Heartland Payment Cited as a Top Seller

Payment processor Heartland Payment Systems has has been named the “Top
Service Company to Sell For” by Selling Power magazine.
Heartland, one of the nation?s largest payments processors, competed
against companies including FedEx, IKON, Aramark and Google for this
distinction. Selling Power?s ?50 Best Companies to Sell For? list, in
its ninth year,
ranks the top 25 best service and the top 25 best manufacturing
companies to sell for. Companies are evaluated on three key categories:
compensation, training and career mobility. Heartland also made
Selling Power?s ?500 Largest Sales Forces In America? list, ranking 83rd
in the service sector (October 2009). This was a significant increase
from its ranking of 98 the previous year. Heartland’s entrepreneurial
business and compensation model uses proven
rewards to incentivize its sales force, including weekly signing bonuses
and long-term portfolio ownership with residual income. Combined with
its talented team of professionals, this model has enabled Heartland to
grow from 25 employees to 3,100, and from $0.4 billion to $80 billion of
annualized Visa/MasterCard volume since its founding in 1997.

Details

Upgraded Cyber Holiday Pulse Index to Resume

Payment processor Chase Paymentech has launched an updated version of its Cyber
Holiday Pulse Index to track
online shopping activity throughout the 2009 holiday shopping season.
In addition to compiling current activity, Chase Paymentech’s Pulse
Index also presents year-over-year trends and is updated every business
day throughout the first week of January to provide historical context
on the overall metrics and identify emerging online shopping trends.
This year, the index adds daily average ticket value, as well as sales
volume and transaction volume, providing even more in-depth insights
into year-over-year consumer behavior.
The challenging economic environment took its toll on online shopping
during the 2008 holiday season, according to the Chase Paymentech Pulse
Index. In 2008 holiday online sales volume and transaction count both
increased, but the average ticket, or amount per sale, declined.
Overall, sales volume for the holiday season was up a modest 4.5%
versus 2007. Transaction count was up a significant 16.5%, and
the average value per transaction was down an unanticipated 10.3%.
Chase Paymentech’s Pulse Index will track over one million
payment transactions daily at 50 of the top U.S. retail Web sites as
ranked by Internet Retailer magazine.

Details

Gift Card Spending Volume to Fall by 7% This Season

A new report from Tower Group focuses on the declining popularity of
private label store gift cards. The annual review of the U.S. gift card
market, entitled “Gift Cards: Still Better to Give than Receive” is set
to release on November 30th. TowerGroup expects store gift card spending
volume to fall by 7%, with a modest increase of 3% in general purpose
cards in 2009 and expects the second annual decrease in private label
store gift cards and a slight increase in general purpose gift cards.
TowerGroup projects volumes for gift cards will fall slightly in
aggregate during 2009, from $91 billion to $87 billion. Store gift
cards fall into three categories: restaurants,
retailers and miscellaneous. Consumers are expected to exhibit more
practical usage in each category: fast food will perform better than
white linen dining; discounters will perform better than high-end
specialty stores and niche players like local stores will experience the
largest negative impact. TowerGroup estimates that lost value, referred
to as spillage in industry jargon, improved to 6% from a high of 10% in
2007; this lost value still represents nearly $5 billion.

Details

PBS Reprises a 2004 Credit Card Documentary Tonight

A new “FRONTLINE” documentary will air nationally tonight on PBS that
focuses on the changes and challenges the U.S. credit card industry
faces in 2009. “The Card Game” is a follow-up to the “Secret History of
the Credit Card” that aired five years ago on PBS. It is a joint project
with The New York Times. Lowell Bergman talked to industry insiders,
lobbyists, politicians and consumer advocates as they square off over
attempts to reform the way the industry has done business for decades.
Among featured guests is Robert McKinley, the founder of Florida-based
CardWeb.com and CardTrak.com. McKinley was also featured on the 2004
documentary and provided much of the research data. The majority of
McKinley’s interview was taped in July in Washington, DC. One of the
most interesting interviews is former Providian CEO Shailesh Mehta who
tells Bergman how his company successfully targeted vulnerable
low-income customers whom Providian called “the unbanked.” Mehta told
“FRONTLINE” “When people make the buying decision, they don’t look at
the penalty fees because they never believe they’ll be late. They never
believe they’ll be over limit, right? … Our business took off. … We
were making a billion dollars a year.” “FRONTLINE” is produced by WGBH
Boston and is broadcast nationwide on PBS. Major funding for “FRONTLINE”
is provided by The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.
Additional funding is provided by the Park Foundation.

Details

CHARITABLE GIVING POLL

Nearly 55% of Canadians have contributed a consistent amount to charity
over the last 12 months, despite continued economic turmoil. Another 13%
have increased contribution in the last year and 18% increased
non-monetary donations in the past year with volunteer and non-paid
charitable work. Among Atlantic Canadians, 25% increased non-financial
contributions while women nationwide were 6% more likely to do so. These
findings, according to the MasterCard Canada “Charitable Giving Poll,”
comes in anticipation of a busy holiday season. However, 20% will not be
making financial charitable donations this year thanks in great part to
the poor economy; 28% of those between the ages of 25-34 are unlikely to
give to charity, versus just 12% of those over 65; 28% of Quebecs have
no intentions to contribute to charity. The majority of donors (60%) are
planning to contribute up to $500 this holiday season while only 5% are
expecting to contribute over $1,000.

Details

SEPT LEI

The Conference Board Leading Economic Index (LEI) for Australia
increased for the fourth consecutive month by 0.3% while The Conference
Board Coincident Economic Index (CEI) increased 0.1% in September. With
the 0.3% increase, the Conference Board LEI for Australia now stands at
115.6 (2004=100), which increased 1.5% in August and increased 0.5% in
July. Meanwhile, the CEI results for the month were preceded by a 0.2%
decrease in August, a 0.1% increase in July now stands at 113.5
(2004=100). LEI results for the month were attributed to positive gains
in 3 of the 7 components, including yield spread, share prices, and
building approvals while Rural goods exports, money supply, and gross
operating surplus declined and the sales-to-inventories ratio remained
unchanged.

Details

(SHAZAM) RED

Shazam mobile music discovery provider has made available its
“(SHAZAM)RED” Special Edition App for App Store users. Those who
download the (SHAZAM)RED App, or upgrade, will have access to the same
music features as the recently launched Shazam “Encore” along with
updated content related to “(RED),” of which 20% of the purchase price
is contributed to the Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and
Malaria. “(RED)” is designed to create both awareness and a sustainable
flow of money from corporations into the Global Fund, to which Shazam is
the first mobile app developer to link. With this, Shazam joins the
ranks of American Express, Apple, Bugaboo, Converse, Dell, Emporio
Armani, Gap, Hallmark and Starbucks.

Details

ACE-M

The International Card Manufacturers Association (ICMA) global
non-profit association for card manufacturers, personalizers, issuers
and suppliers has awarded six new recipients the Advanced Card Education
(ACE-M) accreditation. Recognizing the knowledge, experience and
dedication of leading professionals throughout the card manufacturing
industry for having demonstrated an in-depth knowledge of card
manufacturing, ACE-M designation has been granted to; Arun P.K., Quality
Assurance Manager with Cupola Plastic Cards out of the United Arab
Emirates; Julie Davison, Project Manager with Travel Tags out of the
United States; Joel Germain, Customer Service Manager with Travel Tags
out of the United States; Manoj Mathew, VP Operations with Versatile
Card Technology out of India; Lynne McDevitt, Quality Manager with
ABnote North America out of the United States; and Dean Warner, Plant
Manager with L-1 Identity Solutions out of the United States. These
individuals scored a minimum proficiency in knowledge of Substrates,
Inks, Adhesives, Printing, Collation, Lamination, Die-cutting and
Standards/Testing.

Details

GCONOMY VISA

With credit card borrowing having dropped 3% in 2008, and the number of
cards in circulation having fallen 8%, the total value of card
transactions fell 27%. Additionally, total credit-card write-offs stood
at 5.8% in 2008 and is projected to reach 9% by the end of 2010.
Financial Facts, which uncovered the data, blames poorly chosen credit
cards for the high consumer debts, disclosing consumers are ignoring the
many benefits of credit cards for fear of debts. In its latest report,
Financial Facts concludes too many consumers apply to instant decision,
poor quality credit cards out of desperation, without finding the best
card for their situation. This is likely the source of fear leading 71%
of holiday shoppers to use debit cards or cash for the coming Christmas
spending.

Details

TransUnion Forecasts Late Stage Delinquency to be Steady

A major credit bureau reports the national credit card delinquency rate (90+ days) dropped to 1.10% in the third quarter, down 5.98% over the previous quarter. TransUnion.com also reports that average credit card borrower debt slipped down nationally 1.87% to $5,612 from the previous quarter’s $5,719, and down 1.71%, compared to the third quarter of 2008 ($5,710). The incidence of credit card delinquency was highest in Nevada (1.98%), followed closely by Florida (1.47%) and Arizona (1.35%). The lowest credit card delinquency incidence rates were found in North Dakota (0.66%), South Dakota (0.70%) and Alaska (0.73%). The highest state average credit card debt remains in Alaska at $7,699, followed by Tennessee at $7,039 and Alabama at $6,453. The lowest average credit card debt was found in Iowa ($4,225),
followed by North Dakota ($4,449) and Wisconsin ($4,602). TransUnion also noted that the steepest increases in average credit card debt over the previous quarter occurred in Hawaii (+5.48%), North Dakota (+0.71%) and Alaska (+0.44%). Additionally, TransUnion sees its year-end
forecast for 90-day credit card delinquency rate remaining steady at approximately 1.1% nationally, with a possible drift upward in the beginning of 2010.

AVG CARD BALANCES
3Q/08: $5710
4Q/08: $5729
1Q/09: $5776
2Q/09: $5719
3Q/09: $5612
Source: TransUnion

Details

VIVOTECH & TAILWIND

ViVOtech NFC payment systems has signed agreements with Tailwind
strategic payments marketing for the development and deployment of joint
contectless payment solutions. The partnership will integrate
contactless payment readers into existing Chip and PIN devices using
Tailwind’s patented “POS Paddle” universal Pin Pad mounting solution and
ViVOtech’s “ViVOpay” contactless payment readers. This will allow
retailers to leverage their Chip & PIN investment and accept contactless
cards and NFC mobile phones. The “PoS Paddle” allows retailers to
upgrade their existing Chip & PIN systems to accept contactless payments
with minimum cost and disruption and integrates the ViVOpay contactless
reader module with the Chip and PIN terminal as a single customer-facing
unit and a single point of interaction.

Details

U.S. Holiday Gift Spending to be Down Nearly 7% in 2009

A highly regarded survey has found that U.S. households will spend an average of $390 on Christmas gifts this holiday season, down from last year’s estimate of $418. The Conference Board also found that
only 26% of all households intend to spend $500 or more on Christmas gifts, down slightly from 27% last year. Among other households, 35% plan to spend $200-$500, down from 37% last year and 39% are planning to spend less than $200, up from 35% in 2008. The top spenders will be New England households (Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont) who intend to spend an average of $534. Lowest Christmas spending will be in the Mountain region (Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, Wyoming) where consumers intend to spend $332 on Christmas gifts. The survey of Christmas gift spending intentions covers a nationally representative sample of 5,000 U.S. households in November.

Details