Thanks to Sears/Kmart eLayaway is on Fire

Fl-based online payment solution firm eLayaway has signed on Sears and
Kmart.
eLayaway offers its registered merchants with an opportunity to affordably
provide layaway to their customers as a means of expanding market share
while reducing the administrative requirements of traditional layaway.
Consumers appreciate those merchants that offer payment alternatives
designed to help them better plan and afford their purchases. Customers
are charged a small, flat
transaction fee as low as 1.9% and receives their merchandise
once all payments are made in full.

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AmEx OPEN Facilitates CCR for Female Biz Owners

The nation’s largest bipartisan women’s business
group Women Impacting Public Policy (WIPP)and American Express OPEN have helped more than 20,000
women business owners to do business with the federal government by registering
their businesses on the Central Contractor Registration (CCR).
As part of the “Give Me 5 program”, American Express OPEN and WIPP
launched www.giveme5.com, a portal for business owners who are getting
started in federal contracting. The site features a rigorous online
training program including podcasts and webinars, a downloadable version
of OPEN BOOK: Government Contracting, a co-authored step-by-step guide
about contracts, links to OPEN Insights, a series of in-depth guides and
worksheets and many other resources to help small business owners get
their business “contract-ready” to do business with the federal government.
“Give Me 5” derives its name from The Equity in Contracting for Women Act
(2000), which stipulates that federal contracting officers award 5% of
all contracts to women-owned businesses. With women presently receiving
3.4% of federal contract dollars in 20081, Give Me 5 aims to increase
the representation of women-owned businesses that win government
contracts and stimulus funds.

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Bernankes’ Assertions Drive Consumer Confidence

A monthly consumer tracking poll reveals consumer confidence gained ground in October for the fourth time in the wake of the Federal Reserve’s Chairman assertion three weeks ago that the recession is over. But, the high unemployment numbers and weak consumer spending do not a recovery make. The “RBC CASH” (Consumer Attitudes and Spending by Household) Index for October stands at 51.8, an 11.8 point increase from September’s reading. The RBC “Investment Index” increased sharply this month, climbing 21.1 points to 58.0, the highest mark for the index this year. The RBC “Current Conditions Index” also reached a twelve-month high in October as it climbed to 50.3, up 17.1 points from the September reading of 33.2. The RBC “Jobs Index” rose by 5.8 points in October to 59.3, well below the 78.8 level observed at this time one year ago. The RBC “Expectations Index” jumped to 54.2, up 12.7 points from September’s level of 41.5.

RBC CASH INDEX
Oct 08: 37.0
Nov 08: 34.7
Dec 08: 15.3
Jan 09: 13.3
Feb 09: 1.6
Mar 09: 8.2
Apr 09: 38.3
May 09: 43.0
Jun 09: 34.3
Jul 09: 22.4
Aug 09: 37.5
Sep 09: 40.0
Oct 09: 51.8
Source: RBC CASH

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TurboTax for Online Banking Gets Powered

Intuit has rolled out “TurboTax for Online Banking”. TurboTax for Online Banking guides users through their return, helping
them get every deduction and credit to which they are entitled so they
get the maximum refund possible. Users can also file their returns
electronically and direct deposit refunds in up to three accounts.
More than $33 billion in tax refunds already flow through TurboTax. More
than 90 percent of people who tried “TurboTax for Online Banking” during
pilot testing who received a tax refund direct deposited that refund
with the financial institution that offered the service.
Consumers whose financial institutions offer TurboTax for Online Banking
can pre-populate their tax forms with tax data from online banking to
save time. This will help people quickly and easily prepare, plan and
file tax returns within an online banking session; no additional log in
required. The solution can also be integrated with FinanceWorks, the
award-winning online financial management solution from Intuit’s
financial institutions division, Digital Insight, to make tax
preparation even easier for tax filers. FinanceWorks helps online banking customers gain greater visibility and
control over their spending with access to account information from more
than 12,000 financial institutions and credit card sites.

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ABA Pleads for Limited CARD Act Acceleration

The American Bankers Association says the shortening of the original 18-month implementation period for the “CARD Act” from that which was originally contemplated by regulators is already creating enormous operational challenges for institutions. The ABA says that credit cards constitute the riskiest form of consumer lending because there is no security backing up the loan, there are no limits on use and funds can be accessed 24/7 around the world. Federal regulators are still writing rules for the new regulations and that in some instances proposed rules still do not yet exist. Moving the compliance date up to December 1, 2009 could, in some cases, prove practically impossible for some issuers since they’re being asked to design complex systems without knowing the rules of the road.

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PayPal and First Data Link Up STAR Access

PayPal and First Data payment processing have signed agreements allowing
debit cardholders in the First Data STAR Network to link their STAR
debit card to a PayPal account online. The STAR Network electronic funds
transfer network is offering the innovative service to its member
financial institutions, allowing their customers to enroll for a PayPal
account through banking websites and immediately use their debit card
for PayPal online purchases. Member financial institutions provide
authentication for the cardholder, who doesn’t have to enter debit card
account information or expose their debit card number to merchants with
each purchase. PayPal provides a faster and safer way to pay and get
paid online, with more than 75 million active accounts in 190 markets
and 19 currencies around the world.

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VeriShield Protect is Very Ready for Visa Specs

VeriFone Holdings “VeriShield Protect” card payment data protection
solution is in compliance with Visa’s best practices for data field
encryption. VeriShield Protect utilizes a unique format preserving
encryption that
achieves the goals of Visa’s best practices and requires no changes to
most POS software and retail systems, or store procedures.
The VeriShield Protect solution is installed into the security module of
VeriFone card-acceptance devices to encrypt cardholder data as soon as
the card is presented; encrypted data is transmitted to a Decryption
Appliance installed at a secure data center to ensure no unencrypted
data can be intercepted.

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U.S.Bank Nails Vuoto for Retail Payments

U.S.Bank has hired Tony Vuoto, previously president of WaMu’s card
services division, as GM, Retail Payment Solutions.
Vuoto had been with Washington Mutual since
its 2005 acquisition of Providian Financial, where he served as chief
financial officer. His experience also includes 12 years in leadership
positions with Citigroup, including president of its private label card
business and general manager of its German credit card business.
Vuoto earned a bachelor’s degree in economics from Princeton University
and an MBA from
the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business.

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EPX Commits to Visa’s Encryption Best Practices

Electronic Payment Exchange welcomes the release of Visa’s data field encryption best
practices. Visa established five key implementation
objectives for payment providers who deploy end-to-end encryption:
limiting the availability of cleartext cardholder and authentication
data; using robust key management solutions that are consistent with
international standards; using key lengths and cryptographic algorithms
that are consistent with international standards; protecting
cryptographic devices from physical/logical compromises; and using
alternate identifiers for business processes that require the account
number after authorization. Using encrypted card readers with the “EPX BuyerWall” solution satisfies
the Visa’s objectives and provides strong protection for merchants
against potential data breaches.
no single technology can completely solve for fraud.
EPX’s solution uses both end-to-end encryption to encrypt card data from
the point of sale, and tokenization on the back end of the transaction
Encryption at the card reader protects merchants against potential
breaches before card numbers even leave the swipe for authorization. “EPX
BuyerWall” tokenization replaces account numbers with values that are
meaningless to would-be thieves and cannot be reverse-engineered to
reveal the card numbers.

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NUMOBILE & ALTERNET

NuMobile and Alternet Systems has launched its joint E-commerce strategy
in China. NuMobile is a young smartphone and mobile computing software
company growing through a roll-up strategy to build a portfolio of
mobile software solutions, and Alternet offers a wide range of mobile
commerce and electronic ticketing payment services and solutions. The
Companies plan to pursue mobile computing opportunities with NuMobile’s
channel partner in the Chinese market, China Crescent Enterprises. The
partnership is targeting the Chinese e-commerce and mobile phone
markets, where e-commerce is expected to reach CNY3.22 trillion in total
trade by 2010, up from CNY1.951 trillion in 2008, although the
penetration of e-commerce in China is only just over 25%. Some
projections place the global mobile application marketplace from $4.66
billion in 2009 to $16.6 billion in 2013.

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Winn-Dixie and Excentus Launch a New Card

Winn-Dixie Stores has partnered with Excentus to launch “fuelperks!”
for customers using its “Customer Reward Card” in any of the 51
Winn-Dixie stores in the Jacksonville area. Allowing customers to earn
gas discounts at Shell-branded and other participating gas stations,
“fuelperks!” rewards every $50 in qualified purchases using the CRC at
Winn-Dixie with a 5-cent-per-gallon fuel discount redeemable at any one
of 67 participating gas stations. Customers are kept informed of their
account on the bottom of their sales receipts, including “fuelperks!
Rewards” earned for this shopping trip, total “fuelperks! Rewards”
earned to date,” expiration dates of “fuelperks! Rewards” earned and the
“fuelperks! Rewards” balance.

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