Online Holiday Sales Up Across All Sectors

For December, 2010, MasterCard Advisors’ SpendingPulse indicates growth in December sales was robust across many retail categories. December 2010 saw year-over-year Total Apparel sales up for a third consecutive monthly increase. At 10.9% this was the year’s most vigorous monthly year-over-year growth rate, and the highest posting since March 2007. In 2010, Total Apparel has enjoyed 9 out of 12 months of year-over-year gains. The Electronics and Appliances sector posted a year-over-year increase of 1.2% in December, following two consecutive months of year-over-year declines. The Consumer Electronics sub-category was up 1.5% year-over-year for December, though overall dollar spending levels suffered due to some decline in pricing power on the larger ticket items such as TVs while the Appliance sub-category declined by 1.3%. Continuing to gain share at a steady rate, the eCommerce channel grew 17.6% year over year in December. This was the highest year-over-year increase since December 2007. Much of the growth was driven by the online Total Apparel sub-category, which grew 28.2% year over year, and even stronger showings in online sales of Family and Children’s clothing, and Footwear. Online sales of Electronics were up a solid 14%, while online Jewelry was up 5.9%.December is a key month for sales in the Jewelry sector, and this month, Jewelry sales posted a double digit growth rate year over year, increasing 10.4%.

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Central Bank of Oman Launches ACI Switch

The national ATM / POS switch at the Central Bank of Oman (CBO) has implemented the ACI Worldwide “BASE24-eps” payments engine. With this, “BASE24-eps” is expected to handle monthly volumes of approximately 5 million ATM and POS transactions, and it can handle transactions from EMV and non-EMV cards. The project will give Oman the ability to link directly with all the GCC Net switches, of the Gulf Cooperation Council countries, instead of a single link through the member country switches. This means ATM transactions can be routed directly between GCC countries without going out to the wider card networks.

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MACH Drives Operational Efficiencies For Swisscom

Swisscom is set to implement MACH’s Wholesale Roaming Solution. Combining MACH’s data clearing, financial clearing and settlement services, the “Wholesale Roaming Solution” will optimise Swisscom cash flow, reduce revenue leakage and accelerated financial clearing and settlement for its roaming business. It frees Swisscom from the need to maintain in-house technology and resources to oversee data and funds that flow between its partners’ networks every year. The MACH platform provides an integrated solution with one view for roaming wholesale, retail and financial data, enabling it to fully control, analyse and optimise its business at the group as well as subscriber level. The “Wholesale Roaming Solution” also combines rating and tariff management, billing interoperability and transaction management as well as advanced reporting and business intelligence.

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New Mexico Educators FCU Implements Bluepoint Processing

New Mexico Educators FCU has selected Bluepoint´s “ImagePoint” products for in-house item capture and processing. New Mexico Educators FCU joins a growing number of institutions that will move item processing from a third-party outsourcer to an in-house environment. The credit union processes 18,000 items daily, including inclearings and returns, which Bluepoint provided no-cost transfer of its “ImagePoint Branch” and “QwikDeposit Home” software licenses so that both will now be supported directly by Bluepoint. The ImagePoint platform, including all points of capture, provides an enterprise-wide, paperless solution that automates the processing, archival and research of check images.

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Canon U.S.A. Unveils High-Volume Check Transport

Canon U.S.A. digital imaging has unveiled its “imageFORMULA CR-135i” High-Volume Check Transport. Providing image quality in a convenient design, ideal for any high-volume check processing environment, the “CR-135i” allows financial institutions, utilities and other organizations improve the efficiency of payment processes and treasury management by processing more checks with greater accuracy in a shorter period of time. It can image 135 checks per minute can handle up to 20,000 items per day, and performs real-time dynamic four-line endorsement.

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SingleHop Partners With Host Merchant Services

SingleHop web hosting has announced a strategic partnership with credit card payment processing firm Host Merchant Services, under which Host Merchant Services will provide enhanced payment processing services to SingleHop customers. DE-based Host Merchant Services will provide the web hosting service its payment processing services to customers participating in SingleHop’s Tandem reseller program. The services will later be rolled out to other SingleHop customers. Host Merchant Services is a registered Independent Sales Organization (ISO) with Visa U.S.A. and MasterCard International with bank sponsorship provided by Fifth Third Bank Corp, Cincinnati, Ohio. The company specializes in providing customer service and support to its credit card processing customers and has focused on serving web hosting providers as a fast and transparent third party solution for processing credit cards for hosting customers.

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Tom Joyner and PreCash Launch Segment Visa

Of the estimated 43 million Americans who are either unbanked or underbanked, African American are disproportionately high. In response, nationally syndicated radio host Tom Joyner and PreCash are introducing the “REACH” Visa Prepaid Card. Issued by The Bancorp Bank, the “REACH” Visa Prepaid Card is focal on letting mainly African Americans manage finances through an alternative option to traditional banking. The card provides users a transparent fee structure with only an activation fee; a monthly fee; and an ATM fee. It also gives cardholders free direct deposit, customer service and charges no inactivity fee. Cash can be loaded to the cards by direct deposit from an employer for free or at over 100,000 retail locations nationwide.

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Wells Fargo Services Rated Top Transfer Agent

Wells Fargo Shareowner Services has been awarded the highest satisfaction among transfer agents according to a recent study by GROUP FIVE. With overall industry client satisfaction reaching a 10-year high of 90%, Wells Fargo’s clients gave them a 94% favorable rating, marking a two point increase from last year and making the company the highest rated transfer agency in 2010. According to the study, the industry’s overall client satisfaction with transfer agents increased six percentage points from last year to 90% favorable. The study also found that annual meeting services remains the industry’s highest rated transfer agent service at 97% favorable, which is four percentage points higher than last year.

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Ambiq & Transportation Authority Ink Technology Cooperation

CA-based Ambiq Technology and the St. Petersburg Transportation Authority signed a Technology Cooperation Agreement at an official press conference establishing their technology partnership. With this, Ambiq qill provide its NFC mobile payment platform using secure element NFC) devices and installed in standard mobile phones that work with the existing Metro turnstiles, ground transport readers and connect to the City’s ticket management system. This subsequently will provide the St. Petersburg Transportation Authority significant cost reductions and improved efficiency for the city.

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Dynamics to Power Citi ThankYou Prestige 2G Card

Citi is set to implement Dynamics’ “Card 2.0” technology for its “ThankYou Prestige 2G Card.” The “Citi ThankYou Prestige 2G Card” is part of the latest Citi “ThankYou” credit card suite and will feature two buttons on the front of the card that allows customers a new way to redeem reward points with the push of a button at the time of checkout. The cardmember has two options with the new Citi 2G cards: if they select the button “Regular Credit,” they can pay for their purchase with credit as they normally would, or they can select the “Request Rewards” button that would allow them to request to redeem points or cash rewards with a simple swipe of the card.

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ParTech Showcases Retail Solutions at NRF 2011

ParTech announced that it will be demonstrating its retail solutions at the National Retail Federation (NRF) 100th Annual Convention & Expo, January 10-11. ParTech is a wholly owned subsidiary of PAR Technology Corporation while its “EverServ” Solutions are designed based on the needs of the changing industry landscape and for retailers that demand solutions that improve traffic flows and improve customer loyalty – which drive top-line revenue growth.

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