Holiday Retail Sales Increase for 2013

Severe winter weather did not dampen December retail sales as shoppers took advantage of heavy promotions and last-minute deals. According to the National Retail Federation, December retail sales, which excludes automobiles, gas stations and restaurants, increased 0.4 percent seasonally adjusted month-to-month, and 4.6 percent unadjusted year-over-year. Total holiday retail sales, which includes November and December sales, increased 3.8 percent to $601.8 billion, which was in line with NRF’s projected forecast of 3.9 percent and $602.1 billion. In addition, non-store holiday sales, which is an indicator of online and e-commerce sales, grew 9.3 percent to $95.7 billion. December retail sales, released today by the U.S. Census Bureau, which include categories such as automobiles, gasoline stations, and restaurants, increased 0.2 percent seasonally adjusted month-to-month, and 4.1 percent adjusted year-over-year.

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Chase Earnings Drop As Expected

JPMorgan Chase & Co reported net income for the 4th Quarter 2013 at $5.3 billion. This was a slight increase from 4th Q 2012 which was reported at $5.2 billion. Revenue for the quarter was down 1% to $24 billion compared to the same period in 2012. Legal costs associated with a number of issues was noted as a reason for the drop in profits. Adjusted for the significant items disclosed in our earnings press releases this quarter and in the fourth quarter of 2012, EPS would have been $1.40 this year compared with $1.35 in the prior year and ROTCE would have been 15% this year, flat compared with the prior year.

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Jones Group Selects VeriFone

VeriFone Systems, Inc. announced that The Jones Group Inc. has selected VeriFone solutions to enable mobile payment acceptance and enhance customer experience for its internationally recognized brands, including Jones New York and Nine West. VeriFone will upgrade the brands’ payment environments with its PAYware Mobile e210 mobile point-of-sale (mPOS) solution and the MX 915, an NFC-enabled, multi-media payment terminal.

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Card Metrics

U.S. credit card margins and yields have largely been holding steady over the past year. However, Citibank reported that its net credit margin for credit cards rose 89 basis points in the third quarter to 11.16%. Net credit margin is total revenues, net of interest expense, less net credit losses and policy benefits and claims. Chase reports its total net revenue for credit cards declined slightly from 12.46% one-year ago to 12.22% in the third quarter of this year. Total net revenue is a percentage of average loans.

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VISA – New Logo and Tagline

Visa Inc. launched “Everywhere you want to be,” a multi-stakeholder communications platform that reflects our ambition to deliver universal access to Visa’s secure, reliable and convenient digital payments. For decades, Visa, the global digital payments network, has been driven by a set of ideals anchored in our vision of being the “best way to pay and be paid.” This has expanded in recent years to include “for everyone, everywhere.” By evolving our famous tagline – “It’s everywhere you want to be” – the company is recommitting to these ideals and vision for consumers, merchants, governments, financial institutions and employees with a unified message tailored to each audience.

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Abine Offers Free Masked Credit Cards

Online privacy company Abine is providing Masked Credit Cards for free to exposed shoppers for their next online or offline purchases. Masked Credit Cards enable consumers to shop without ever revealing their actual credit card number. The result? 100% protection from data breaches. Abine’s Masked Credit Cards protect your existing credit cards by providing an alternative to giving out your real credit card for purchases. Masked Credit Cards have completely unique 16-digit card numbers, expiration dates, and security codes, so the places you shop never get your real credit card info. These cards are one-time use only, can be created with any existing debit or credit card, and expire right after you use them.

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OceanFirst Selects NCR

OceanFirst Bank has chosen ATM software and hardware solutions from NCR Corporation in order to deliver an omnichannel banking experience. OceanFirst Bank’s online and mobile banking experience is provided by Digital Insight, the leading provider of digital banking services, which NCR acquired in January 2014. OceanFirst Bank will install more than 20 NCR SelfServ ATMs with scalable deposit module (SDM). SDM allows bank customers to deposit cash and checks in a mixed bunch and as a single transaction to make deposits significantly twice as fast as typical ATM deposits. In addition, the bank will install NCR marketing software, including APTRA Connections, Promote and Exchange, to help personalize the ATM customer experience and deliver targeted promotions over the network.

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MasterCard and Ecobank Group Partner

Ecobank Transnational Inc. and MasterCard today announced a multi-country licensing agreement which will provide access to MasterCard’s electronic payments solutions for Ecobank’s customers in a further 23 African countries. The agreement is the culmination of a Memorandum of Understanding (“MOU”) originally signed in November 2011, and importantly, enables electronic payments access to more than 60% of Africa’s population. Ecobank subsidiaries in 28 countries across Sub-Saharan Africa are now licensed to issue and accept electronic payments through MasterCard prepaid, debit and credit cards. With this partnership, Ecobank’s customers in this fast-growing region will have access to MasterCard’s credit, debit and prepaid card products, whilst MasterCard will leverage Ecobank’s unrivalled pan-African footprint to provide its electronic payments solutions to a wider customer base.

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Better ATM Partners with Advanced Network

Better ATM Services announced it has finalized a reseller agreement with Advanced Network Inc. As a result of the agreement, ANI becomes a member of Better ATM Services’ reseller network and will offer Better ATM Services’ patented technology and ATM-issued Visa gift cards to more than 60 financial institutions and their 600 ATMs in California. ANI has been providing California financial institutions with state-of-the-art ATM services since 1979. The company offers clients 1st and 2nd service, cash delivery, cash management, image and envelope deposit processing, ATM cleaning, AB244 light surveys, and call center services. In addition, ANI is an authorized NCR sales and service provider.

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Payment Alliance International and BECU Partner

Payment Alliance International and BECU jointly announced today that they have entered into an agreement to brand 138 ATMs located at Rite Aid stores in Washington state. PAI will own and operate all of the ATMs inside Rite Aid stores. BECU members will enjoy surcharge-free access and convenience at BECU-branded ATMs in Rite Aid stores for cash-only transactions. The agreement creates one of the largest ATM networks in the area with more than 300 BECU-branded ATMs in the Puget Sound region and 350 plus BECU-branded ATMs in the state of Washington. PAI operates one of the largest ATM networks in the United States, with equipment at more than 60,000 retail locations across the country. As part of the network, the company provides ATM services for approximately 1,500 Rite Aid locations nationwide.

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Magento Adds Credit Card Payment Extension

First Atlantic Commerce (FAC) today announced its technology partner, Tropical Web Shop, has developed an extension for the leading eCommerce platform, Magento, enabling merchants to gain simple and easy access to the software. Tropical Web Shop has created an extension to the software, which adds the credit card payment functionality for the overall eCommerce system. The e-Commerce First Atlantic Commerce Payment Gateway Extension for Magento CE is now available direct from Tropical Web Shop, saving merchants time required to customize their integration and configure it to FAC’s payment gateway.

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