NRF Urges House Judiciary Committee to OK Swipe Fee Bill

The National Retail Federation has urged
the House Judiciary Committee to approve legislation sponsored by
Chairman John Conyers, D-Mich., that would require Visa and MasterCard
banks to negotiate over the terms and conditions associated with the $48
billion in credit card swipe fees paid by merchants and their customers
each year. The committee is scheduled to hold a hearing this morning on H.R. 2695,
the Credit Card Fair Fee Act. Co-sponsored by Representative Bill
Shuster, R-Pa., the measure would require credit card systems possessing
“substantial market power” to negotiate with merchants to reach a
voluntary agreement on credit and debit card terms and conditions. Officially known as interchange, swipe fees average about 2 percent of
the purchase price and are charged to merchants by Visa and MasterCard
banks each time one of their cards is swiped to pay for a purchase.
Collections totaled $48 billion nationwide in 2008, triple the $16
billion collected when NRF began tracking the fees in 2001.
Under current practice, Visa and MasterCard have always
refused to negotiate over the fees, instead unilaterally imposing them
on merchants. While often dismissed by the card industry as a business-to-business
matter, Visa and MasterCard rules effectively force merchants to pass
the fees on to consumers by requiring them to be included in the
advertised price of merchandise and making cash discounts difficult.
Nationwide, the average household paid an estimated $427 in higher
prices in 2008, up from $159 in 2001.

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ABA Voices Concern Over Interchange Fee Changes

Kenneth J. Clayton, senior vice president and general counsel for ABA
card policy has issued a statement regarding proposed interchange fee changes.
“The American Bankers Association remains opposed to legislation that
would disrupt our nation’s properly functioning electronic payments
system. The Credit Card Fair Fee Act (H.R. 2695) represents yet another
attempt by the merchant community to try, at the behest of large
retailers, to get Congress to lower their cost of doing business, all to
the detriment of consumers and the broader economy.
“Banks of all sizes – from the largest global financial institutions to
the smallest community banks throughout the country – take on
significant risks and costs when they issue both debit and credit cards.
These include extensive infrastructure costs, fraud costs and the real
risk of non-payment. Interchange fees compensate banks for taking on
these burdens and make it possible for banks to offer consumers better
services, more competitive choices, and lower prices.

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Patient-to-Provider Payments to Reach $356 Billion

A new report provides an overview of the patient-to-provider payments
market for point-of-service
payments, post-service payments, and prescription drug payments.
Based on qualitative interviews conducted by Aite Group at banks,
healthcare vendors, and card networks in Q1 2010, the report also
provides a detailed breakdown of current and anticipated growth, and
estimates potential revenue opportunities for issuers and acquirers
through 2012. Models and solutions for patient-to-provider payments (i.e., payments
that are the patient’s responsibility for services incurred at provider
offices) have been gaining momentum in the U.S. healthcare industry over
the past three years. In 2008, the patient-to-provider payments market
amounted to approximately US$252 billion, a number that Aite Group
anticipates will reach US$356 billion by year-end 2012. Though this
segment still comprises the smallest portion of the overall healthcare
payments market (11% of the market in 2008), it is rife with
opportunities for issuers, acquirers, card networks, and healthcare
vendors seeking to enter the healthcare arena.

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ERATE iPhone App Includes Credit Card Rates

Consumers can now find the best mortgage, credit card, and deposit rates
by going to ERATE.com. ERATE recently added credit card comparison tables to its
iPhone app. Now consumers can browse both mortgage and credit card rates
from the palm of their hand. Additionally, since credit card
applications are available online, once consumers have chosen the card
they want, they can apply from their internet-enabled device.
This iPhone app takes the guesswork out of shopping for the best rates
on the go. When consumers find a rate that might be a good deal, they
can use this tool from ERATE.com to quickly research and compare online
rates to confirm the competitiveness of the rate.

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mPayy Adds Tournament Games to its Payment Network

Alternative payment provider mPayy has launched “Tournament Games” onto
its payment network. Tournament Games utilizes mPayy’s lightbox
‘Checkout Window’ for seamless customer experience to purchase credits
directly from the company’s site.Tournament Games players participate in
skill game tournaments played for free, or in tournaments offering cash
prizes that require credits. Entry fees range from $0.02 in credits to a
couple of dollars, and Tournament Games sells credits in $5.00
increments. When buying credits, players choose mPayy, specify the
amount, and click “Purchase.” mPayy members then enter their mobile
phone number + password to complete the purchase. Non-members will be
prompted to open accounts instantly, and return to the checkout page to
complete their transaction.
mPayy allows Tournament Games players without checking accounts to
receive funds into free, no fee, Stored Value accounts from other mPayy
members. These can be used for purchases from Tournament Games or other
online merchants accepting mPayy. mPayy’s efficient service enables
profitable micro-payments; easy, secure purchases of digital content and
physical goods; flexible recurring and subscription payments and free
person-to-person payments.

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Vanco Services Appoints New Senior Vice President

Michael Foye has been appointed Senior Vice President, Vanco electronic payment solutions. Foye will grow the company’s custom solutions business and will represent the company at an executive level in several key markets. Bringing with him several years’ experience in the field of electronic financial transactions, Michael was most recently VP Sales and New Business Development, MasterCard RPPS. He has also served in management and client service positions at both Metavante and Deluxe Data. Foye is a frequent speaker at industry events and holds a degree in Management Information Systems from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

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Capital One Posts 1Q/10 Net Income of $372.2MM

Capital One has posted a 1Q/10 US card segment net income of $372.2
million, compared to $461.0 million in the last quarter and $.7 million
the year ago quarter. The company is projecting quarterly Domestic Card
revenue margin to decline to around 15 percent by early 2011. Revenue
margin in the Domestic Card sub-segment was 17.1%, compared to 17.0
percent in the prior quarter. Period-end loans in the Domestic Card
segment were $56.2 billion in the first quarter, a decline of $4.1
billion, or 6.8 percent, from the prior quarter. International credit
card loans declined in the quarter by $645.7 million, or 7.9 percent, to
$7.6 billion. Domestic Card provision expense increased $62.9 million in
the first quarter, or 6.1 percent, relative to the prior quarter. Net
charge-offs increased $74.0 million relative to the prior quarter,
partially offset by an increase in allowance release of $11 million.
International card provision expense decreased $92.4 million, or 53.9
percent. Domestic Card net charge-off rates increased 89 basis points to
10.48% from 9.59% in 4Q/09. For complete details on Capital One’s third
quarter performance, visit CardData (www.carddata.com).

U.S. CARD NET INCOME
1Q/09: $0.7 million
2Q/09: $166.9 million
3Q/09: $289.8 million
4Q/09: $461.0 million
1Q/09: $372.2 million
Source: CardData (www.carddata.com)

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TSYS & Alaska Option Ink Strategic Marketing Alliance

TSYS has signed a multi-year strategic marketing alliance agreement with Alaska Option to provide VISA and MasterCard credit and signature debit card programs, PIN-based ATM/POS network services, and fraud management solutions for credit unions. This will offer payment card services on a very competitive basis that will enhance the cardholder experience and provide additional revenue opportunities to credit unions. It will also allow these institutions to reduce back office expenses through integrated settlement, dispute management and reconciliation processes. Credit unions may now select to work with one payment provider for all of their card program and electronic funds transfer (EFT) payment needs. Alaska Option enables financial institutions to utilize ATM driving services, accept a wide array of cards, a nationally recognized PIN debit POS program and the convenience of a single point of settlement for PIN-based transactions.

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Western Union Returns the Love for Mother’s Day

Money transfer service Western Union has launched “Return the Love”, a
national Mother’s Day Campaign designed to encourage consumers to give
mom the perfect gift. Western Union, Wyclef Jean and “Queen of Latin Pop”
Paulina Rubio, “Return the Love” with special performances and
appearances at the Billboard Latin Music Conference& Awards with a
concert honoring military moms. A recent Western Union consumer survey
found 42% find it hard to shop for the perfect gift for mom. The survey
also found 42% of moms have pretended to like a Mother’s Day gift; and
separately, 30% thought the gift was either “thoughtful” but not a gift
they wanted, or they did not receive a gift at all. Kick-off special
performance dedicated to moms featuring Wyclef Jean and Paulina Rubio at the
Billboard Latin Music Awards, on April 29, produced and broadcast live
by Telemundo.

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Paypal Forges New Partnership

Sunstone Circuits has added PayPal electronic payment service for their customers’ online purchasing needs. This new implementation of the PayPal™ payment service is another example of Sunstone’s continuous quest to be the easiest PCB company to do business with. Not only is Sunstone Circuits offering their customers a more effective and convenient way to purchase online, but by using PayPal™, design engineers will have a chance to receive rewards and bonuses for participating in the new service. PayPal™ often has promotions offering multiple incentives, when signing-up. Promotional initiatives like “No Initiation Fees,” “Cash-Back,” and “Buy-Now, Pay-Later,” have been offered to new customers in recent years. For existing PayPal customers, this new payment option is available now, at www.sunstone.com. For those that are new to the PayPal™ service, Sunstone suggests they visit www.paypal.com to register for an account and create a profile.

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TSYS Partners With Serverside Group for Digital Card Solution

TSYS has partnered with Serverside Group to launch TSYS “Card Shop” digital card fulfillment and marketing solution. Combining ‘on-demand’ manufacturing processes with industry-leading card management and customization capabilities, TSYS “Card Shop” enables client financial institutions to design and manufacture cards on-demand and removes the need to stock pre-manufactured cards in inventory. Through the online TSYS Card Shop interface, issuers of all sizes can launch stock and customized card programs within days rather than weeks. Serverside offers digital card design and innovative software solutions to issuers, personalization bureaus and card manufacturers. TSYS outsourced payment services offers issuer- and acquirer-processing technologies.

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MONEYGRAM

MoneyGram Internationa has returned to Croatia as Volksbank added MoneyGram’s services to 28 countrywide locations. The return to Croatia follows MoneyGram’s alliance with Volksbank in Serbia in 2008 and the opening of 33 MoneyGram-owned retail locations in Germany since 2006. Germany is home to more than 200,000 Croatians and more than 10 million migrants that regularly send funds to support family members and build personal savings. Since 2006, MoneyGram has steadily grown its owned money transfer retail locations in Germany to help migrant workers meet their financial needs.
In addition to its 190,000 traditional agent locations composed primarily of financial institutions, post offices and retail businesses, MoneyGram recently began mobile money transfer services.

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