of payment for holiday purchases. Collective Point of
Sale Solutions helps independent and small-chain merchants to increase
profits by offering a variety of wired and wireless point-of-sale
terminals available for lease or purchase to assist retailers to quicker
checkouts and customer service. CollectivePOS has more than 7,000 independent and small-chain merchants. There are 53 million credit cards and nearly 20 million debit cards in Canadian circulation.

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DSW Settles FTC Card Security Charges

OH-based shoe discounter DSW has agreed to settle FTC charges that it failed to take reasonable security measures to protect customer credit card data. Retail Ventures, the parent of DSW, confirmed in March that credit card and other purchase information from a portion of DSW Shoe Warehouse customers was stolen. According to the FTC, DSW’s data-security failure allowed hackers to gain access to the credit card, debit card and checking account information of more than 1.4 million customers. About 96,000 checking accounts were compromised. DSW operates approximately 190 stores in 32 states. The compromised information affected consumers who shopped at 103 stores during December, January, and February. The settlement requires DSW to implement a comprehensive information-security program and obtain audits by an independent third-party security professional every other year for 20 years.

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MEI Intros a Cash Acceptor+Card Reader

Mars Electronics announced the first implementation of its “MEI CASHFLOW Combo Acceptor,” the industryâ™s only combination cash acceptor and credit card reader unit. The MEI Series 2000 Combo Acceptor features a Series 2000 bill acceptor and a debris-resistant, swipe-style credit card reader. Credit card transactions are integrated through the kiosk for delivery to the vendorâ™s backend system. MEIâ™s Series 2000 bill acceptors use advanced optical scanning technology to identify and validate legitimate bills in virtually any condition. The equipment will accept wet, damaged, and crinkled bills and coupons; and meets the MEI Gold Standard for water resistance with full fluid protection and jam resistance, preventing shorted boards.

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Developers Diversified Signs a MasterCard Deal

Developers Diversified Realty has entered into a multi-year sponsorship
and marketing agreement with MasterCard International. The agreement
provides MasterCard with exclusive representation at
Developers Diversified’s shopping centers in Puerto Rico, including
brand identification at each property and promotional opportunities
centered around MasterCard’s global “Priceless” moments campaign. In
addition, MasterCard will build brand identity at the shopping centers
through common area display, interactive exhibit and customer service
kiosk space. Developers Diversified currently owns and manages over 500
operating and development properties totaling approximately 113 million
square feet of real estate in 44 states including nearly six million
square feet in Puerto Rico.

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Small Business Spending Remains Strong

Consumer and business spending through November indicates that small business growth remains strong nationwide. The latest joint research by the National Federation of Independent Business and VISA USA shows that 42% of respondents reported that sales are “good,” while 57% cited their sales prospects for the next three months as a reason for being optimistic when looking ahead. VISA says spending on VISA cards was $758 billion for the period from Jan. 1st to Oct. 31st, a 12.7% increase over the same period last year. Discretionary spending such as the travel and entertainment sector rose by 14.4% for the period from Aug. 8th to Nov. 13th. The joint report also says that non-payroll spending by U.S. business and government agencies will continue a pattern of solid growth, increasing an estimated 6% this year to $16.2 trillion.

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