Unemployment Rate Still Very Flat, Down .1%

Nonfarm payroll employment was up by 216,000 jobs in March as the unemployment rate was down to 8.8% while those unemployed totaled 13.5 million, a full 1% drop since November 2010. Meanwhile, 8.2 million lost jobs, a figure which has fallen by 1.3 million over the past 12 months as those jobless for 27 weeks or more totaled 6.1 million, accounting for 45.5% of the unemployed, up from 43.9%. Involuntary part time workers subsidizing for lost hours totaled 8.4 million in March, up from the previous month figure of 8.3 million. With this, 2.4 million were marginally attached to the labor force, up from the year ago figure slightly but down from the February figure of 2.7 million. Among these, 921,000 are workers having given up job searching, way up from the year ago figure of 184,000.

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Consumer Confidence – Still Slipping on High Gas Prices

Contrary to growing figures for promising growth across the board, IE. falling unemployment and credit card chargeoffs, consumer confidence is continuing to slip, down for the second straight month in March thanks to high gas prices on budding pessimism. This, as indicated on the Discover U.S. Spending Monitor, also shows the majority of consumers rate the economy as poor at 53%, practically unchanged from February. Having fallen 2.6 points to 89.5 to below 90 for the first time since December 2010, the Discover U.S. Spending Monitor reflected 35% rate the economy as fair and just 10% rate the economy as good or excellent.

Furthermore, the majority of Americans at 51% feel economic conditions are getting worse, a 7-point jump from February and the highest number since September 2010. Twenty percent of respondents feel conditions are the same, while 25 percent of the population feels the economy is improving. Only Thirty-two percent rate their finances as good or excellent, down 3 points from February; 42% rate their finances as fair; and 24% say their finances are poor. Overall, 33 percent of consumers expect to spend more in the month ahead, an 8-point rise from February while a majority of consumers at 55% are planning to spend more on gas, groceries and their mortgages, up 14 points from February and the highest since July 2008.

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First Data and SK C&C USA Kickoff mPayment

First Data and SK C&C USA mobile commerce technology have unveiled the “Trusted Service Manager” (TSM) solution, available for NFC devices for issuers, merchants and mobile network operators (MNOs). Providing consumers mobile payment on a scalable, cost-effective and secure service, the First Data “TSM” provides the infrastructure, functionality and comprehensive business service to enable over-the-air (OTA) provisioning and management of a variety of accounts to any mobile device for use at a physical POS. With increasingly complex technologies emerging throughout every industry, “TSM” functions through a secure interface to the service provider and can access any account and provides robust account lifecycle management.

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AmEx Adds Perks for International Travelers

American Express has added three new benefits to its Platinum Card, including new international lounge access, the opportunity to zip through International Arrivals at U.S. airports and the elimination of foreign exchange fees. The “Priority Pass Select” allows card members access to more than 600 international airport lounges in more than 100 countries and more than 300 cities worldwide. After enrolling in the program at americanexpress.com/transformtravel, Card members will receive their Priority Pass Select card in the mail and can begin enjoying the relaxing ambience of the lounges that include a variety of benefits such as complimentary refreshments, snacks and internet access.

Cardholders also get $100 Global Entry Credit, which allows approved members expedited clearance and the ability to bypass lines at International Arrivals in major U.S. airports when returning from traveling abroad, and enjoy elimination of Foreign Currency Transaction Fees. This is along with a $200 Airline Fee Credit towards incidental airline fees that are charged on the Card member’s enrolled Platinum Card on their selected airline; a 20% Travel Bonus; and a Fine Hotels & Resorts Program, granting room upgrades (upon availability), daily continental breakfast for two, 4 p.m. late check-out and an additional special amenity worth a minimum of $450 per stay.

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FreedomPay Introduces Flexible Payment Gateway

FreedomPay “FreeWay” SaaS payment and transaction gateway has been introduced to allow independent software developers to quickly, easily, and cost-effectively create new software applications. The “FreeWay” gateway is currently used by more than 1,000 clients including more than two dozen US Federal Agencies as well as a who’s who of leading corporations in finance, media, pharmaceuticals, publishing, and manufacturing, as well as many of the elite healthcare teaching institutions in North America. The gateway extends the benefits of Level 4 data and greatly simplified PCI DSS interface for satisfying credit card processing security. Level 4 data includes specific details about the product sold- collected right at the POS- such as manufacturer, make, model, model year, part number, serial number, stock-keeping unit, promotional, or loyalty reward to analyze real-time customer purchasing trends.

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Capital One Hailes Promo as a Rapid Success

Capital One Financial Corporation announced that the one billion mile allocation for matching consumers’ airline credit card reward miles was depleted in just 25 days. Launched on March 10, the unprecedented “Match My Miles” promotion gave consumers who opened a Capital One Venture Card the opportunity to match up to 100,000 miles they currently had in an airline credit card rewards program. Since its launch on March 10th, the “Match My Miles Challenge” has been heralded by experts in the industry. Those who apply for a Venture card moving forward still have the opportunity to qualify for 10,000 bonus miles when they open a new Venture account. Features include double miles on every purchase, every day; fly free on any airline, anytime, with no blackout dates or restrictions; miles for any travel purchase; and no foreign transaction fees.

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Capital One Acquires Kohl’s Private-Label Card Portfolio

Kohl’s Department Stores completed its private-label credit card portfolio transfer to Capital One Financial. With this, Capital One has acquired more than 20 million existing Kohl’s Charge accounts and through the seven-year agreement will offer private-label credit cards to new and existing Kohl’s customers. The transfer will be seamless for cardholders as Kohl’s will continue to manage all customer service, advertising and marketing initiatives supporting its Kohl’s Charge accounts. Kohl’s Charge customers will continue to receive the same exclusive benefits, including savings on their first purchase, Pick-Your-Day shopping passes and special event discounts throughout the year.

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TeamCain & 3Delta to Deliver Payment Credit Card Processing

3Delta Systems online business-to-business (B2B) credit payment solutions is entering a strategic partnership with TeamCain of JD Edwards consulting to deliver advanced payments acceptance, processing functionality and multilayer payment data security. With the initial release of the “Payment WorkSuite,” Oracle JD Edwards users will have access to six integrated yet securely separated applications. This will mitigate business risk and lower payment processing costs for large enterprises. Included is “EC-Zone” virtual payment application that lets you process payments from a web browser; “EC-Linx” server-to-server, real-time payment processing and authorization for e-commerce applications; “EC-Batch” file-based system for processing payment transactions in batches and uploading them from an internal computer systems to 3DSI’s payment gateway; “EC-Navigator” browser-based, command-and-control center for all applications to maintain and access merchant information, customer accounts, cardholder data and reporting; and “EC-Sentry” fraud detection, prevention and account protection that enhances the security already inherent in Payment WorkSuite.

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Hyperion Bank Deploys Open Solutions Processing

Hyperion Bank has selected Open Solutions’ “DNA” for enterprise-wide, relational core processing. Hyperion Bank also chose to implement the “Financial Accounting Suite” (FAS), Maxxar voice response system, Electronic Funds Transfer and item processing solutions including tMagic teller capture and remote deposit capture to improve productivity and provide greater convenience to customers. Open Solutions’ advanced DNA platform uses .NET technology and leverages the Company data model built on a centralized Oracle relational database to support customer-centric servicing. Available as an in-house or outsourced solution, DNA helps financial institutions streamline both front- and back-office processes and creates a single, centralized view of customers.

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AmEx & Monster.com Open Business Resource Center

Monster.com job matching engine and flagship brand of Monster Worldwide introduced a Small Business Resource Center in collaboration with American Express to better equip small business owners with guidance and cost effective solutions for staffing and managing their enterprises. The Small Business Resource Center on Monster.com includes a wealth of information for small business owners. This information includes Management Best Practices; Marketing and Social Media; and Business Growth. With it, American Express is also offering an incentive program for any small business that opens a Business Gold Rewards Card account from American Express OPEN. If they use it within a month to make a purchase on Monster.com, American Express OPEN will reward its customers with a statement credit up to $350.

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Citi Launches Save Campaign in California and Nevada

[ihc-hide-content ihc_mb_type=”show” ihc_mb_who=”0″ ihc_mb_template=”1″] Citi announced that it is hosting events in five California and Nevada cities in April to Teach Children to Save, part of a national effort to help young people develop lifelong savings habits. From April 5 to April 12, more than 70 volunteers from across Citi’s businesses will lead seminars at…

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Payments Advisory Group to Assist Financial Institutions

Andrew M. Paur has established his advisory service intended to assist financial institutions and other organizations involved in the electronic payments industry with strategic, operational, regulatory, fraud, and compliance issues to assist financial institutions and other payments industry participants in navigating the complex payments landscape, while maximizing profitability and efficiency. Paur has worked in numerous capacities in the electronic funds transfer (EFT) industry ranging from in-house counsel of one of the largest payment networks in the country to the Director of Payments for one of the largest debit cards issuers in the country. Paur Payments Advisory Group Incorporated is an advisory firm specializing in issues relating to electronic payments.

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