Euro Leading Economic Index Up .7%

The Conference Board Leading Economic Index (LEI) for the Euro Area increased 0.7% in November to 114.3 (2004 = 100), following a 0.3% increase in October and no change in September. The Conference Board Coincident Economic Index (CEI) for the Euro Area measuring current economic activity dropped 0.1% to now stand at 102.6 (2004 = 100) according to preliminary estimates. This after having increased 0.2% in October and dropping 0.1% in September. The Conference Board LEI for the Euro Area aggregates eight economic indicators that measure activity in the Euro Area as a whole (rather than indicators of individual member countries), each of which has proven accurate on its own. Aggregating individual indicators into a composite index filters out so-called “noise” to show underlying trends more clearly.

Details

InComm Donates $7.5K in Gift Cards

GA-based InComm prepaid company and distributor of Vanilla Visa network-branded gift card has donated $7,500 of Vanilla Visa Gift Cards to Chick-fil-A Bowl. In 2009, the Chick-fil-A Bowl made $1.2 million in charitable and scholarship contributions, marking the second straight year it has reached that amount. It was also the third straight year in which the Bowl has given over $1 million in donations. The Chick-fil-A Bowl remains the number one bowl in the nation in terms of charitable giving.

Details

Vesdia Program to Help Card Issuers Keep Revenue

Vesdia Corporation merchant network has responded to last week’s Federal Reserve proposal to reduce the debit interchange to $.12 from a weighted average of $.72. This equats to an 83% reduction in fee revenue, subsequently reminding banks of the value a merchant-funded rewards network brings to the table. With this, Vesdia is seeking to limit the amount of money that stores and other merchants are charged each time a customer pays for a transaction with a debit card. A rewards network can help card issuers recapture the expected lost revenue while providing value-added services to their cardholders. In doing so, Vesdia’s partnership marketing network taps into the trusted relationship between the banks and its customers, utilizing the banks’ frequent touch points to conduct one-to-one marketing, driving cardholders to participating merchants to earn additional rewards when using their debit card. Card issuers gain additional revenue from the increased card acquisition, activation and usage generated by the merchant-funded rewards and additional redemptions. Vesdia’s full service multi-channel marketing campaigns and support for customer targeting and segmentation, in partnership with the leading merchant brands, allows banks to drive customer behavior with meaningful offers with expanded marketing reach; coupon programs; direct email; and loyalty program website personalization.

Details

BBVA Compass Launches mBanking Application

BBVA Compass has kicked-off its ” BBVA Compass Mobile Banking” native iPad application as the first U.S. m-banking application that visually goes beyond the traditional on-line banking interface of the few other iPad banking applications. The “BBVA Compass Mobile Banking” offers native mobile banking applications for Android and BlackBerry as well and was built in house to provide greater flexibility and functionality. This lets users check balances, view posted and pending transactions, view check images and statements, transfer funds between BBVA Compass accounts and locate BBVA Compass branches.

Details

Merchant Data & Elite Processing Ink JV

Merchant Data Systems has completed its latest acquisitions and forged a joint venture with Elite Processing. The joint venture will offer a business model with a customized deal structure allowing Partners to determine their cash needs up-front. The Merchant Data Systems Equity Empowerment model for merchant credit card processing services targets small businesses frustrated by an inability to support their agents and merchants with the same enthusiasm that entrepreneurs demand. Merchant Data Systems facilitates participative underwriting and personalized customer service. Merchant Data Systemsis a digital merchant and mobile credit card processing services shop built to scale the business and empower our Partners’ success. Available operational expertise is also available to support sales growth with proprietary residual software and credit card payment gateway capabilities was a major factor in cementing the JV.

Details

Element Payment Offers Rollins PCI Compliance

Element Payment Services payment processor is set to provide PCI compliant processing for Rollins consumer and commercial services company. Rollins will integrate its proprietary Focus business management software application with Element’s Express Processing Platform through Hosted Payments, which removes software applications from the scope of PCI DSS / PA-DSS compliance by eliminating the transmission and storage of cardholder data. In addition to offering PCI compliance relief to Rollins, Hosted Payments will dramatically reduce the scope of PCI compliance for individual pest control companies within the brand, while maintaining the operational functionality required for running the businesses. Hosted Payments features tokenization technology, which allows merchants to securely access card data for future transactions, without assuming the risk and liability of storing sensitive information through a point of sale (POS) application. Rollins merchants can securely perform scheduled payments and card-on-file billing without compromising their customers’ sensitive information and their own PCI compliance.

Details

VoiceCash and mobilcom Launch Prepaid Mastercard

VoiceCash Group and mobilcom-debitel are introducing mobilcash Prepaid MasterCard twin card program, letting users share money with relatives and friends all over the world. mobilcom-debitel is one of the leading telecom providers in the German market with about a 16 million customer base. VoiceCash is an international mobile remittance company with its own VoiceCash Bank, that is fully passported in all European countries. The Prepaid Twin Card will be offered to the existing customer base of mobilcom-debitel initially, but will also be available to any consumers that move funds internationally. Anyone living in Germany and supporting family or friends abroad can benefit from the mobilcash solution. It is also a very interesting proposition to families or couples where one member frequently travels internationally.

Details

AdvanceMe Launches eBook Series for Business Owners

AdvanceMe Merchant Cash Advances for small and mid-sized businesses has introduced its free eBook series as an added benefit to its web visitors and customers. Available under the Resources section of AdvanceMe’s website (http://www.advanceme.com/eBooks.html), all eBooks will focus on subjects important to small business owners and include original works as well as compilations and contributions from recognized industry experts. AdvanceMe’s first eBook, released in December 2010, titled “Web Strategies for Small Businesses”, is a collection of small business tips, all focusing on Internet strategies and web optimization. AdvanceMe provides Merchant Cash Advances to small and mid-sized businesses while Capital Access Network (CAN) leverages leading edge data, systems and technology, combined with a unique and highly effective Daily Remittance Platform.

Details

Discover Biz Index Drops After 3mo Increase

With fewer small business owners perceiving the economy as improving, the Discover “Small Business Watch” monthly index dropped for first time in three months to 81.6 in December, down a whole 6 points from 87.2 in November and down nearly four points since the beginning of the year. Still 4.6 points higher than one year ago, 25% say the economy is getting better this month, down from 33% in November; 51% said it is getting worse, up from 46%; and 22% said the economy is staying the same, up from 17% the prior month. Additional index findings show 25% expect economic conditions for their businesses to improve in the first half of 2011 for a 3% drop since the month-ago period; 26% expect conditions to remain the same, up from 24%; and 43% expect conditions to worsen, down from 44% in November. Meanwhile, 21% of small business owners will increase spending on business development in the next 6 months, down from 25% in November; 42% will decrease business development spending, up from 40%; and 32% do not plan any changes, up from 28% last month; and 62% rate the current economy as poor, up from 59% in November while 30% rate the economy fair; 5% rate it good; and 3% rate it excellent.

SMB HISTORIC
JAN: 85.2
FEB: 85.0
MAR: 78.2
APR: 85.1
MAY: 87.4
JUN: 86.1
JUL: 83.0
AUG: 73.0
SEP: 73.8
OCT: 84.2
NOV: 87.2
DEC: 81.6
SOURCE: CardData.com

Details

Holiday eCommerce Spending Up 15.4% to $36.4B

Between October 31 and December 24, U.S. consumers spent an estimated $36.4 billion, a 15.4% year-on-year increase over the 2009 holiday season. There were 6 days in the 2010 season that surpassed $1 billion in sales compared with 3 days in 2009, which include Tuesday November 30 with $1.16 billion in sales and Wednesday December 1 with $1.13 billion. This, according to MasterCard Advisors’ “SpendingPulse” macroeconomic report tracking national retail and services sales, also shows the Monday after Thanksgiving generated $999.3 million in sales, a 25.3% increase compared to the Monday after Thanksgiving in 2009. The data showed overall season-over-season growth of 5.5% ex-auto as consumer spending continued to show progress compared to the same period in 2009. eCommerce saw the most growth in any category with seasonal sales up 15.4%; apparel growth was up 11.2% over the 2009 holiday season with menswear having reached double digit growth at 10.5% while Women’s Apparel grew by 5.6%. The Electronics category was up only 1.2% season-to-season; Jewelry posted several weekly year-over-year increases and ended the season up 8.4%; and Luxury posted season-to-season growth of 6.7%.

Details

Gift Card Mall Launches Facebook eGifting

The Blackhawk Network announced a new Facebook application helping consumers give gift cards almost instantly through the social networking website. Through its Gift Card Mall and GiftCardMall.com, the Blackhawk Network is introducing its “eGift Card” social network gifting application option through the “Group Gifting” feature onl Facebook. With this, Facebook friends are now able to contribute as a group for a single gift card to increase the value of the gift card for the recipient. A personalized message can also be added to a card and fellow users can remind others about friends’ upcoming holidays and celebrations. After purchase, the eGift Card is posted on the recipient’s Facebook wall and a personalized confirmation and activation code is sent to their email address for added security.

Details

Brinks Acquires Payments Threshold Payments

The Brink’s security-related services has acquired CA-based Threshold Financial Technologies from Versent Corporation for approximately $40 million. A provider of payments solutions with a focus on managed ATM and transaction processing services for financial institutions and retailers throughout Canada, Threshold Financial Technologies annual revenue is approximately $48 million. Half of Threshold Financial Technologies revenue is generated by providing outsourced ATM network administration and transaction processing solutions. The company employs approximately 125 people and owns and operates a network of private-label ATMs in Canada.

Details