Discover Gives Double Cashback For Holidays

Discover is announcing extra cardmember benefits to provide gift buyers with greater value when they use their Discover cards this season, awarding “Double Cashback Bonus” of 2% on up to $1,000 in holiday purchases on any online shopping through December 31. Once Cardmembers reach the $1,000 spending limit, they will still automatically earn up to 1% Cashback Bonus. Discover is also helping cardmembers maximize holiday spending with a 5% Cashback Bonus in rotating categories throughout the year; Increase Cashback Bonus at “ShopDiscover”, where members can earn 5%-20% Cashback Bonus on purchases; and Expanded Redemption Options to include more ways for cardmembers to redeem their Cashback Bonus, including the ability to redeem for brand-name merchandise.

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Western Union Intros Cross-Border mRemittance

MTN Group EMEA mobile operator and Western Union global payment services have inked commercial agreements to introduce international mobile remittance services in the 21 countries where MTN operates. This service will allow MTN subscribers to conveniently send and receive Western Union Money Transfer transactions using their MTN MobileMoney accounts, which will first be introduced in Uganda. Uganda receives nearly US$500 million in remittances every year, making up 3% of the country´s GDP. An MTN subscriber who receives a Western Union Money Transfer transaction in his MobileMoney account will be able to use the funds to pay bills or withdraw cash at MobileMoney Agents or any participating ATM.

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48% of Americans to Give Less Gifts Y/Y

Across all income levels, American consumers are planning to decrease their holiday spending, with 45% to spend less than last year while 47% plan to spend about the same and just 7% intend to spend more. With this, 42% of households making less than $50,000 annually plan to decrease holiday spending, compared to 40% of households earning $50,000 to $75,000 annually and 37% of households earning $75,000 to $150,000 annually. Also, 28% of those making $150,000 annually or more plan to decrease the amount they spend this holiday season; 48% will cut back on the cost of gifts they give this year; 19% plan to spend under $200 this year; 24% plan to spend $200 to $499; 21% plan to spend $500 to $999; while only 23% plan to spend more than $1000. This, according to a recent Citi nationwide survey, also indicates 10% plan to travel within a day’s drive but simply stay overnight with family; 8% plan to travel to another part of the country; and only 2% plan to travel internationally. This on the heels of CardWeb.com research concluding consumers plan to spend an average of 8% less on holiday products and gifts than they did during last year’s holiday season, 60% of whom citing concerns over the economy while 47% cited rising household expenses. Meanwhile, 41% plan to spend less on holiday-specific travel than the 11% of those who plan an increase with 30% travelling to friends or family outside their local area, and 10% planning holiday vacations and those who feel their personal finances are getting worse dropped to 47% from 49% in September and subsequently plan to cut out discretionary spending (CardFlash Library, 2010/9/04).

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Heartland Named Nevada Payment Provider

The Nevada Restaurant Association (NvRA) has selected Heartland Payment Systems payments processors as its exclusively endorsed provider of card processing, gift marketing and check management services. This integrated offering is part of “Full Course Business Solutions” comprehensive suite of tools and resources founded on the industry’s first-ever unified payments processing platform. With this, NvRa becomes the 43rd state restaurant association in the alliance. Heartland is the founding supporter of The Merchant Bill of Rights public advocacy initiative that educates merchants about fair credit and debit card processing practices.

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G&D Ship Over 50mm Contactless US Cards

Giesecke & Devrient “Convego Air” contactless payment cards shipments to the U.S. has now surpassed the 50 million unit mark, the first card vendor to do so. With this, the G&D contactless platform has captured a leadership position in the U.S. among Visa and MasterCard branded contactless payment cards through its mobile payment sticker for mobile phones and contactless payment cards products. G&D’s contactless payment cards are issued by many of the major U.S. banks and is now expanding with new form factors and into new market applications. German-based Giesecke & Devrient employs more than 10,000 and generated sales of EUR 1.7 billion in fiscal 2009.

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Crédit Agricole Deploys Hypercom Terminals

Hypercom Corporation announced that Paris-based Crédit Agricole banking group, holding 28% French market share of household accounts and the top bank for businesses, has begun rolling out an estimated 25,000+ Hypercom “Optimum” card payment terminals to merchants. This mass deployment that will continue into 2011 to further expands the Hypercom footprint and represent a significant endorsement by one of the largest banking groups in Europe.

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ATMAD

Cardtronics retail ATMs has signed a multi-year agreement with i-design “atmAd” marketing platform for self-service devices to bring immersive third-party advertising to its ATMs. Cardtronics will launch advertising on approximately 2,200 of its Vcom financial kiosks in 7-Eleven stores in the United States after recently offering third-party advertising on about 800 ATMs operated by Bank Machine, Cardtronics’ United Kingdom subsidiary. With this, i-design will sell ATM advertising space to third-party brands on behalf of Cardtronics allowing them to place their messages on the ATMs equipped with the “atmAd” software in both the United States and the United Kingdom.

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SCA Expands Charter, Elects New Co-Chairs

The Smart Card Alliance Payments Council has expanded its council charter to include all chip-enabled payments and payment applications in the United States, including EMV, contactless payments, NFC-enabled payments and applications, mobile payments, and chip-enabled e-commerce. Its new officers and steering committee include co-chairs Simon Hurry from Visa and Oliver Manahan from MasterCard. The Payments Council is made up of over 150 individuals from over 50 organizations, including card issuers, payment brands, merchants, financial payment processors, terminal vendors, card manufacturers, chip vendors, systems integrators/consultants, and personalization bureaus. Its new officers include Vice chair: Troy Bernard, Discover Financial Services; and Secretary: Deborah Baxley, Capgemini. Meanwhile, members of the 2010/2011 Steering Committee are Deborah Baxley, Capgemini; Jo Ann Davaris, American Express; Jason Dell, First Data Corporation and Michael English, Heartland Payment Systems.

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ParTech Named 2010 Rookie of the Year

ParTech (PAR) announced that it has been recognized by SUBWAY restaurants and the Independent Purchasing Cooperative (IPC) with the organizations’ annual Rookie of the Year award in the technology category. PAR has been a hardware supplier for SUBWAY® POS since 2009. The SUBWAY POS solution includes PAR EverServ 6000 POS terminals and all the required peripherals. PAR also provides SUBWAY® franchisees with optional on-site service and professional equipment installation for the SUBWAY® POS solution.

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Citi Launches Flu Care Card

Citi announced the launch of the “Citi Flu Care” corporate healthcare payment card from its Global Transaction Services. The “Citi Flu Care” card is an innovative payment service designed to help employers reduce employee healthcare spending by shifting the administration of flu shots from doctors’ offices or on-site clinics to more cost effective pharmacy locations. Based on industry research, it is the first flu shot card payment product that does not require prepayment, and restricts use to flu vaccinations at over 17,000 pharmacies and clinics nationwide. The “Citi Flu Care” card provides companies with a better beneficiary outreach and communication, and promotes vaccination for overall improved health and productivity.

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PAY MONTHLY

Tesco Phone Shop has kicked off its latest “Pay Monthly” deal, complete with a free GBP250 Gift Card that can be spent on anything in any Tesco store. The GBP250 Gift Card offer is available on selected Pay Monthly deals from networks including O2 and Vodafone. Tesco Phone Shops provide a variety of pay as you go mobile phones, pay monthly mobile phones and SIM cards for all the top mobile networks including Tesco Mobile, O2, Vodafone, T-Mobile, 3, Virgin Media and Orange. Tesco Phone Shops also stock an excellent range of mobile accessories for all popular mobile phone makes and models.

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Holiday Season Time for Tightening Belts

With research indicating 78% of holiday shoppers will have a budget in place before they begin their shopping, 42% of whom will start with a specific budget for each individual on their shopping list, 64% agree gift cards are the way to go. Conversely, 85% would appreciate receiving a branded gift card, 65% of whom would prefer it to a “non-essential” holiday gift. But, despite promising indications showing increased optimism toward the economy- up for the first time since May by 1.8 points to 87.5 on the Discover US Spending Monitor- consumers plan to spend an average of 8% less on holiday products and gifts than they did during last year’s holiday season. Meanwhile, 86% of consumers plan on spending “the same or less” on holiday goods than they did in 2009 – a slight decrease from last year when 89% of consumers polled said they planned on spending the same or less versus 2008 spending and those rating the economy as poor remained unchanged for the third consecutive month at 57%. This, according to AlixPartners and Visa, also showed 60% of those planning on spending less cited concerns over the economy while 47% cited rising household expenses and consumers expected to spend 19% less than in 2008. Those planning to decrease spending hit 30% while additional resources indicate only 14% plan to spend more. Subsequently, 36% start with a specific overall budget number and plan accordingly. Regarding holiday travel spending, 41% plan to spend less on holiday-specific travel than the 11% of those who plan an increase with 30% travelling to friends or family outside their local area, and 10% planning holiday vacations. This, according to VeraQuest, also shows at some point 46% of all U.S. adults plan to entertain guests at home and 42% plan to visit someone else’s home in their local area. CardFlash shows those who feel their personal finances are getting worse dropped to 47% from 49% in September and subsequently plan to cut out discretionary spending. Namely, 47% plan to go less to dinner or the movies; 49% plan to spend less on home improvements, down one point from September and 3 points from a year ago; and 47% plan to spend less on gym memberships and vacations, down one point from September and 4 points from a year ago (CardFlash Library, 2010/11/04).

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