Washington Post Uses Paymetric Card Solution

Houston-based Paymetric is providing its SAP-integrated payment card solution to The Washington Post, its 100th client. The XiPay solution from Paymetric integrates credit card acceptance with native SAP workflows and infrastructure, streamlining sales and customer service. Businesses prefer to buy from firms that help them conduct business efficiently and accurately. Paymetric is the market leader in Enterprise Payment solutions with specific focus on SAP payment processing.

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MasterCard Holiday Transactions Up Nearly 10%

Card activity for the third holiday shopping weekend rose nearly 8% compared to one-year ago, however the growth rate was about half the pace of the previous weekend. On average, the number of payment card transactions over the first three shopping weekends of this year is up 10.8%, compared to last year. MasterCard says its cumulative growth in global transactions for the season, to-date, is 9.8%. For the weekend of December 10-11, MasterCard processed 67.7 million authorizations over its “Banknet” network, as compared to 62.8 million for the same period in 2003. Through December 11, MasterCard processed 483.1 million transactions, as compared to 439.9 million at this same time in 2003. On “Black Friday” MasterCard processed over 35.1 million transactions, a 10.1% growth over the 31.8 million authorization transactions it handled on the same day in 2003.

MASTERCARD TRANSACTIONS
Holiday Weekend Transactions Growth
Nov 26-27 64.2 million +9.3%
Dec 3-4 64.6 million +15.8%
Dec 10-11 67.7 million +7.8%
TOTAL 196.5 million +10.8%
Source: MasterCard International

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Personal Debt Growth May Undermine UK Lenders

The Bank of England released its semi-annual “Financial Stability Report which says unsecured borrowing by individuals, especially credit cards, may create “heightened long-term vulnerabilities.” The BOE noted that total borrowing by British households continues to grow at annual rate of 15%, raising household debt to 140% of aggregate income. The BOE says this is above the levels in the USA and most large European countries. The report also found that 40% of mortgage holders agreed with the statement, “My house value has risen so much that I do not worry about other debts I may have.” The BOE cautioned that financing difficulties would be exacerbated if any fall in house prices were accompanied by a wider economic slowdown. Looking forward, the BOE says banks face a number of risk management challenges, especially those related to new bankruptcy laws.

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Sterling Jewelers Installs RealPOS Terminals

Sterling Jewelers, the world’s largest specialty retail jeweler, has installed NCR “RealPOS” POS terminals in all of its 1,141 U.S. locations. Sterling Jewelers Inc., which operates Kay Jewelers, Jared The Galleria Of Jewelry and a number of well-established regional names, recently completed installation of the new terminals that began in July 2004. NCR Corporation is a leading global technology company helping businesses build stronger relationships with their customers.

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Metavante Processes the Clout Mini VISA Card

Clout Financial Services is piloting VISA mini cards with Metavante providing account processing, card personalization and fulfillment services, as well as underwriting, compliance, customer service, collections, handling of disputes, chargebacks and fraud monitoring services. The Clout Visa mini card is an innovative payment tool, about half the size (1.5″ X 2.5″) of a regular credit card, and is being offered as a companion to full-sized credit cards. Clout is a financial services company dedicated to providing access to a wide array of financial products to career minded students and young professionals. Metavante Corporation delivers banking and payment technologies to financial services firms and businesses worldwide.

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Rewards Network Launches an Online Marketplace

Chicago-based Rewards Network has teamed with Allegiance Marketing Resources to launch a new “Shopping and Services Program.” Rewards Network members can now earn extra rewards when purchasing merchandise at retailers like Target, Brookstone, Dell and Best Buy. Members must use their registered credit card to earn “Cashback Rewards” while shopping. Rewards Network has 3.7 million active members, over 10,600 restaurants and more than 11,100 hotels participating in its rewards programs.

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TowerGroup Expands its Global Consulting Practice

TowerGroup has expanded the capabilities of its Global Consulting practice. Sam Radwan, a former PwC, IBM and Accenture senior leader who has spent his entire career serving the financial services industry, has joined TowerGroup as the new head of Global Consulting. Also, Tim Sharman has been named the new head of Banking & Payments for TowerGroup Consulting. TowerGroup’s Banking and Payments team says that next year promises to be the year when banking and payments industry participants will start to realize the objective of creating the flexible, diversified and responsive enterprise that customers demand. Beyond the challenges of regulatory compliance and merger integration, bankers will be completing past investments and introducing early-stage enterprise rollouts that together will drive organic growth and increased efficiency.

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Fraudulent TX Liability Shifts on Jan 1st

U.K. businesses that accept card payments are reminded that a liability shift comes into force on January 1st. After this date, fraudulent transactions on “chip and PIN” cards at the point-of-sale that could have been prevented using “chip and PIN” technology will become the responsibility of the outlet where the fraud took
place. Banks will no longer pick up the loss. There is no change at all
in liability for cardholders.

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Bankruptcy Filings Decline Sharply in Oct

Bankruptcy filings during October declined more than 10% over year ago levels. Overall, bankruptcy filings are down more than 3% this year. During October, 133,404 filings were made compared to 148,044 for October 2003. Year-to-date bankruptcy filings were 1.3 million. During the 12-month period ending September 30th, there were 1,618,987 bankruptcies filed, down from the 1,661,996 bankruptcy cases filed in fiscal year 2003. During the third quarter, there were 396,438 consumer and business bankruptcy filings, a decline of more than 4% over 3Q/03, and down nearly 6% from the previous quarter. The decline for the first nine months of this year is the first drop in consumer bankruptcy filings since 2000.

Monthly Filings Historical
Oct 03: 148,044
Nov 03: 131,921
Dec 03: 113,383
Jan 04: 114,737
Feb 04: 124,719
Mar 04: 152,567
Apr 04: 145,543
May 04: 136,509
Jun 04: 127,742
Jul 04: 133,390
Aug 04: 125,783
Sep 04: 127,664
Oct 04: 133,404
Source: CardData (www.carddata.com)

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OCT 04 DEBT

Credit card outstandings rose GBP600 million during October to bring total outstandings to GBP57.1 billion, a slight gain over last October’s pace. Total net lending to consumers for October hit GBP181.6 billion, an increase of GBP1.5 billion over September. Overall, consumer credit grew 0.9% in October, seasonally adjusted, GBP 100 million weaker than the increase in September. The three-month (annualized) growth rate fell to 11.8% from 12.5% (12.4%) in September while the twelve-month growth rate fell to 11.8% from 12.0% (11.9%) in September. Gross advances were GBP18.7 billion, GBP200 million higher than the average three months to September. The Bank of England has maintained its benchmark interest rate at 4.75%.

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HSBC Retail Hires Market Development Exec

HSBC – North America has hired Molly McCombe, formerly with McKinsey & Company, as managing director of new market development for its retail services business. Before joining HSBC, McCombe was an associate principal at the Chicago office of McKinsey & Company, where she focused on strategy, growth and performance improvement for financial services industry clients. McCombe received a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Boston University. She received her master’s from Northwestern University’s Kellogg Graduate School of Management. HSBC – North America includes all of HSBC’s U. S. and Canadian businesses, including the former Household businesses, and has assets approaching $300 billion.

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