Conference Board Index Up As Is Unemployment

The Conference Board Leading Economic Index (LEI) for the U.S. increased for the fifth consecutive month by 1.1% in November to 112.4 (2004=100), following a 0.4% increase in October and a 0.6% increase in September. With this, the Coincident Economic Index (CEI) increased 0.1% in November to 101.7 (2004=100), following a 0.2% increase in October, and a 0.1% decline in September, while its Lagging Economic Index (LAG) declined 0.1% in November to 108.6 (2004=100), following no change in October, and a 0.6 percent increase in September. Nearly all 10 components were on the way up in November and was in opposition only to weak housing. Projections indicate the gradual economic increase will pick up steam once the winter months have passed. Meanwhile, after a steep drop-off to a 9.2% unemployment rate in September, the lowest since 2009, November posted a rise in unemployment to 9.8% of the workforce. The ten components of The Conference Board Leading Economic Index include average weekly hours, manufacturing; average weekly initial claims for unemployment insurance; manufacturers’ new orders, consumer goods and materials; index of supplier deliveries – vendor performance; manufacturers’ new orders, nondefense capital goods; building permits, new private housing units; stock prices, 500 common stocks; money supply, M2; interest rate spread, 10-year Treasury bonds less federal funds; and index of consumer expectations (CardFlash Library, 2010/12/06).

CB LEI % (-) /UNEMPLOYMENT
NOV10: 1.1 9.8%
SEP 10: 0.6 9.2%
JUN 10: (0.2) 9.6%
MAR10: 1.4 10.2%
DEC 09: 1.2 9.7%
SOURCE: CardData.com

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Adaptive Payments & CardinalCommerce Partner

Adaptive Payments dual channel authentication platform for card-not-present PIN debit transactions and CardinalCommerce payment brands have integrated platforms to deliver Adaptive Payments’ secure payment authentication services for e-commerce sales. The e-commerce checkout product will be delivered as part of the Universal PIN Debit Service (UPDS) for Cardinal “Centinel Universal Merchant Platform” merchants. Adaptive Payments feature “5DSecure Five Factor Authentication” and use two channels for authentication to enhance payment security. It separates sales and customer data entered online from PIN and/or other authentication data acquired through the customer’s mobile or land line phone. Now any merchant that uses Cardinal Centinel will be able to take advantage of Adaptive Payments’ 5DSecure e-commerce checkout product.

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First Data Weighs Federal Reserve CARD Proposals

First Data electronic commerce and payment processing, in response to the Federal Reserve Board’s publication of proposed rules, has disclosed it must thoroughly review and analyze them to determine potential implications for its business to conclude a fair assessment. The Federal Reserve Board has published its newly proposed rules on debit card interchange fees and routing under Section 1075 (Durbin) of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. More than 100 payments professionals at First Data have been seeking a wide range of alternatives regarding the proposed regulations to better serve the needs of merchant and financial institution customers. The proposed rules issued by the Federal Reserve Board also address network exclusivity.

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First Data Announces Brand Additions

Ten merchants are now offering eGifting programs powered by the First Data electronic commerce and payment processing through its “eGift Social” solution. A Facebook app allowing consumers to quickly and easily send a tangible “item-level” gift or virtual gift card to a friend or loved one’s Facebook account or e-mail address, “eGift Social” lets consumers access the application through each merchant’s Facebook page or website and select one or multiple friends to send gifts to; either by adding them from Facebook or entering their e-mail address. The sender selects which item-level product or virtual gift card they would like their friend to receive, adds a personal message and proceeds through the secure checkout process. The recipient receives a Facebook message, e-mail or both, with an alert that they have received a gift, the account number and redemption instructions. Initially with Cold Stone Creamery in July, several more national merchants having joined the ‘Marketplace’ include Kmart; Sears; Sephora; Dots; f.y.e.; Boston Market; BURGER KING; ; Culver’s; and Joe’s Crab Shack.

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Verizon to Assess Hypercom ePayment PCI DSS

Hypercom has worked with Verizon Business to ensure its “SmartPayments Wynid” hosted electronic payment platform complies with PCI DSS. Hypercom card and PIN payment terminals and systems enable millions of electronic transactions to be conducted quickly and securely every day. Verizon Business’ professional security services team has provided a range of audit, management and implementation services that have helped Hypercom achieve and maintain PCI-DSS certification.

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LUOTTOKUNTA EMOBILE

Luottokunta, BookIT Oy and Microsoft have worked together to develop its “iSMS” authentication service through “Luottokunta eMobile” to allow for mobile payments from any mobile phone and any operator. The digital service based on a new authentication method gives consumers an easy way to purchase services, and vendors a flexible way of making additional sales. The “iSMS” service does not require additional accessories or applications for the phone while the system is entirely within the network with no separate certificates or mobile wallets are necessary. Luottokunta’s eMobile service is free for the consumer, and it can be used with any European credit or debit card in addition to the Finnish payment cards. Charges for the service are covered by the companies that use it.

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CFIB

The Competition Bureau’s has introduced its application in conjunction with the Competition Tribunal to strike down alleged ‘restrictive’ and ‘anti-competitive’ Visa and MasterCard rules imposed on Canadian merchants whom accept their payment cards. With this, the CFIB has proposed a Code of Conduct for the credit and debit card industry in Canada to give merchants more power in their relationship with credit card companies and banks. Together, Visa and MasterCard processed more than 90% of all credit card transactions by Canadian consumers in 2009, representing over $240 billion in purchases. The Commissioner of Competition alleges the issuers’ rules have effectively eliminated competition between Visa and MasterCard for merchants’ acceptance of their credit cards, who collectively pay an estimated $5 billion annually in hidden credit card fees, among the highest in the world. Canadian Card Acceptance Fees are between 1.5 and 3% or higher of each purchase. This is partly in response to complaints from the Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices Association (CRFA), which originally took its complaints about unfair rules imposed by credit card companies to the Competition Bureau in 2009, and in April of that year the Competition Bureau initiated a formal enquiry. This response is ultimately in an effort to reduce the higher prices for all consumers, whether they pay by cash, cheque, debit or credit, which are the alleged direct result of merchants having pass along some or all of the high costs they are forced to pay. In doing so, the Competition Bureau will challenge rules requiring merchants to accept all credit cards from a specific network including premium cards with higher fees; preventing merchants from charging a fee on transactions made with Visa or MasterCard credit cards; and preventing merchants from encouraging or discouraging customers from using certain credit cards. Reportedly, the Canadian Independent Petroleum Marketing Association (CIPMA) applauds the efforts of the Bureau and has taken an active role in bringing evidence of anti-competitive behavior forward to bring the issue of increasing and unfair credit card merchant fees to the attention of Ottawa policy makers.

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BOKU MPAYMENTS

BOKU mobile payments has partnered with Gumtree.com to give users a convenient way to pay for classifieds listings via their mobile phone number. Gumtree users can now pay for listings and other features on the website by entering their mobile number and charging directly to their mobile phone bill. Users choosing to pay by mobile at checkout can now enter their mobile phone number. They receive a text to confirm the payment, and the charge appears on their mobile phone bill or is deducted from their pay-as-you-go credit. An integrated payment connection between Gumtree and BOKU provides a value-added service to the British online consumers and merchants, including a secure payment mechanism that is both convenient and easy to use.

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Nexon Selects PlaySpan Monetization Platform

Nexon America publishing arm of Nexon has partnered with PlaySpan monetization solutions for online games, virtual worlds, and social networks, and video games. With this, Nexon will leverage PlaySpan’s Monetization-As-A-Service platform to expand purchasing capabilities to millions of gamers and provide comprehensive credit card processing and fraud risk management services to cover sales of “NX,” the publisher’s virtual currency. UltimatePay (the union of PayByCash’s twelve years of payment and fraud management experience with Spare Change’s social network micro-payment expertise) provides over 90 global payment methods including mobile, cash based, and the top-selling Ultimate Game Card. UltimatePay enables players to quickly and easily make in-game purchases, allowing Nexon to maximize global reach and conversion.

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IISS

The Flint Telecom Group “Ingedigit India Software Services” (IISS) Indian subsidiary is expected to commence prepaid debit cards and remittance services to Indian customers by the end of 1Q/11. This lets consumers use their domestic bank accounts and debit cards linked with cards of Indians working abroad. Those users can then simply remit funds to family members at home at any time by loading funds, by having their wages directly deposited to the card, or with the added convenience of using their regular cell phone. Unlike traditional remittance programs family members will have access to the remitted funds immediately in a more convenient way and at a fraction of the normal cost. They simply withdraw the funds from the client bank’s ATM network as required. IISS has been working with several banks in India to approve and implement these Card-to-Card and Mobile Remittance Services, which are fully compliant with the guidelines laid down by the Reserve Bank of India.

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Integrated Bank Technology Certifies Digital Check Scanner

IBT financial services products has added to its suite of products the “TS240” check scanner from Digital Check check scanners for the distributed check capture industry. IBT’s, certification of the “TS240” is thanks in part to its higher resolution 300 dpi cameras (a 50% increase over the TS230); a higher capacity, 100 document feed and exit pocket, and an optional franker. The scanner is available in speeds of 50, 75, and 100 documents per minute and features an optional franker. Digital Check’s recently introduced integrated “TS240” scanner/ thermal teller transaction receipt printer module (TTP) sits underneath the “TS240.”

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Discover 4Q/10 Net Income Up $90mm Q/Q

Discover Financial reported 4Q10 net income of $350.0 million compared to the year ago figure of $577.8 million and 261.0 million last quarter. This was thanks in part to $23 billion in card sales volume, an increase of 6% year-over-year but $1 billion less than 3Q/10; net card charge-offs down $103 million from the prior quarter to a net charge-off rate of 6.58%; a delinquency rate of 3.89% for loans over 30 days past due with delinquent balances down a total of $181 million; and its Payment Services division having processed a record transaction volume of $40.4 billion. Additionally, Discover Payment Services’ profit before tax up 32% from the prior year. For complete details on Discover Financial Performance, visit CardData.com (www.carddata.com).

U.S. CARD PRE-TAX PROFITS
1Q/09: $167.0 million
2Q/09: $387.9 million
3Q/09: $577.8 million
4Q/09: $546.5 million
1Q/10: $207.6 million
2Q/10: $258.0 million
3Q/10: $261.0 million
4Q/10: $350.0 million
Source: CardData (www.carddata.com)

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