AMEX GIFT CARD

Offering a chance to give a universal gift card that keeps its value,
American Express is launching a no-expiration gift card in Canada.
Fee-free after purchase, there are no fees for checking a balance, no
fees for monthly servicing and no fees for card replacement. Available
for purchase at more than 1000 Shoppers Drug Mart stores across the
country, the American Express Gift Card lets the recipient choose from
millions of products and experiences in Canada, is available in $50,
$100 and $200 denominations (with an upfront purchase charge ranging
from $4.95 to $6.95), is replaceable for free if lost or stolen and can
be used at locations across Canada where American Express is accepted.

Details

VISA & CARD CONDUCT

Although Visa approves of government support of transparency and choice
in payments, fundamental to a well functioning economy, as disclosed in
the newly proposed Code of Conduct for the Credit and Debit Card
Industry in Canada, it is disappointed in the legislation overall. Visa
has reflected a choice of payments should be balanced between merchants
and consumers and the code would allow merchants to supersede consumer
choice at the POS. Visa believes merchants can and should decide whether
they want to accept Visa Debit cards and are free today to steer
customers to the merchant’s preferred choice, but they should also
ultimately honor the consumer’s choice.

Details

BOKU Explodes Among Online Gamers

CA-based mobile payment provider BOKU has established partnerships with
twelve leading game developers, offering casual, social and
multi-player online gamers to provide mobile payments coverage across
nearly 100% of the top applications for virtual goods and currencies
purchases on Facebook. In addition to the partner news, BOKU has launched the third generation
of their customer experience, designed to increase the success rate of
signups and mobile transactions. Innovations include the ability to
instantly recognize a mobile phone number vs. a landline, and the
ability to dynamically determine which carrier a mobile number belongs
to, with translation in twenty languages.
BOKU, which launched in June, has more than more than 1,000 direct
mobile payments partners.

Details

EQUIFAX EXEC

After having received in-principle approval for a license to operate a
credit information company under The Credit Information Companies
(Regulation) Act, Equifax information solutions has appointed Samir
Bhatia Managing Director and CEO designate of its Indian affiliate
Equifax Credit Information Services Private Limited. Bhatia will join
Equifax’s Mumbai operations and assume leadership of the company upon
formation and requisite approvals. Samir is a qualified Chartered
Accountant and is recognized as a leading banker with over 24 years’
experience in the Banking and Financial Services. He has worked
with leading, successful banks such as Citibank, HDFC Bank and Barclays
Bank for exposure to all facets of retail and commercial banking.

Details

CR Poll Shows a Very Black Friday in 2009

According to the latest “Consumer Reports Holiday Shopping Poll”, 66% of Americans say they’ll be shopping for
themselves over the “Black Friday” weekend. While 28% of adults plan to shop in-stores on Black Friday, 29% say
they’ll be shopping on Saturday or Sunday afterwards and 53%
of adults expect the deals to be just as good in-stores as online this year.
The Black Friday weekend shopping list for consumers includes clothing
(71%) and electronics (70%), with video games and accessories (46%)
being the most popular electronic items and 56% of shoppers are planning to purchase toys and 48%
are planning to purchase gift cards. Most of these items are intended to
be purchased as gifts; however, the items where shoppers have the
highest intent to self indulge are food or wine, electronics and clothing.
Electronics are hot items of choice for Black Friday weekend with 70% of shoppers plan
to purchase electronics making them a close second behind clothing(71%).
Flat panel TVs continue to be one of the top electronic gifts shoppers
look to grab each season. This year, 21% of adults plan
to purchase one either during or after the holidays and more adults are
considering purchasing a flat screen after the holidays (15%) than
during them (9%). The full results of the poll are available at www.ConsumerReports.org.

Details

OCT ABS

The aggregate credit card charge-off index for ABS declined to 11.4% in October from a record 11.8% in the prior month. However, the delinquency index remained stable at 7.7% and has been flat or decreasing across most trusts for the past three to four months. According to Moody’s, the credit card sector is beginning to show some preliminary signs of stabilization. But, Moody’s continues to have a negative outlook for the UK credit card sector. Moody’s Economy.com expects UK GDP to return to growth in the fourth quarter, after six consecutive quarters of decline. However, the recovery will be slow, dragged by weak credit conditions and poor consumer demand. In 2010, GDP is expected to grow by a modest 0.8% after contracting by 4.7% in 2009.

Details

Credit Card Charge-Offs Abate in the UK in Oct

The aggregate credit card charge-off index for ABS declined to 11.4% in October from a record 11.8% in the prior month. However, the delinquency index remained stable at 7.7% and has been flat or decreasing across most trusts for the past three to four months. According to Moody’s, the credit card sector is beginning to show some preliminary signs of stabilization. But, Moody’s continues to have a negative outlook for the UK credit card sector. Moody’s Economy.com expects UK GDP to return to growth in the fourth quarter, after six consecutive quarters of decline. However, the recovery will be slow, dragged by weak credit conditions and poor consumer demand. In 2010, GDP is expected to grow by a modest 0.8% after contracting by 4.7% in 2009.

Details

SIGNATURE BANK

Tesco Bank has selected Fiserv and the Signature bank platform to
provide its core banking solution, help develop new services to build
the systems and the subsequently needed infrastructure platforms. This
in conjunction with Tesco plans to extend its financial services
business from a collection of financial products to a full service
retail bank offering more choice. The Bank selected Fiserv based on its
ability to provide an innovative, end-to-end banking solution that is
proven in markets around the world, which it provides to its 16,000
clients worldwide. Fiserv solutions at Tesco Bank will provide the
foundation of account information and banking transactions for Tesco
Bank customers, who will now be able to access their accounts from UK
call centres, stores, online or ATMs.

Details

ABA Says GAO Study Confirms Merchant Benefits

The American Bankers Association says the GAO study confirms that
merchants get significant benefits when they accept credit and debit
cards for purchases and it is consumers that will ultimately be harmed
if Congress steps in to lower what merchants pay to accept debit and
credit cards. As indicated in the GAO study, interchange is a
transaction that occurs between key business entities. Interchange fees
are not paid by consumers but by banks that acquire payments on behalf
of merchants to banks that issue cards to consumers. It is an important
issue for banks of all sizes – from the largest financial institutions
to the smallest community banks. The ABA says efforts by the merchant
community to have the government interfere with the payment system
amount to little more than retailers not wanting pay their fair share
and to have consumers bear this burden.

Details

GEMALTO ADR

Gemalto digital security has established a sponsored Level 1 American
Depositary Receipt (ADR) program in the United States, which will now
trade in the US in the over-the-counter (OTC) market. Each Gemalto
ordinary share is represented by two ADRs, for which Deutsche Bank is
acting as the depositary bank. This comes on the heels of Gemalto having
secured a two-year exclusive agreement to supply Virgin Media Mobile
Virtual Network Operator with SIM cards and its “LinqUs” Device
Management solution for 3million + customers(Cardflash International
11/18/09). The Gemalto solution facilitates access to the operator’s web
portal and makes new services easily available. Gemalto had 2008 annual
revenues of EUR1.68 billion and employs 10,000 out of 75 offices,
research and service centers in 40 countries.

Details

Credit Card Solicitations Finally Resume

Credit card direct marketing appears to picking up as issuers sent 180 million credit card offers to U.S. consumers last month. This is the highest monthly total tracked since December 2008 and it’s the first significant rise in mail volume all year. Mintel Comperemedia says
credit card mail volume is still down significantly from a year ago,
but October’s sharp increase is an excellent sign for the industry. This past month, Chase and American Express sent the most credit card offers. Each issuer had its most active mail month this year, as Chase more than doubled mail volume from September 2009 and American Express sent nearly 40% more offers. US Bank and HSBC (October’s seventh and eighth top mailers, respectively) likewise had their greatest mail months of 2009 to date. Mintel Comperemedia anticipates that this winter will mark the
start of a turnaround in credit card direct marketing that will be
sustained through 2010.

Details

MASTERCARD & CARD CONDUCT

MasterCard plans on actively participating in the consultation process
and will evaluate the financial, operational, and market impact of the
proposed Code of Conduct for the Credit and Debit Card Industry in
Canada. Announced by the Minister of Finance, the Code is being marketed
to merchants nationwide as designed to ensure merchant choice, enhanced
competition and greater transparency in a marketplace dominated by only
a few large companies, allowing merchants to choose the least expensive
method for processing on each transaction and to have complete choice on
which credit and/or debit products to, or not to, offer. Mastercard,
however, stresses the legislation runs counter to offering and operating
a reliable, efficient, convenient, and secure payment system in an
already competitive market.

Details