Wincor Nixdorf Introduces iBISTRO QSR

Wincor Nixdorf has enhanced its “BEETLE/iPOS” system with Intel “Pentium 4” technology and has introduced its “iBISTRO QSR” solution for the quick-service restaurant industry. The BEETLE /iPOS includes an integrated power supply, customer display and TFT touch screen in a small-footprint, splash-proof design that is well suited where space is at a premium. The BEETLE /iPOS supports both Windows and Linux-based operating systems. Wincor Nixdorf is a supplier of POS systems and automated teller machines with net sales of EUR 1,744 million last fiscal year.

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Bifurcated Holiday Season Forecast for 05

High debt burdens, reduced mortgage refinancing and persistently high energy prices are expected to crimp consumer budgets this holiday season. A new research paper says total retail sales may rise 5.7% from a year ago in November and December, but it is a fairly sharp slowdown from the pace of spending in 2004, especially after adjusting for inflation. Chicago-based Mesirow Financial found that shoppers will make more trade-offs in their spending decisions this year. For example, shopping more at discounters/warehouse clubs than traditional department stores and purchasing gift cards instead of actual gifts, which allow recipients more choice and an edge at getting their gifts during the after-holiday sales. Mesirow say the result is a sort of bifurcated holiday season with middle- and low-income households struggling to heat their homes and put gifts under the tree, while high-income households continue to live it up.

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PAYPASS MERCHANTS

Wellcome Supermarkets, HiLife convenience stores, and IS Coffee are the latest merchants to join the MasterCard “PayPass” program in Taiwan. In conjunction with the merchant launch in Taiwan, MasterCard also launched its latest “Priceless” TV commercial to support its rollout of MasterCard PayPass in the region. The spot shows a
young man scrambling to prepare for his dinner date. The spot highlights
the man running from the cinema to the convenience store, each time
enjoying the ease of the “MasterCard PayPass” card to “Tap & Go.” Upon
returning home, his “MasterCard PayPass” card provides him the speed and
convenience he needs once again when he realizes that his specially
prepared dinner has been burnt. He manages to salvage the situation by
buying a roasted chicken from the supermarket before his date turns up,
and finds that with the time saved using his “MasterCard PayPass” card, he even has some spare time to fix his hair. The narrator concludes by
stating, “A moment to spare: Priceless.” The “MasterCard PayPass” program is the largest contactless program in the world. The Kaohsiung Government transportation project for Southern Taiwan recently incorporated with the world’s first MasterCard “OneSMART PayPass
Chip Combi Card.”

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Northwest Airlines & AmEx Come to Terms

Northwest Airlines says it has reached a settlement with American Express after AmEx strong-armed the struggling domestic airline by holding $63.4 million in payments. Details of the agreement are likely to surface this week. Northwest Airlines filed a lawsuit against AmEx TRS seeking compensatory and punitive damages for withholding credit card payments on the day it filed for bankruptcy. Bankruptcy Judge Allen Gropper issued a temporary restraining order to force AmEx to release the funds. Northwest says 30% of its revenues flow through the AmEx network. The airline filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on September 14th. (CF Library 9/28/05)

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Axalto Dominates U.S. Contactless Cards

Smart card specialist, Axalto, says it will provide approximately five million of its contactless smart payment cards to top banks in the USA by the end of this year. The smart payment cards are manufactured in Maryland and in Orleans in France. Axalto’s contactless smart cards have an optional embossing capability that allows issuers to use all four available lines for embossing on the front of the card. Issuers use this fourth line to add a company name and for other marketing purposes. MasterCard’s “PayPass” is the leading US contactless payment program.

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Card-Less Black Friday a Merchant Disaster

VISA-funded Americans for Consumer Education and Competition says a recent blog calling for “A Day With Cash” on “Black Friday” would be a disaster for retailers. “A Day With Cash”, championed by blogger site WayTooHigh.com is encouraging consumers to use only greenbacks for shopping the day after Thanksgiving. Americans for Consumer Education & Competition advocates for financial literacy and consumer rights initiatives. ACEC serves as a clearing-house for information on financial issues, as the organization monitors, tracks and provides analysis of financial legislation and litigation that has a direct impact on consumers.

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KCB Launches 5 Prepaid & 2 Credit Cards

The Kenya Commercial Card Center marked its 10th
anniversary and launched seven new prepaid and debit cards. Five of them, the “KCB Student Card,” “Travel Card,” “Payroll Card,” “General
Purpose Card” and “MasterCard” unembossed are all prepaid cards. The other two, “KCB Classic Card” and “Corporate Card” are international credit cards offering attractive interest rates and flexibility to KCB
customers. The cards were officially launched during a ceremony to mark
the Card Center’s 10th anniversary. KCB Card Center was recently awarded
the “MSK Warrior Award” for the “Best Sales Promotion for 2004” by the
Marketing Society of Kenya.

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U.S. House Subcommittee Tackles ID Theft

A House subcommittee approved legislation that sets strong national standards, provides for increased oversight of information brokers, and creates a workable data security and breach notification regime that provides incentives for technological solutions to security issues that will benefit consumers and the nation’s commercial infrastructure alike. On a vote of 13-8, the Energy and Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade and Consumer Protection approved the “Data Accountability and Trust Act” or “H.R. 4127.” The bill has seven cosponsors, including House Republican Conference Chairman Deborah Pryce, R-Ohio. As approved by the subcommittee, the “DATA Act would direct the FTC to create rules requiring security for personal information; require entities to have a security policy that explains the “collection, use, sale, other dissemination, and security” of the data they hold; require entities to appoint and identify a person in the organization that is responsible for information security; require any entity that experiences a breach of security to notify all those in the USA whose information was acquired by an unauthorized person as a result of the breach; define “breach of security” as the unauthorized acquisition of personal information where it is reasonable to conclude there is significant risk of identity theft; provide for an FTC or independent audit of an information broker’s security practices following a breach of security; and prohibit costly and disruptive lawsuits by preempting state breach notification laws with private rights of action.

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Issuers Brace for a Charge-Off Spike in Dec

Due to the surge in bankruptcy filings in the final weeks leading up to the full implementation of the bankruptcy reform laws, charge-offs, as a percentage of managed outstandings, will likely breakthrough the 8% milestone and could breach the 9% level in January. Over the past 12 months, managed charge-offs have been hovering between 5.79% and 6.38%. The “pain is the gain” for credit card issuers who should realize lower charge-off ratios in the second quarter of 2006 and beyond as the bankruptcy process becomes more onerous for American consumers. Personal bankruptcy petitions in September set an all-time high, topping 200,000. 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: 6.87%*
Nov: 7.39%*
Dec: 8.21%*
* projected
Source: CardWeb.com. Inc.

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Affluent Americans Tighten Holiday Spending

The latest consumer pulse indicates that affluent Americans think the economy is headed in the wrong direction and have little confidence in the future. More than four out of ten believe the economy will be worse in three months and more than six out of ten are “very concerned” about the impact of high oil prices on the U.S. economy. The latest quarterly “McDonald Financial Group Affluent Consumer Confidence Index” says the latest figures represent the lowest index level since April 2003. According to the survey, 41% believe the economy will be worse in three months. McDonald noted that the quarter’s response may have been influenced by a confluence of events including rising oil prices, Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, and the continuing situation in Iraq, which have left many affluent individuals feeling concerned about the future of the national economy. The American Affluence Research Center recently found that affluence spending will likely total $57 billion for December holiday gifts, about 1.6% below 2004 spending levels. Chicago-based Spectrem Group found earlier this year that the number of U.S. households with a net worth of $1 million or more increased 21% last year. A net gain of 1.3 millionaires were added to the segment during 2004, bringing the total number to 7.5 million. The measure excludes the value of the primary residence. (CF Library 5/25/05 and 10/31/05)

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