American Express 4Q EPS Rises

American Express Company reported 4Q net income of $1.3 billion, up from $637 million a year ago. Diluted earnings per share rose to $1.21, from $0.56 a year ago. Excluding expenses associated with the merchant litigation settlement agreement announced in late December, fourth-quarter adjusted net income was $1.3 billion, or $1.25 per share. U.S. Card Services reported 4Q net income of $864 million, up from $423 million while International Card Services reported 4Q net income of $103 million, up 8 percent from $95 million a year ago. Total revenues net of interest expense increased 8% for U.S. Card Services and 2% for International Card Services.

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TSYS Announces Authorization Controls

TSYS announced plans today to release TSYS Authorization ControlsSM ” a new product that enables credit and debit cardholders to turn their account “on” or “off” from any user interface. This innovative product can be integrated with existing mobile and other online customer service tools, and will help financial institutions empower their consumers to manage their own account preferences, reduce fraud and build customer loyalty. According to the recent TSYS 2013 Consumer Payment Choice Study, more than half of consumers stated they would be “Interested” in using their phone to temporarily allow or block transactions on their card.

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NRF Asks Appeals Court to Uphold Lower Swipe Fee Cap

The National Retail Federation today asked an appeals court to uphold a judge’s ruling that the Federal Reserve set its cap on debit card swipe fees far higher than intended by Congress and that the cap needs to be recalculated at a lower level. A three-judge panel of the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals is scheduled to hold a hearing in Washington this morning on the Fed’s challenge of U.S. District Court Judge Richard Leon’s July ruling that the 21-cent cap that took effect in 2011 was too high. The ruling came in a lawsuit brought by NRF and other groups.

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Wallaby Certified by PCI

Wallaby announced its official certification by the Payment Card Industry (PCI) Security Standards Council, making Wallaby the first and only credit card optimization solution to receive PCI certification. The certification reflects Wallaby’s full compliance with PCI standards for the security of cardholder data. The report commended Wallaby for its effective implementation of information security policies and processes.

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Acculynk Seeks PIN-Based Patent

Acculynk announced that the European Patent Office granted Acculynk patent protection for the company’s propriety process for PIN based authentication over the Internet. The patent protects the mechanisms and processes behind Acculynk’s innovative PaySecure® product, a software-only service that allows consumers to pay for online purchases with their debit card and bank-issued PIN. Acculynk is the only global payment gateway that brings e-Commerce merchants PIN authenticated payments for debit or credit cards across some of the largest markets in the world. Currently the PaySecure solution is supported in 3 of the 5 largest PIN debit markets: USA, India and China. Globally Acculynk supports over two billion bank issued cards in its network.

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First Professional Sports Team to Accept Bitcoin

The Sacramento Kings announced they will become the first major professional sports franchise to accept Bitcoin, a popular online currency. The bitcoin purchases will be processed through BitPay. Since purchasing the Kings earlier this year, majority team owner Vivek Ranadivé has directed a business philosophy coined “NBA 3.0,” which focuses on investments in technology, globalization and deep community partnerships. The BitPay relationship marks another manifestation of the 3.0 philosophy in Sacramento.

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Omanye Money Now In Nigeria and Ghana

Omanye Money whose services are largely targeted at the unbanked and under-banked world-wide, has announced the introduction of international mobile money transfer to bank accounts in Nigeria and Ghana. Their customers can now send money from the Omanye mobile site and website wherever they are in the world and users of the eTranzact Mobile Money mobile service (pocketmoni) in Nigeria now have the option of receiving international transfers from Omanye Money customers all over the world.

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Extreme Weather Bosts Online Holiday Shopping

For the first time in Canadian eCommerce history, the online share of retail sales totaled 7.8% for the month of December according to MasterCard SpendingPulse, a macro-economic report that leverages purchase information across all forms of payment – credit cards, cash and cheque – to offer detailed insight into consumer spending trends. The eCommerce channel showed a 22.2% month-over-month increase in December, representing the 54th consecutive month of positive year-over-year growth for the channel. Total Canadian retail growth was steady but slow, posting a year-over-year growth of 2.3% and demonstrating the strength of eCommerce retail growth. The price index also declined significantly due to deep promotions during the holidays.

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DINERS CLUB INTERNATIONAL Volume

Payments volume for Diners Club International declined 7.7% year-on-year and 4.6% sequentially in the third quarter to $6.5 billion. Acquired by Discover Financial Services in July 2008, the international card has consistently hovered between $6.5 billion and $7.0 billion in quarterly payments volume. In 2009 Discover and its franchises launched a major marketing initiative to revitalize the brand. Since acquiring the Diners Club, Discover has been aggressively expanding acceptance.

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Pensio and ReD payment and fraud prevention solution

Pensio, the Danish payment management specialist, and leading global fraud prevention provider ReD, have announced a new partnership that is offering an integrated, tailored fraud screening solution to Pensio’s broad range of merchant customers. The first merchant to take advantage of the integrated service is progressive retailer LN-CC. David Hobson, ecommerce Director at LN-CC said, “As we expand our global online presence, it’s vital that we have the right fraud detection in place to protect our business. By working with Pensio and ReD we achieve that for every type of payment instrument.”

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Citigroup Net Profit Doubles

Citigroup reported today a 4Q profit for 2013 at double that of its 4Q profit of 2012. Net Income was at $2.7 billion on revenues of $17.8 billion for 4Q/2013 compared to net income of $1.2 billion on revenues of $17.9 billion for 4Q/2012. CVA/DVA was a negative $164 million ($100 million after-tax) in the fourth quarter, mainly resulting from the improvement in Citigroup’s credit spreads, compared to negative $485 million ($301 million after-tax) in the prior year period. Excluding CVA/DVA, fourth quarter revenues were $17.9 billion, down 2% from the prior year period. Fourth quarter 2013 results also included a $189 million after-tax benefit related to the divestiture of Citi’s Credicard business in Brazil, while results in the prior year period included a $1.0 billion repositioning charge ($653 million after-tax). Excluding CVA/DVA, the impact of the Credicard divestiture in the fourth quarter 2013 and the fourth quarter 2012 repositioning charge,6 earnings were $0.82 per diluted share, up 19% from the prior year period.

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Visa Metrics 2014

Visa has decided to no longer provide financial metrics for marketing expense, capital expenditures and tax rate for fiscal full-year 2014. However, for fiscal full-year 2014 Visa did provide financial metrics on net revenue growth and client incentives as a percent of gross income. Visa expects annual net revenue growth to be in the low double-digits on a constant dollar basis, with an expectation of two percentage points of negative foreign currency impact for fiscal full-year 2014.

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