Small Business Owner Optimism Improves

In keeping with the improving economy, falling consumer credit debt and bankruptcies leveling off, small business owners are maintaining their confidence. Showing increasing optimism for the second consecutive quarter, the Index score rose another 16 points this quarter, lifting out of negative territory to reach 12 on the Wells Fargo/Gallup Small Business Index survey, which gained 40 points since July 2010.

Also, this was the largest two-quarter gain in optimism recorded since August 2003. Always a strong indication of how well the economy’s doing, small business owners expect improvements in their financial situation, revenues, jobs and access to credit over the next 12 months, with 54% expecting an increase of a lot or a little, up from 44% in 4Q/10.

Specifically, 65% of small business owners expect their companies’ financial situation to be somewhat or very good, up from 59 percent in 4Q/10; 23% expect their employee headcount to increase a little or a lot, up from 18% in 4Q/10; and 36% expect credit to be somewhat or very difficult to obtain, down from 42% in 4Q/10.

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Prepaid accounts for 40% of New Payment Products

[ihc-hide-content ihc_mb_type=”show” ihc_mb_who=”0″ ihc_mb_template=”1″] Prepaid accounts make up 40% of new payment products developed by Network International over the last three years. Projected to top $188 billon by 2012, this reflects a growing shift toward trusting plastic payments in the Mid East region throughout the Muslim community. Also, Ujrah traditional-use credit cards are gaining speed…

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Oberthur Cuts Ribbon on New Card Plant

Oberthur Technologies smart card technologies has opened its 75,000 square foot manufacturing facility and service center in Cotia, Brazil. Currently fully operational, the new facility provides a single source vendor solution for design, manufacturing, personalization and fulfillment of mobile SIM cards, payment cards (including EMV) and identification credentials to customers in Brazil and throughout Latin America.

Existing manufacturing and personalization activities already based in Cotia have been regrouped into this new facility. With this, Oberthur can produce an additional 100 million cards annually.

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EFTA Launches Information Portal on Debit Card Rules

The Electronic Funds Transfer Association launched its website to provide public information on the Federal Reserve’s proposed new regulations governing debit card interchange fees, mandated by the Durbin Interchange Amendment and part of The 2010 Consumer Protection Act.

Available at www.durbininterchangeamendment.org, the informational site provides news, opinions and analysis issues surrounding the changes from the law. Among these is the Fed’s effort to cap debit card interchange fees, for which the site provides access to a library of information a blog and commentary. The Electronic Funds Transfer Association holds its mission is to inform and educate the public on issues of importance to the electronic payments industry and to objectively promote the adoption of electronic payments and commerce. Some claim this debit interchange revenue for regulated card issuers will decline by 73%, from an average of $0.44 per transaction to $0.12 per transaction by July 21, according to the latest Oliver Wyman report “The US debit Market and the Durbin Amendment: Worse than the worst case scenario.”

Boston Consulting Group, for one, is projecting the new card regulations could cost U.S. card issuers up to $25 billion a year, 29% of the revenue that U.S. issuers, mostly retail banks, collect from retail card transactions. After having grown between 2000-2009 at an average annual rate of 18% to become the most commonly used non-cash method of payment, debit card transactions totaled 37.9 billion in the US in 2009 alone to account for 35% of total non-cash retail payments.
(CardFlash Library, 2010/12/23)

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Tieto and Balancion Improve on Finance Tools

Tieto and Finnish Balancion partnership will focus on finance sector companies and improving their online customer service. Balancion’s online personal finance management solution (PFM) can be branded and embedded seamlessly to bank’s online services, enabling banks to transform and differentiate their offerings to private customers to a new level. Tieto’s offering for financial industry includes banking services, internet banking and payment, card and capital market services to development, application management and outsourcing. Balancion Oy is a Finnish company that develops and provides innovative digital personal finance management (PFM) services. The Balancion service solution has been developed since 2008 in close cooperation with service design agency Idean Enterprises Oy and software development company Mysema Oy, with a high focus on consumer needs and user experience.

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mBanking Sees Strong ROI for Banks

In our ever-“advancing” world, mobile technologies are becoming increasingly prevalent in the minds of consumers. Undoubtedly a mainstay, banks providing mobile banking to their customers for checking balances, conducting remittance, paying bills, applying for credit and managing finances are slated to see an investment return of around 300%.

For example, a Middle-Eastern financial institution has achieved a return on investment of at least 300% through customer education by showing its two million mobile banking customers how to access and use services and offering ways to pay bills online using their mobile devices.

This, according to a study commissioned by Accenture, also shows an Asia-Pacific bank has achieved a return on investment of 230% since launching mobile banking in 2007, which is focusing on engaging staff at branches. Meanwhile, a European bank whose customers can check balances and transfer money between accounts with their mobile phones has achieved 60% annual growth of its mobile banking customers.

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Bling Nation’s Debuts Social Network Payment

The primary reason businesses are incorporating more social media in their business is because more consumers are using it as their primary shopping vehicle. Facilitating more effective promotions and marketing efforts, Bling Nation is launching its “FanConnect” platform to allow businesses to connect with consumers on social networks. When customers tap the Bling Nation “BlingTag” microchip at checkout for NFC payment, consumers can opt-in to “like” a business- an very important feature in the Facebook world-, post select rewards to their Facebook page, and redeem discounts and promotions targeted toward them. The “FanConnect” solution ultimately lets businesses grow their customer base, save money and tap into a powerful automatic viral marketing system with a built-in loyalty program. With this, businesses can leverage social media to enrich their customer relationships by connecting with them via Facebook and Foursquare.

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YESpay Hitches Wagon to mPayments and eCommerce

YESpay International is increasing its presence in mobile payments, online commerce and virtual card services. With live payment services operations in UK, Ireland, other parts of the EU as well as USA and Canada, the Company has sights set on offering a multi-channel for its merchants and launching “YESpay-Wallets” mobile payments products and “YESpay-V-Cards” card payment programs. The “YESpay-V-Cards” pre-paid accounts will be used as novel payment methods for mobile and fixed Internet goods and services. YESpay processes millions of cardholder payments for its merchants and predicts mobile payment will attract customers and merchants alike looking to experience the speed, ease and convenience of paying with their mobile phone.

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Panini Markets RDC Solution for Mac-based Business

Panini global payments processing has made available the Mac interface for its check scanners designed for RDC, offering Mac-based small businesses MICR capture. Having grown to 11.41% of all desktop deployed operating systems, Apple Macintosh market share in the United States has experienced steady increases. Panini is targeting this segment with its interface that includes native support in the Mac OS X operating system, is based on Vision API version 3.6 and supports their industry leading check scanning products, Vision X ® and I:Deal. Panini is currently involved in many strategic initiatives surrounding these new Mac OS X capabilities and will be making additional announcements, including new customers, partnerships and channels.

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Elavon Certifies Hypercom Optimum Payment

Elavon has Class-B certified Hypercom’s “SPOS32 EMV” and PA-DSS approved payment software on the PTS approved Optimum T4200 and M4200 mobile product family, among the first leading payment acquirers in Canada to do so. This lets Elavon process credit card transactions originating from these devices in Canada. Hypercom’s high security PTS approved and Interac certified Optimum T4200 and M4200 product family for North America consists of six powerful 32-bit multi-application systems that share the same platform, user interface, and software toolkit to maximize efficiency, application portability, and offer customers a broad range of options to serve any market need.

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eLayaway Improves its User Experience

Slated for full deployment by the end of the first quarter, eLayaway made available the latest version of its “eLayaway 2.0 Private Beta” layaway payment processor. This offers users additional and expansive payment options beyond ACH, an enhanced payment flexibility solution and an updated account management interface. For merchants, the “eLayaway 2.0 Private Beta” offers an improved and scalable reporting system, a fully robust user interface with an enhanced inventory management and control functionalities. This provides the foundation for systematic upgrades that will provide merchants and ecommerce payment solutions with an open-source layaway payment platform from which to develop complimentary applications and solutions.

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