Consumers Focused on Reducing Card Debt

Credit card debt amongst consumers with a credit card decreased 7% since January while consumers in seven states have paid down their credit card balances by more than 10% since the beginning of the year. These states include Indiana and Tennessee down by 10%; Oregon by 11%; Nevada by 12%; Hawaii and Idaho by 13%; and Wisconsin credit card debt dropped by 28%. This, according to the CreditKarma.com “U.S. Credit Score Climate Report,” however also average credit scores remain at the beastly number of 666 from September 2010, down three points since January, while an additional eight states have fair to poor credit scores of 650 or lower. These states include Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Tennessee while California, Massachusetts and New Jersey have the highest credit scores nationally with an average of 684; Arkansas had the lowest with an average 636; and Louisiana saw the largest credit score change since January 2010, up from639 to 647.

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Gemalto Launches Online Banking Security Card

Gemalto digital security has introduced its “Ezio” credit card to combine one-time password security capabilities with standard payment, allowing banks to provide a single card that delivers both payment and increased security for online transactions. The “Ezio” online secure password feature is activated by pressing a button on the face of the card, consequently generating and displaying the one-time code. Providing a second factor of authentication, the user then enters the unique and non-reusable numeric code on a Web page, in addition to their user name and password. Gemalto provides a turnkey platform that is plug and play with existing banking systems while products within its “Ezio” eBanking security range are already being used by over half a million online customers globally.

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USA Tech Reports 3Q/10 Revenue Up 16% Y/Y

USA Technologies wireless non-cash transactions has reported a total revenue for 3Q/10 having increased by 16% to $4.4 million, compared to $3.8 million in the year ago period. Also since the year ago period, gross profit was up 32% to $1.4 million from $1.0 million from last year’s fiscal first quarter; gross profit margin expanded to 30.5%, compared to 26.9% a year ago; while EBITDA improved to a loss of $1.4 million for the quarter, and improvement from the year ago loss of $2.5 million. The Company also increased the number of devices connected to its network by 54% to approximately 88,000 from 57,000 as of 3Q/09; the number of cashless transactions processed during the quarter increased by 89% to 13.9 million to $24.5 million for a 68% increase. USA Technologies was named to Deloitte LLP’s 2010 “FAST (News – Alert) 500” List of the Fastest Growing Companies in North America and expects the total number of connections to its service to exceed 100,000 by December 31, 2010.

USA TECH EARNINGS
2Q/10 3Q/10
Net Loss $ (2,089,803) (1,886,614)
Interest Income (48,281) 25,310
Interest Expense 12,184 12,658
EBITDA $ (1,6 million) (1.4 million)
SOURCE: USA Technologies

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WU

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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Discover to Join Tournament of Roses Parade

Discover Financial Services announced its participation in the 2011 Tournament of Roses Parade to be held on Jan. 1, 2011, in Pasadena, Calif. Discover’s involvement with the Tournament of Roses complements its commitment to college football and the company’s partnership with the Bowl Championship Series (BCS), which includes a four-year title sponsorship of the Orange Bowl and status as the Official Credit Card of the BCS. In doing so, Discover has selected Fiesta Parade Floats to design and construct a float entitled “A State Fair to Remember” and will feature six members of its customer service team on its float.

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SMARTSWIPE

NetSecure Technologies online transaction security hardware and software has received the TIA (Technology-in-Action) New Saskatchewan Product Award for its “SmartSwipe” online purchase security system. The Annual Achievement in Business Excellence (ABEX) Awards honor outstanding achievements in business excellence. The “SmartSwipe” solution secures sensitive data at the point of origin, before it ever reaches the computer, protecting sensitive financial and personal information from endpoint threats such as keylogging, spyware and man-in-the-middle attacks. Credit card holders can swipe their credit card from their home computer just like in a store. Using the same level of encryption found in ATM’s, SmartSwipe encrypts the card information while being swiped, rendering it unreadable to hackers and malicious programs.

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American Express Launches Rewards Shopping Tool

American Express has unveiled its “inSite” shopping tool that delivers Membership Rewards bonus points, discounts, free shipping and other special benefits for its Cardmembers as they shop online. Currently available for Cardmembers enrolled in “Membership Rewards” at insite.americanexpress.com, “inSite” lets Cardmembers search online results with the blue American Express icon, for which the offer is revealed when the cursor is placed over it. The tool also advises Cardmembers of offers when they directly visit participating retail websites, which span more than 250 popular brands like Banana Republic, Crate & Barrel and Barnes & Noble.com. American Express will continue to evolve “inSite” by incorporating additional features and offers to ensure ongoing customer value.

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G&D US

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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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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